Choosing the Best Potatoes For Mashing

The potato variety makes a difference in mashed potatoes

Mashed potatoes
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Mashed potatoes rank high on the list of American comfort foods for everyday and special occasions. The term dates back to 1896 in print, but this simple dish has undoubtedly been a favorite for much longer. What could be easier to make than mashed potatoes? Believe it or not, there are a number of factors and techniques you should know in order to make the perfect mashed potatoes. Once you have read through the tips and hints, you'll find a variety of mashed potato recipes (linked below), from smooth and creamy to exotic and loaded.

Choosing the right potato

Choosing the right potato to mash will depend on whether you prefer smooth and creamy style or mashed potatoes with a bit of texture (ie., lumpy or the new chef's favorite, smashed).

Waxy potatoes, such as Red Rose, White Rose, and Yukon Gold varieties, are recommended for boiling applications because they have less starch and a higher moisture content. They hold up to boiling and do not absorb as much water. Waxy potatoes tend to result in a more flavorful end product, but it can be difficult to get a really smooth texture without turning them to glue.

Idaho and russet potatoes have a higher starch content and lower moisture, resulting in a mealier texture when cooked. This means they absorb more moisture and tend to fall apart when boiled. Thus, if you prefer a smoother texture, use mealy potatoes but steam rather than boil.

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