A guide to potatoes

One of the benefits of being self employed is that every Wednesday I shop at the wonderful farmer’s markets at Fox Studios. Over the past few months, I have been cooking a lot of potatoes—it is winter after all—and picking up tips from Lynn, a passionate organic farmer (Moonacres Farm). The tips he has passed on have significantly increased my enjoyment of this staple vegetable. I pass on what I have learned here;

Choose a variety of potato that suits your method of cooking.

  • Boiling: Waxy varieties hold together much better during the cooking process; choose Tasmanian Pink Eyes, Dutch Creams and Kipfler varieties. The principal exception to this is when cooking potato soup whereby you would choose one of the starchy varieties below as you want them to break down.
  • Roasting: Starchy varieties typically deliver the crispy outside, fluffy in the middle perfection that make roasted potatoes so delicious. Look for King Edwards and Coliban varieties, although Lynn likes to use the waxy Tasmanian Pink-Eyes for roasting also as they are often more flavoursome than their starchy cousins.
  • Salad: Waxy varieties
  • Mash: A slight preference for starchy varieties, although most potatoes make for a good mash. An important note, however, is that if you are using an electric beater to mash your potatoes, make sure you choose a starchy variety as the waxy ones tend to become like glue when using electric beaters (they are fine if you hand mash them).
  • All rounders suitable for most cooking methods include the Red Norland, Sebago and Maranca varieties.

Skin: keep the skin on for organic and fresh potatoes, scrubbing the dirt off with a kitchen brush. However, be sure to peel supermarket potatoes as these often have tougher skins due to the harvesting process.

Washing: only wash potatoes when you are ready to eat.

Growing season: January to July.

Most important taste tip: buy fresh potatoes.

Recipe: Lynn’s favourite way to cook and eat potatoes;

  • Handful of small potatoes washed, skin left on
  • Place in pot and cover with water adding a dash of olive oil, salt, pepper and a clove of smashed garlic to water
  • Boil until soft
  • Drain and serve with butter, salt and pepper

Note: If you cannot get to the Farmers Markets mid-week, try The Harvest Collective which operate on Saturdays in Surry Hills or the Eveleigh Markets in Redfern.