The potato: rather special?
30 - 04 - 2014
There are so many different varieties of pasta, rice and cereal that we tend to pay little attention to the potato these days. It goes without saying that it is used to make fries and mashed potato, but the possibilities extend much further. Numerous varieties exist, each with its own flavour and texture, and this means you can use them with great creativity in the kitchen. A recent article from De Standaard Magazine discusses what is so special about the potato and why this forgotten vegetable is due for a reassessment.
Healthy and delicious
In view of its nutritional value, the potato can be described as healthy. We also like to eat it in large quantities. Although many would disagree, the potato is not fattening in itself. Obviously this changes if you add milk and butter to make mashed potatoes or fry the potato in oil to make chips. The skin of the potato is also valuable. If you peel a potato you lose some of its vitamins and minerals, as with other types of vegetables. There’s no denying that potatoes are healthy and nutritious, then, but are they tasty too? The flavour can best be described as full and soft. The potato’s popularity in meals is mainly due to the fact that it can easily be made to absorb other flavours, for example by sprinkling it with herbs or adding a sauce. With a little creativity in the kitchen it can easily be made to suit everyone’s taste.
Choosing the right potato
In order to choose correctly between the many varieties of potato, you first need to distinguish between new potatoes and storage potatoes. New potatoes have a thin skin that comes off easily when rubbed. They can only be stored for a few days. Potatoes with a tougher skin can be kept for longer, in some cases for the whole winter. The later they are harvested, the longer they can be stored. A second important distinction is between waxy and floury potatoes. Waxy potatoes retain their shape and texture when they are cooked. They are ideal for boiling, baking and steaming. Floury potatoes tend to disintegrate after boiling and, as the name suggests, are characterised by white flakes that are reminiscent of flour. This makes them more suitable for French fries and mashed potatoes.
One potato is not like another. Worldwide there are some 4,000 varieties, around 200 of which are grown in our country. The article from the Standaard Magazine mentions a number of popular varieties. The varieties listed below can be found in the Pomuni range:
Agria: Bright yellow colour, ideal for French fries and mashed potatoes
Amandine: Early and firm waxy potato. Has a fine flavour
Bintje: Floury texture and fairly neutral flavour. Versatile storage potato for French fries and mashed potatoes
Charlotte: Waxy potato. Delicate flavour and firm texture. Ideal for stews
Corne de Gatte: Very irregular-shaped potato
Exquisa: Very waxy. Recommended for eating with its skin
Franceline: Like the Charlotte, but red. Renowned for its good flavour
Gourmandine: A new potato that cannot be kept. Fairly neutral flavour
Nicola: Waxy, full-flavoured potato
Ratte: The ‘queen of the potatoes’. Waxy and full of character
Rosa: Also known as Plate de Florenville. A waxy variety
Victoria: Waxy potato with a distinctive flavour. Keeps well
Vitelotte: Floury potato, purple in colour. Adds a nice touch of colour to the plate
Recipes with Amandine, Charlotte, Corne de Gatte, Ratte, Plate de Florenville, Vitelotte and other varieties can be found on our website.