Various potato varieties are often appreciated as culinary additions to soups, chicken and other recipes, however potatoes have other uses such as reducing stomach acid, treating warts and removing berry stains from hands and clothing. This rooted vegetable comes in many shapes, sizes and colors that include brown, red, yellow, purple and even blue. The most common types of potatoes are the brown russet skin varieties.
Most red-skinned potatoes have creamy smooth skin on the inside and some types even have a sweet mild taste. Red-skinned varieties are generally round or oval-shaped but some are oblong or tubular. Adirondack Red potatoes are very distinctive because this variety is oblong shaped with brownish red skin on the outside and pink skin on the inside. The Axona is oval shaped with red skin and cream colored flesh. The Bartina is a tubular shape with red skin on the outside and yellow flesh inside.
Russets are generally different shades of brown, but each type of russet offers something different. Some have a more robust flavor while other are more sweet and crispy when cooked. The shape also varies from very round to oblong or bulbous. The Acadia russet has an flat-like oblong shape and creamy white skin inside. The Alaska russet has a tubular shaped with a tendency to crack. The Hampton is a round russet, and the Lemhi russet potato has heavy brown skin with thick nets and blemishes. Overall most types of russets are high yielding potatoes that are resistant to disease.
Blue and Purple Skinned
Blue and purple skinned potatoes display deep shades of blue and purple. Many types have a combination of both blue and purple skin rather than just one solid color. The AC Blue Pride is long or oval-shaped with purple and blue skin and white flesh. The Blue Tomcat displays a very dark shade of purple and the Burgundy has a thick texture with purple rings and white flesh.
Common Uses for Potatoes
Potatoes are commonly used in the kitchen for specific dishes, such as homemade french fries, hash browns or mashed potatoes. Russet or red-skinned potatoes are usually selected unless a recipe calls for a specific type of potato. Potatoes do lose a lot of nutrients from the cooking process so it's best to eat this vegetable raw if possible. Cooked potatoes also absorb fat and grease which turns a healthy vegetable into an unhealthy side dish.
You can use all types of potatoes for composting. The skins and flesh break down easily without problems in a compost bin. Add raw potato peels or even left over cooked potatoes to your compost material. The potato skins add additional nutrients to the bin making it a welcome addition since the overall goal is to create fertile compost.
Potatoes are also used in homemade skin care. The acids in this vegetable help to polish and exfoliate the skin. You can juice a raw potato to make your own facial wash or toner. Raw sliced potatoes also help relive puffy eyes, so place slices of potato under your eyes and relax. In addition, potatoes also help treat minor burns.