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FAQs About Potatoes

Nutrition FAQs

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Are all types of potatoes equally nutritious?

 All varieties of potatoes are nutritious, and while nutrients may vary slightly depending on the variety, the differences are minimal.

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Can you eat potatoes if you’re trying to lose weight?

You can include potatoes as part of a weight loss program. It’s calories that count, not eliminating certain foods.  Among a study of participants, those who ate potatoes as part of a calorie reduced eating plan still lost weight.

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Are there differences in nutrient content between fresh, frozen, and instant (dehydrated) potatoes?

Processed potatoes deliver the same nutrients as fresh potatoes (such as potassium, vitamin C, and fiber), but the amounts will vary depending on the form. Click here to find out more about the nutrient content in potato forms.

 

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Are potato chips highly processed?

Potato chips are minimally processed and typically made with three ingredients found in the most homes – potatoes, vegetable oil and salt.

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Are fries healthy?

Just like other forms of white potatoes, fries deliver essential nutrients that many Americans don’t get enough of each day, particularly, potassium and vitamin C.

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How do white potatoes and sweet potatoes compare when it comes to their nutrition?

Both sweet and white potatoes provide an excellent source of vitamin C, are good sources of potassium and B6, and provide similar amounts of protein (2g and 3g respectively).  Click here to see the nutrition comparison of White Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes.

 

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Are potatoes fattening?

Potatoes are naturally fat-free.

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If I am trying to lose weight, do I need to avoid potatoes?

Research demonstrates that people can eat potatoes and still lose weight. There is no evidence that potatoes when prepared in a healthful manner, impede weight loss.

Click here to learn more about potatoes and weight loss.

 

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Are all the nutrients in the skin of the potato?

No. The notion that all the nutrients are in the skin is a myth. While the skin does contain approximately half of the total dietary fiber, most (> 50%) of the nutrients are found within the potato itself. For more information, please click here.

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Do potatoes have a high glycemic index (GI)?

The GI of potatoes is highly variable and depends on various factors, including the potato type, origin, processing, and preparation.

 

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Should people with diabetes avoid foods like potatoes?

According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), starchy vegetables such as potatoes can be included in the diet of a person with diabetes. The total amount of carbohydrate consumed at any given meal or snack is what is most important.

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Are potatoes good for you?

Yes, potatoes are naturally fat-free, cholesterol-free, and sodium-free. In addition, potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C, and a good source of potassium. Foods that are good sources of potassium and sodium-free, such as potatoes, may reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke.

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Cooking Potatoes FAQs

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How do I freeze fresh potatoes?

  • Fresh potatoes can be frozen; however, you need to take a few extra steps to ensure their quality will hold up in the freezing process.  First, cook/blanch the potatoes. Blanching means to par-cook and rapidly cool an ingredient.
  • To prepare and freeze your potatoes cut them into whatever shape you plan to use them in. As you cut them into their desired shape, place the potatoes directly into cold water with a tablespoon of lemon juice or distilled vinegar. Don’t worry; this won’t impact the taste of your potatoes; it will just prevent them from oxidizing (turning brown).
  • While the potatoes are cut and soaking in the water, get ready to cook the potatoes. For cut or grated potatoes, cook the potatoes until they are partially cooked, not raw but not cooked all the way. This will ensure that you’re able to cook the potatoes to the correct doneness when you go to prepare them out of the freezer. You will want to either boil or steam your potatoes.
  • Once the potatoes are partially cooked, cool them rapidly to stop the cooking. To do this, drain the potatoes if they were boiled and spread them on a baking sheet lightly sprayed with non-stick spray.
  • Arrange the potatoes in an even layer and place them in a cool spot in your kitchen or even in the refrigerator until they are cool enough to handle.
  • Once the potatoes are blanched and cool, now place them in the freezer.
  • Potatoes can be seasoned at this stage, so they are ready to heat right out of the freezer. To season the spud, lightly spray them with canola or vegetable oil. These oils are recommended since they can take the highest heat. Once the potatoes have been sprayed with oil, choose your favorite seasoning. Lightly sprinkle the seasoning on the potatoes, gently turn them over with a spatula, and season the other side. Place the baking sheet of seasoned potatoes into the freezer and allow to freeze overnight.
  • Once the potatoes are frozen, they can be bagged in resealable freezer bags and stored for 10-12 months. Although they are best when used within six months.
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How to make roasted potatoes in the air fryer.

The potatoes can be finished in the air fryer after boiling, draining, and shaking. The limited capacity however in an air fryer makes this a bit of a chore and the exterior of the potatoes can clog up the fry basket on the air fryer. While the air fryer is great for other applications it is not recommended for this preparation method. Try these Air Fryer Roasted Potatoes

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Why soak the potatoes in cold water before cooking?

Soaking potatoes in water helps remove excess starch. Excess starch can inhibit the potatoes from cooking evenly and create a gummy or sticky texture on the outside of the potatoes. Cold water is used because hot water would react with the starch, making it harder to separate from the potatoes.

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Do you boil the water before adding the potatoes?

