The smell of mashed potatoes wafting from the kitchen is synonymous with the Thanksgiving season. You might even take it for granted at this point because it's such a classic side to the main course. But there's so much more you can do with a potato this holiday season.
So how do you pick the best potato? You're already in the right place because Washington state is home to the most prosperous region for potatoes in the world.
You'll find several types of potatoes at the grocery store, including russet, fingerling, red, white, yellow, blue/purple. These potatoes are classified into two categories. Grade 1 is reserved for potatoes that are needed for their size and appearance. Grade 2 is for dishes in which you'll be slicing or peeling the potatoes.
Once you've selected the appropriate potatoes for your recipe, don't refrigerate or freeze them. Don't wash them until you're ready to prepare them. Store them in a dark cool place that is well-ventilated and nowhere near other strong-smelling produce, such as onions or lemons. Make sure the potatoes are free of any green spots and sprouts.
Keep reading to find out how to make the most of your Thanksgiving recipes this year.
Type of potato: Grade 2 russet, white, or yellow
How to prepare it: Mashed potatoes can go in a Shepherd's Pie. They can also be fried on a skillet to turn them into potato cakes. More traditionally, you can mix them in a bowl and add garlic, butter, parsnips, or gravy. You can also choose to make your mashed potatoes chunky, light and fluffy, or with the skins still in the mixture.
Best pairing: Turkey, fried chicken, steak, or fish
If you end up making too many mashed potatoes this year, here is a unique recipe for turning those leftovers into something special: https://www.potatoes.com/item/gnocchi-from-leftover-mashed-potatoes?highlight=WyJnbm9jY2hpIl0=.
Type of potato: Grade 1 russet potatoes
How to prepare it: Place the potatoes in a conventional oven or microwave, and when they're done, add sour cream, cheese, scallions, bacon bits, butter, and any other toppings you love.
Best pairing: Any type of meat, including turkey, steak, or lamb
Type of potato: Grade 2 red, white, yellow, or blue/purple
How to prepare it: Quickly frying your sliced potatoes in some oil opens up the cookbook to so many different possibilities. Fries, potato cakes, hash browns, Potatoes Anna, or Potatoes Rosti are all dishes you can make with the sautéing method.
Best pairing: Potatoes Anna or Rosti can be enjoyed by themselves, but dishes like hash browns or fries are classic with many breakfast and lunch options. Experiment with some sauces to turn these crispy treats into favorites for all-day snacking or at dinner time.
Type of potato: Grade 1 or Grade 2 will work, depending on whether you plan to serve them whole or peeled and cut. Any kind of potato roasts well.
How to prepare it: Cut your potatoes into quarters or pierce the whole ones. Then brush them with oil and season them before placing them in an oven.
Best pairing: This preparation method gives a crispy and colorful bed of potatoes to put under your main course or on the side. You can really brighten up your plate this way. Roasted potatoes taste great with breakfast dishes too.
Type of potato: Grade 2 red, white, or yellow
How to prepare it: This cheesy delight is comfort food that surely won't disappoint. Slice your potatoes into thin pieces and pile them up on top of a buttered or oiled dish. Then pour your favorite cheese and bake the dish for about an hour. Add some breadcrumbs or perhaps some spinach or broccoli to add some color.
Best pairing: Pork, chicken, roast beef, or steak
Washington state is home to two main potato growing sites in the Columbia River Basin and the Skagit Valley, with the former being the most productive region for potato crops. The climate and soil are prime elements for growing potatoes, and the Washington State Potato Commission takes extreme pride in producing quality potatoes for everyone to enjoy.