Think you know Maine potatoes?
Guest Blogger: Pat Sutherland
More potatoes are raised in Aroostook County than any other county east of the Mississippi. Wow!! Did you know that? And our Maine potatoes, many varieties, are of seven basic types. Did you know that? You can eat a different Maine potato type every day of the week! Most grocery stores and farmers’ markets will have these seven basic types of county-grown Maine potatoes:
Russet type potatoes have brown netted skin and white flesh. You think of them as primarily for baking, but you can also enjoy them mashed or roasted.
Round red potatoes have rosy red skin and white flesh. Enjoy them in soups, stews and salads to get the most from their sweet flavor.
Round whites are usually light tan with white flesh. They may be used for any purpose, but they make the BEST velvety mashed potatoes. Can’t be beat!
Yukon Gold (variety of yellow potatoes) are very popular for their golden skin and golden flesh. You may bake, roast or grill them for their slightly sweet, caramelized flavor.
Purple and blue potatoes are becoming more available in the grocery store or at famers’ markets. Look for a deep purple skin with flesh that ranges from purple to lavender to almost white. Fun to cook! Roast them or boil and toss them into salads for a pop of color.
Fingerling type potatoes are also fun to cook. Look for small, slender “finger sized” potatoes, typically ranging from 2 to 4 inches in length. You can find these potatoes in various colors, such as red/pink, purple, yellow and light tan. You can roast or boil, or pan fry them to showcase their wonderful nutty and buttery tastes.
And then there are the “babies,’ also called petites or gourmet potatoes. Small, one or two bite size, they have a concentrated depth of flavor and are a great dinner party treat!
Come visit us in Aroostook County and see our rolling hills and fertile fields. In July, come spend a week and enjoy the festivities at the Maine Potato Blossom Festival in Fort Fairfield. In mid- to late-July, our 55,000 acres of potato fields are a sight to behold. The plants are lush and green and the potato blossoms are shades of purple, pink and white. Truly a vision you should see.
Or come visit during harvest in September and October, when the farmers are in their fields from sun-up to sun-down with their huge tractors and harvesters getting the crop out. Any time from early July through harvest, you will find food stands along the roads everywhere selling “new” potatoes. Take some home. And we’ll tell you the story about new potatoes next month! Be watching our Aroostook County blog posts…