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Amanda Garbutt


The Staple Ingredient You Eat 73 Pounds of a Year

Posted: 11/29/2012 12:40 pm

There's one particular ingredient that has stood the test of time. It provides lots of health benefits, comes in hundreds of varieties and commonly takes the form of the most beloved comfort food. Surviving times of economic turmoil and phases of trendy ingredients, it always comes out on top as the most basic feature in any foodie's pantry. Can you guess what this favoured food is?

The Potato!

As one of the most consumed ingredients on the planet (the average person eats 73 pounds per year!) the potato can be used in an endless amount of dishes and literally enjoyed all year 'round. Sometimes the vast amount of varieties can seem daunting. When faced with hundreds of choices, which to choose? Its many varieties can be categorized into three basic types: waxy, starchy and all-purpose. Here's a fool-proof guide to deciphering the qualities of these types so you'll be a potato-pro during your next trip to the supermarket!

Waxy potatoes are characterized by having the least amount of starch and the highest amount of moisture and sugar. Also termed "boiling potatoes," they have a smooth outer layer of skin that's waxy to the touch. Common types that can be found in the supermarket are round red, round white and yellow. Because of this potato's tendency to rigidly hold its shape, its ideal use is within dishes that involve roasting or barbecuing. Soups, casseroles and potato salads are all delicious meals to use waxy potatoes in!

The potatoes that are most ideal for baking purposes are the Starchy variety. Despite having a dry and mealy texture, when cooked they magically transform into a light and fluffy consistency. This quality makes them perfect to mash and fry, a delicious option when making homemade shepherd's pie or home fries. Feel the sudden urge to bake some homemade chips? We do, too! Some popular types to try are Russet, Goldrush and Idaho.

The potato that rests in the middle ground between starchy and waxy is All-Purpose. They hold together in boiling water and are slightly moister than the starchy varieties. Perfect for roasting, pan frying, mashing and baking, these potatoes have a multi-faceted quality that makes them a great choice for countless recipes. Try common types like Yukon Gold and Superior potatoes in soup, stew and gratin dishes.

Are you an adventurous chef? If so, there's plenty of rare and interesting varieties to try that have properties and qualities that set them apart from the average potato. The Blue variety, which originated in South America, are purple when raw and turn blue once cooked. They are all-purpose wonders that prove to be a great presentation piece when used in mashes and pies! Potato cultivators have also recently bred three new types that contain more than 18 per cent dry matter! Igorota, Solibao and Ganza are the perfect potatoes to use when making sturdy, crispy French fries because of this quality.

Hmm...all this potato talk is making us hungry! Try using your favourite potato type in one of our great recipes!

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  • Skillet Scalloped Potatoes

    What makes Scalloped Potatoes great is that you can use your favourite kind of cheese, so it’s just the way you like it! I can tell you that if you make these for any occasion, you can’t go wrong, my grandmother sure knew that! Get the recipe here: <a href="http://thehotplate.com/default.php/?p=7445" target="_hplink">Scalloped Potatoes</a>

  • Hasselback Potatoes

    while flipping across E!Talk that I saw my inspiration. David Hasselhoff was up on the screen and for whatever stranger reason a recipe I’d seen years ago popped into my head. I started thinking, “wasn’t there a dish name after this guy?” Well no, there isn’t a dish named after the Hoff himself, but there is a dish with close copy: The Hasselback potato. Get the recipe here: <a href="http://thehotplate.com/default.php/?p=7439" target="_hplink">Hasselback Potatoes</a> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AS8QvMEmA8A" target="_hplink">Or watch our easy How-To video on YouTube</a>

  • Country Fries

    One of my favourite side dishes has to be French Fries, but I like them only one way: a little crunchy on the ends, soft and chewy in the middle, and thickly cut. The kind that really stick to your ribs. Get the recipe here: <a href="http://thehotplate.com/default.php/?p=7450" target="_hplink">Country Fries</a>

  • Basic Potato Salad

    This is a summer staple! Whether you’re serving it as a side dish at a picnic or BBQ every new cook should know how to throw one together. Click here for the recipe: <a href="http://thehotplate.com/default.php/?p=1652" target="_hplink">Basic Potato Salad</a> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Q9n7bjyQMDg" target="_hplink">Watch how to make this dish on YouTube</a>

  • Potato Galette with Rosemary Butter

    Potato Galette is a simple and elegant dish that is a welcome change to the traditional mash. Click here for the recipe: <a href="http://thehotplate.com/default.php/?p=4100" target="_hplink">Potato Galette with Rosemary Butter</a>

  • Loaded Baked Potato

    Baked potatoes are already such a treat so when we stuffed them with chili, cheese and guacamole we knew we were in for a good day of football watching! Click here for the recipe: <a href="http://thehotplate.com/default.php/?p=4499" target="_hplink">Loaded Baked Potato</a>

  • Shepherd's Pie

    In the mood for Pub Food? Our Shephard’s Pie is the definition of Pub Grub. This savoury dish is perfect for any occasion. It’s comfort food qualities make it a winner for a family get together or a night in. This delicious and flavourful meal will make anyone feel like they are sitting in a British Pub! Click here for the recipe: <a href="http://thehotplate.com/default.php/?p=7288" target="_hplink">Shepherd's Pie</a> <a href="http://youtu.be/XvjHU9GU7ww" target="_hplink">Watch our How-To video on Youtube</a>


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