Home > Cooking Vegetables > Types of Potato and How to Cook Them

Types of Potato and How to Cook Them

By: Anna Hinds BA (hons) - Updated: 25 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Potatoes Cara Desiree King Edward Anya

Planning your potato patch for the next year – or wondering what to do with the glut of Cara that you’ve harvested? Here’s our guide to potato varieties and cooking them.

Potato varieties are usually classified according to the time they take from planting to harvest. New Potatoes are ready in early spring, and include Arran Pilot, Rocket, and Lady Christl; Maincrop Potatoes, which are harvested later in the summer, and include Maris Piper, Cara, and King Edward; and Salad potatoes, which can be planted and harvested at any time from spring onwards, and include Charlotte, Anya, and Vivaldi.

Floury or Waxy?

The second way that potatoes are classified is according to how ‘floury’ or ‘waxy’ they are. A floury potato will usually look whiter inside, with a dryer flesh that mashes and roasts well. Waxy potatoes stay more firm after boiling, and usually have yellower flesh.

Potatoes can be graded 1-10, where 1 is waxy and 10 is floury. Here are some common potato varieties and their grade.

  • Anya: 6 (slightly floury).
  • Cara: 3 (more waxy)
  • Charlotte: 4 (slightly waxy)
  • Desiree: 5 (all-rounder)
  • Golden Wonder: 9 (very floury)
  • King Edward: 6 (all-rounder)
  • Pink Fir Apple: 3 (slightly waxy)
  • Maris Piper: 5 (all-rounder)
  • Rocket: 4 (slightly waxy)

Potatoes for Mashing

Good mash comes from a floury, dry potato – the less water there is, the more creamy your end result will be. Choose a potato at 4 or above, such as King Edward, Vivaldi, Desiree or Golden Wonder. Peel, and make sure you boil them for long enough (18-25 minutes) to make sure there are no undercooked lumps in your potato. Then drain thoroughly for a few minutes. Melt some butter and a little milk in the pan you cooked the potatoes in, and return the cooked potatoes to the saucepan. Mash well, then whip up with a fork and taste for seasoning before serving.

Potatoes for Roasting

For a great roast potato, choose a variety that’s graded at 5 or above - Golden Wonder and King Edward are good choices. The dryer flesh gives you a fluffy interior and a crispy exterior. The same potatoes will make good chips as well!

To make perfect roast potatoes, it’s important to preheat the fat they will cook in – and if you want to prepare and freeze uncooked roasties, you’ll also need some flour or polenta.

First, peel and roughly chop your floury potatoes. Bring a big pan of salted water to a rolling boil and carefully drop in the potatoes. Boil for 5-7 minutes or until the potatoes are slightly tender. Drain in a colander, letting them dry out well over the sink. Meanwhile, if you’re cooking the potatoes straight away, preheat the oven to 200 degrees C and put in a large oven tray with 2-3tbsp of fat (goose fat or vegetable oil). After 10-15 minutes, take out the tray and put it carefully on a heatproof surface. Standing well back, put the potatoes into the tray – they’ll sizzle in the oil. Use a tongs to turn the potato pieces until they are coated in hot fat. Return to the oven and cook for 30 minutes or until golden and crispy. Drain briefly on kitchen towel before serving.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
You should have also mentioned cooking chips, because making a good chip is an art form. The oil has to be the right temperature, and it has to be the right oil. You need to make sure that the potato is cut properly and cooked for the right amount of time so that the outside stays crisp and the chip doesn’t go limp.
Chris - 4-Oct-12 @ 10:36 AM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Rabby
    Re: Pickling Onions and Shallots
    I've been doing my own pickled onions for myself and my family for 30 years and I di them the same every year . I have about 10 of…
    16 February 2017
  • MrsF
    Re: Pickling Onions and Shallots
    I've done my 1st jars of onions today using 1/2 a 4kg pack of Parrish's onions. I'm using Sarsons pickling vinegar with…
    30 October 2016
  • Silverfox
    Re: Pickling Onions and Shallots
    When making a brine for pickles you need a tablespoon of salt for every pint of water, leave pickles in for no more than 24hrs. 3…
    28 October 2016
  • Pickles
    Re: Pickling Onions and Shallots
    I live in Spain and am having great difficulty in buying pickleing onions, anyone got any idea where I can buy them as I need…
    16 October 2016
  • Ian
    Re: Pickling Onions and Shallots
    Hi, I am in the process of doing some pickle onions. Yesterday I made a brine solution with approx 5 ltrs water and went a bit…
    5 October 2016
  • Minety15
    Re: Pickling Onions and Shallots
    Hi, I've been given a jar of pickled shallots and they are soft, does anyone know if it's possible to crisp them up again…
    30 September 2016
  • Iron Horse Cowboy
    Re: Growing Squash and Pumpkins
    Hello. Will Spaghetti Squash and Sweet Baby Pumpkins cross pollinate? I have something that looks like a squash on my…
    8 August 2016
  • Rehbok
    Re: Growing Squash and Pumpkins
    I have planted a few butternut squash on my newly acquired allotment and they are going mad! I have loads of squash forming on each…
    28 July 2016
  • JoJo
    Re: Pickling Onions and Shallots
    @Hannah - I prefer dry salt rather than brine. Leave them for 24 hours then rinse ,dry and bottle. Your next batch should be good,…
    10 November 2015
  • Hannah
    Re: Pickling Onions and Shallots
    I have been on a rampage of pickling onions, The recipe I have is to top and tail the onions, leaving the skins on for removal…
    9 November 2015
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the VegetableExpert website. Please read our Disclaimer.