Frequently asked questions
Q. Why are my roast potatoes and chips coming out brown rather than golden even though they are only just cooked?
A. It is not only the variety and the dry matter content that dictates whether a potato will produce good chips or roast potatoes. How the potato is stored is also vital, particularly at certain times of the year.
Too often we find that chefs are using bags of commonly available general white potatoes which have been cold stored by suppliers to keep their skins looking good. The cold storing of potatoes turns the starch into sugar which in turn caramelises when the potatoes are cooked, producing brown coloured chips or roasties. To minimise the conversion of starch into sugar, potatoes need to be stored at a higher temperature. The downside to this is that the skins don’t look so perfect but when the skin is going to be removed, this doesn’t matter. Potato Lover Potatoes for Chipping and Potatoes for Roasting are both stored to ensure that they produce the perfect golden coloured chips and roast potatoes we all love.
Q. Do I need to parboil my potatoes before I roast them?
A. To produce roast potatoes that have light crispy outside then you really do need to parboil them. When draining the potatoes a good shake of the colander will roughen up the potatoes which will then produce the crispy outside when roasted. Our Premium Salad potatoes however can be roasted without parboiling first although parboiling will help the potatoes keep their firm moist texture.
Q. What are the best potatoes to use to make wedges?
A. Wedges are best made using potatoes that are suitable for Roasting or Chipping. Our Potato Lovers Maris Piper makes excellent wedges - just cut them with the skins still on, drizzle with oil and roast in the oven, turning regularly.
Q. I have cracked how to produce a jacket potato with crispy
skin but I still struggle to get the insides light and fluffy –
too often they are soggy and heavy. Where am I going wrong?
A. Oven baking and lightly coating a baking potato skin with oil before cooking will almost always ensure lovely crispy skins although the variety of potato used will dictate how crispy the skin is. Choosing the correct variety and ensuring the potato has the correct dry matter though is vital for producing a light and fluffy inside. Although a potato make look good and be of a good size, many varieties simply will not produce good jacket potatoes no matter how long they are cooked for. To ensure that you get light and fluffy insides as a well as a crispy skin everytime choose Potato Lovers Potatoes for Baking and you wont be disappointed.
Q. Should I look for potatoes with clean skins to prepare jacket potatoes?
A. No. In fact, potatoes with dull skin finish - caused by natural infections of the potato skins by Silver Scurf, etc. - will cook much better in the oven and produce the best crispy skins.
Q. When I am cooking my potatoes to make mash, I often
find that the potatoes break up and almost dissolve in the water making
‘soup’ which is then very difficult to make mash with.
What am I doing wrong?
A. You are not doing anything wrong. If a potato has too high a dry matter, it will break down in the water when being boiled. Potatoes that are great for Roasting or Chipping will do just this. The varieties used for Potato Lovers Potatoes for Mashing though have a firmer, more waxy flesh which stops them from dissolving in water when boiled.
Q. Despite putting my potatoes through a ricer and beating
them well, I still find that my mash has a grainy rather than a smooth
texture. How can I prevent this from happening?
A. A grainy texture in mash is caused by too high a starch content in the potatoes and nothing you can do will make the end mashed potato smooth I am afraid. The only way to ensure that you will produce velvety smooth mashed potato every time is to use the correct potatoes. Potato Lovers Potatoes for Mashing guarantee the perfect mash everytime.
Q. What potatoes should I use for making Champ?
A. Champ, a traditional Scottish potato dish, is characterised by its fluffiness rather than its smoothness and although it would seem that Potato Lovers Potatoes for Mashing would be the obvious choice for this dish this is not the case. To produce the ideal Champ, it is important that you have a potato with a more floury texture and Potato Lovers Potatoes for Roasting or King Edwards will give you this.
Q. Why do my baby potatoes break up on cooking?
A. Without knowing which variety of potatoes you are using it is difficult to say for certain, but a number of baby potatoes available on the market are not true new potatoes but in fact small sized maincrop potatoes known as ‘mids’ in the trade. These mids have a higher dry matter than new potatoes causing them to burst on cooking. Potato Lovers Premium Salad potatoes have the correct dry matter to ensure not only that they won't break up on cooking but also the best flavour and our Maris Peer potatoes are, we believe, the best baby potatoes available on the market.
Q. I read somewhere that potatoes are a very good source of Vitamin C. Is this correct?
A. You are absolutely right. Not many people know this but a 175g serving of Salad potatoes boiled in their skins will provide up to 44% of your daily requirement of Vitamin C. Potatoes are also a great source of Vitamin B6, potassium and iron as well as being a source of fibre, magnesium, folic acid and Vitamin B1. So contrary to what some people think, potatoes are very good for you!
Q. What is the best method of cooking new potatoes?
A. I find that for the best results, new potatoes need to be cooked very carefully and slowly. Always put the new potatoes into cold water and then slowly bring them to the boil. Once boiling simmer them very gently so that the surface of the water is just breaking and when cooked your new potatoes will be bursting with flavour.
Q. What are the best potatoes to use for Potato Salad?
A. Not surprisingly, salad potatoes work best for Potato Salad. Our Premium Salad potatoes are great for this, just boil in their skins for 15-20 minutes and mix with a range of ingredients.
Q. Why do my new potatoes have a dry earthy flavour?
A. The dry earthy flavour often found in new potatoes is caused because the potatoes have been harvested too early and before they are really ready. Careful monitoring of the Potato Lovers Premium Salad potato crops by the farmers ensures that they are lifted only when they are at their optimum and therefore don’t have this dry earthy flavour.
Q. How do you stop new potatoes going green?
A. New potatoes should not be stored for more than 2-3 days and to stop them going green they need to be stored in a dry dark place and ideally at 6°C.