Potatoes for all tastes and dishes

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The potato remains the favourite vegetable of the French. Steamed, fried, fried, gratin Dauphinois, the potato is suitable for all types of cooking and recipes and it is a real concentrate of energy and vitamins.

 The potato does not know the crisis

Today, despite less consumption than 50 years ago, the potato remains a staple food in the French diet! They consume about 50kg each year, half of which is fresh and the other half processed.

Hundreds of varieties exist

There is not a potato but potatoes! 150 varieties are listed, adapted to the various methods of preparation. But there are mainly about twenty on stalls, classified according to their culinary use: potatoes with firm flesh, melting flesh, floury flesh and the original.

  • The firm-fleshed potatoes have a distinct taste and, by definition, a good resistance to cooking. They are ideal for cooking with steam or water and are particularly suitable for potatoes in field dress, in salads, sauteed or fried.
  • The early potatoes  , harvested early in the season, are melting and delicious in field dress or when browned in a pan.
  • Other varieties, floury flesh, are perfect for making crispy fries and low fat or creamy mash and good consistency. They are also suitable for soups or stews.
  • And then, there are the original, the unclassifiable by their color, their shape and place of production … The trend is to better communicate on the varieties in general and more particularly on the “original” with higher added value. 

When time is running out

Sometimes there is no time for homemade preparations. Industrialists have therefore developed a great diversity of dishes in which potatoes often occupy an important place. The varieties used in processing are not selected at random. Whether it is to produce potato flakes, chips, french fries … frozen, canned, vacuum packed …, each category requires potatoes with specific technical characteristics in dry matter, texture, size, coloring …

Uses in all fields …

The agri-food industry also uses a quarter of potatoes produced in France in the form of starch , that is to say starch. It is extracted from varieties called starch, specially selected for their high dry starch content. Starch is used in soups, charcuteries, or sauces and is found in small quantities but in the majority of cooked dishes. Note that starch is also on the list of raw materials for paper, cardboard, chemistry, pharmaceuticals, the adhesive industry, cosmetics … 

Biodegradable plastics based on potatoes

Today, new markets are opening up for the production of starch potatoes, particularly in the manufacture of biomaterials. 100% biodegradable plastics from potatoes or corn replace the production of petrochemical plastics, to the delight of the environment!

A little history of the potato

Originating from the Andean Cordillera, the potato is a recent starch on the scale of our European diet.

Good conservation, at the time of the conquistadores, it allows the crews of the Spanish ships to feed during the crossing … and thus to join the old Europe.

At the end of the eighteenth century, the potato became the main agricultural production of Germany, and spread to Austria, Switzerland, France, Great Britain, Ireland, Sweden and all the regions located in the East of France. It helps to stem the frequent famines associated with poor harvests of wheat.

Potatoes in salad

For a potato salad, opt for a firm-fleshed variety. After steaming, they are left to warm slowly before peeling and slicing.

A drizzle of olive oil, a few drops of balsamic vinegar, a little salt and pepper from the mill, some anchovies, finely chopped chives … and voila!

Dr. Kimberly Seltzer

Postdoctoral Scholar, UC Berkeley Research Assistant, MIT

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