Our staff shares their top pointers for buying, storing, and prepping potatoes.
- Good Looking = Great Quality: Buy potatoes that are fairly clean and smooth; firm with no soft spots, nicks, or cracks; and sprout free. Make sure they are uniform in size for even cooking. Disclaimer: A pretty potato on the outside can have a blackened space in the center called "hollow heart." It indicates a change in the growth rate. Discard.
- The Green Issue: If a potato is exposed to light, a component called solanine builds up and causes a green tinge on the skin. It will taste bitter. (It's possible, but not likely, to cause illness.) Don't buy a potato with green patches-it has been mishandled. At home, store potatoes in a dark, cool place, such as your pantry. Cut away small areas of green tinge at least 1⁄4 inch below the peel.
- A potato stored at room temperature lasts one week. One kept in a 50° environment holds up for three weeks. Do not store in the refrigerator-the starches turn to sugar.
- Go Easy When Cleaning: A good rinse and rub with hands is all that's needed to prep thin-skinned potatoes. Use a soft vegetable brush on thicker skins, such as russets. Sprouts (nicknamed "eyes") are not poisonous and can usually be rubbed off by hand.