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A question about potatoes

greedygirl Jan 17, 2009 11:52 PM

So, it turns out that potato varieties are completely different in the UK than America. Not a single one in common as far as I can make out. Who knew?

Anyway, I'm plannig to make a Zuni recipe for dinner which calls for yellow-fleshed potatoes, "preferably Yellow Finnish, Bintje or German Butterballs". Does this mean I need a waxy, salad potato? I have Charlottes (waxy) and King Edwards (floury) in my pantry.....

And while I'm about it, what kind of potatoes are Yukon Gold?


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  1. j
    jaykayen RE: greedygirl Jan 18, 2009 12:01 AM

    Butterballs and Yukon Gold are waxy. (I guess Yellow Finnish and Bintje are, too, but I don't recall them exactly right now.)

    1. WCchopper RE: greedygirl Jan 18, 2009 12:15 AM

      I think they are also "fingerling" potatoes, if that narrows it down. I mostly use that type for roasting or in salads.

      4 Replies
      1. re: WCchopper
        Ruth Lafler RE: WCchopper Jan 18, 2009 12:22 AM

        Nope. None of these types listed are fingerlings (which would be the exact opposite of a butterball!).

        1. re: Ruth Lafler
          WCchopper RE: Ruth Lafler Jan 18, 2009 10:21 PM

          I stand corrected.

        2. re: WCchopper
          greedygirl RE: WCchopper Jan 18, 2009 01:27 AM

          We don't have fingerlings here either! I see references to them all the time, but don't know what they are!

          1. re: greedygirl
            Gio RE: greedygirl Jan 18, 2009 03:43 AM

            Fingerling potatoes are small, thin, and very much like - a finger shape.
            Here's a reference page of potato vatieties from Cook/s Thesaurus:


        3. Ruth Lafler RE: greedygirl Jan 18, 2009 12:20 AM

          And in the US we rarely classify potatoes by "waxy" and "floury" -- more commonly the classifications a "boiling" (waxy) and "baking" (floury), the difference being that a waxy/boiling potato will hold its shape when cooked in liquid (boiled for use in potato salad or in soups and stews) while baking/floury potatoes tend to breakdown and are often used for just that reason to thicken stews. Yellow-fleshed potatoes would be classified as waxy. Yukon gold is another (very popular) variety of yellow-fleshed potato developed in Canada.

          I looked up some English potato varieties and the Charlottes should be fine for this recipe.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Ruth Lafler
            paulj RE: Ruth Lafler Jan 18, 2009 01:08 PM

            Many descriptions put the Yukons in the middle, not as waxy as our reds, but not as dry as the bakers.

            1. re: paulj
              Ruth Lafler RE: paulj Jan 18, 2009 01:38 PM

              Yeah, that's what I thought, but I didn't want to add to the confusion of what she should choose, since it was clear (to me) that a floury potato was not going to be the best choice.

          2. g
            gardencub RE: greedygirl Jan 18, 2009 05:02 AM

            waxy and Mealy are the two terms that we use in cooking school. Waxy hold up well for salads, for boiling, etc and mealy break down easy, good for mashed, baked, or to use as a thickener.

            Yukon gold is a waxy, yellow fleshed potato that seems to be the darling of the kitchen but leaves me rather cold...

            1 Reply
            1. re: gardencub
              Sooeygun RE: gardencub Jan 18, 2009 07:34 AM

              The Yukon golds I buy at the store are only so-so, but the ones from my Dad's garden are incredible.

            2. h
              Harters RE: greedygirl Jan 18, 2009 11:56 AM


              I know we don't tend to have yellow fleshed spuds over here but I think I recall eating them on a trip to America. If memory is correct, nearest taste is going to be Pink Fir (on Anya as they're called in Sainsbury's)

              1 Reply
              1. re: Harters
                greedygirl RE: Harters Jan 18, 2009 12:16 PM

                Thanks. I used Charlottes in the end and they were fine.

              2. Karl S RE: greedygirl Jan 18, 2009 01:21 PM

                Charlotte. It's what would be called a yellow all-purpose potato in the US, like Yukon Golds. (White all-purpose potatoes include the venerable Maine/Long Island potatoes, the Kennebec and Katahdin, et cet.)

                The most common "waxy" potato in the US is Red Norland (often casually called Red Bliss, which was its predecessor in ubiquity, or Red Pontiac), and the Round White (aka California White). What we call Yellow Finns are a yellow waxy potato (waxier than Yukon Golds), but they are less common than they used to be.

                Russets (there are several sub-varieties) are the American floury/starchy potato of choice.

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