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Jan 17, 2009 11:52 PM

A question about potatoes

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

    1. 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

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

        1. re: WCchopper

          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

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


        2. 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

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

            1. re: paulj

              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. 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

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

            2. GG

              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

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