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Varieties of Potatoes

Potatoes originated in the Andean mountain region of South America. The potato belongs to the Solanaceae or nightshade family, which also includes tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and tomatillos. They are the swollen portion of the underground stem which is called a tuber and provide food for the green leafy portion of the plant. If allowed to flower and fruit, the potato plant will bear an inedible fruit resembling a tomato.

There are approximately a hundred different varieties of edible potatoes that cover a wide range of sizes, shapes, colors, starch content and flavor, but most belong to one of the following classifications:


These are the favorite potatoes for baking. They weight up to 18 ounces with a hard brown skin and starchy flesh. The Russet Burbank is the most commonly grown variety of long russets.


The White Rose is the most well known of the long whites. They weigh up to one-half pound with a thin waxy skin when mature.


Red LeSoda and Red Pontiac are two varieties of new potatoes. They are harvested before maturity and are small in size. They have smooth red skin and are good for boiling.


These are multi-purpose potatoes that are smaller than the long whites, weighing about one-third of a pound each. Katahdin is a popular round white variety.


Finnish yellow wax potatoes have a deep yellow flesh with a rich buttery flavor. The Blue Carib and All Blue have grey-blue skin and dark blue flesh with a delicate flavor.

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This page was updated on: 2004-12-23 20:16:29

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