For most potato dishes it’s important to add the potatoes to cold water and allow the water to come to a boil with the potatoes in the water.  The potato starch can react as soon as it comes in contact with hot water, which will promote uneven cooking and mealy potatoes.  Starting them in cold water allows the potatoes to come up to temperature gently.  In fact, the water should never really boil, you will want to bring the water to a simmer and gently cook the potatoes for the best texture.

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Should I rinse potatoes before boiling?

Rinsing potatoes helps remove excess starch, so it is recommended to rinse the potatoes before cooking.  To ensure even more starch is out of the way, it’s recommended that they even be quickly rinsed after boiling.  We recommend using hot water for rinsing after boiling and cold water prior to boiling.

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General Potato FAQs

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Can a person live on only potatoes?

Yes, potatoes provide all of the nutrients required to live a healthy and active life.  There are numerous accounts of people going on potato only diets any where from two months to a full year with resulting improvements in health markers and often weight loss. The protein in potatoes is complete and readily available, however it does not occur in significant quantities, so for growing children or those desiring to add muscle mass it is recommended to add lean proteins like non-fat milk or seafood.

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Will consuming potatoes with green patches make me sick?

  • Green spots or patches on potatoes (known as “greening”) are a natural result of chlorophyll production in the tuber from being exposed to light. Chlorophyll is not toxic; however, its presence indicates an increase in the production of solanine. Solanine is a glycoalkaloid that can cause gastrointestinal symptoms (e.g., nausea, vomiting and diarrhea), but
    only if consumed in very large amounts.
  • Click here to learn more Greening Fact Check
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What do I do with “green” or “sprouting” potatoes?

Green on the skin of a potato is the build-up of a chemical called Solanine. It is a natural reaction to the potato being exposed to too much light. Solanine produces a bitter taste and, if eaten in large quantities, can cause illness.

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How do I properly store and handle potatoes after purchase?

  • Store potatoes in a cool, well-ventilated place.
  • Keep potatoes out of the light.
  • Cold temperatures, lower than 50 degrees in the refrigerator, cause a potato’s starch to convert to sugar, resulting in a sweet taste and discoloration when cooked.
  • Avoid areas that reach high temperatures (beneath the sink or beside large appliances) or receive too much sunlight (on the countertop).
  • Perforated plastic bags and paper bags offer the best environment for extending the shelf life of potatoes
  • Don’t wash potatoes, or any produce, before storing. Dampness promotes early spoilage

Go to storage and handling.

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What do I look for when purchasing potatoes at the grocery store?

Look for clean, smooth, firm-textured potatoes with no cuts, bruises, or discoloration. Click here to learn about potato storage and handling.

Classic Potato Recipes FAQs

How long do you boil potatoes for mashed potatoes?

Cooking potatoes in water for mashed potatoes can take anywhere between 30 and 45 minutes, but there are a lot of variables that can impact the cooking time. Variables include size, skin on or off, type of potato, and the altitude at which you are cooking the potatoes. Click here to learn how to make the ultimate mashed potatoes.

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Why does my potato salad get watery?

Potatoes can retain moisture. To prevent this, drain the potatoes very well in a colander or pot. Allow all the steam to escape the potatoes before mixing them with the dressing and other ingredients. Steaming the potatoes instead of boiling them is a good way to ensure that excess moisture isn’t trapped inside. Click here for the classic American potato salad recipe.

What is the difference between au gratin potatoes and scalloped potatoes?

Au Gratin potatoes contain cheese, whereas scalloped potatoes do not. Scalloped potatoes typically contain cream but can also contain flavorful stock instead of dairy. Try our Classic Au Gratin Potatoes Recipe or Classic Scalloped Potatoes Recipe.

What is au gratin?

The term Au Gratin means sprinkled with cheese or breadcrumbs and baked in the oven. The word comes from the French verb ‘gratiner,’ which means ‘to brown.’ View our top Au Gratin Potatoes Recipes.

 

Can you freeze scalloped potatoes?

Yes. Scalloped potatoes can be frozen and reheated later. The best way to freeze them is in individual portions for easy reheating in the microwave or the oven. Larger portions can be frozen; the best method for reheating large portions is in a low-temperature oven (300-325 °F) for about 60-90 minutes, depending on the size. The low temperature ensures that the cream doesn’t separate.

How to make a baked potato in the microwave.

The time it takes to bake a potato depends on a few factors, primarily the type of cooking method and the size of the potato. Therefore, it’s better to gauge doneness by the internal temperature of 205 F. A meat thermometer or probe thermometer works great for this.  On average in an oven, a 5-7-ounce potato will take about 30-40 minutes.

 

See our Recipes for Baked Potatoes and Learn How to Make the Perfect Baked Potato!

Do you cut potatoes before boiling?

Cutting potatoes before boiling does aid in removing excess starch.  Excess starch can make potatoes gummy or gluey.  That said, cutting the potatoes too small can lead to too much water absorbing into the potatoes.  A good rule of thumb is to go with a 2-inch dice on the potatoes before boiling them.

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