They can baked. They can be mashed and boiled as well as fried. You can do hundreds of other things with them. So you can’t go wrong with them?
Not at all, not all potatoes gel well with the deep fat fryer. Similarly, not all potatoes are suitable for crispy chips and yummy salad.
If you ever try to make the salad with the russets it would not be of the taste you had expected. Beneath the yellow, purple or brown flesh, different chemistries exist.
Food scientists broadly divide them in two categories: mealy and waxy. Mealy potatoes are dry, fluffy and have 22% more starch than the waxy types. So if you expect crispy and fluffy roasted potatoes, you should not use waxy types at all.
Why is it that?
Any variety of potato contains only two things: starch and moisture. The density of any potato is directly correlated to the amount of starch present in the potato.
Another thing is that starch is denser than water. To use the right potato in dinner you should know the amount of starch in that particular variety of potato. It determine the final texture.
Well, you could take our word for it. But here is a fun way to figure out the density of a particular potato right in your home kitchen.
Russets contains the highest amount of starch so they sink in water. Red bliss, on the other hand, has least amount of starch.
Russet types are the most used for making chips. It’s because they have low water content that means when their flesh comes in contact of hot oil, much of the water boils off. It ensures that inner part is gently steamed.
Researchers have found that in mealy type potatoes, there are clumps of starch molecules that sucks water from the rest of the flesh and that’s why it feels dry.
According to BBC future, “One reason seems to be that the particular make-up of starches in mealy potatoes will start to degrade at much lower temperatures then the starches in their waxy brethren – nearly 12C lower.
This destroys some of the connections holding the cells together, and it puts pressure on them early in the cooking process, so they will start to split and break off much sooner than the cells of waxy potatoes.”
(Source: BBC Future)