Guide To Potatoes

December 14, 2015 in Category: Guides

At some point in history, plant eaters grew weary of above ground flavors. It’s not surprising—one can only eat so many green beans. Digging deeper, the secret life of potatoes was uncovered; an underground maze of creeping rootstalks bearing swollen, starchy tubers, plush with potassium and flush with fiber.

In case you didn’t know, Joe’s loves potatoes. Shouldn’t be surprising—who’s ever heard of a tater hater? We love them because they’re versatile, ready to pair with almost any protein, or another vegetable. Potatoes are also exceptional vehicles for other flavors; and they’re tasty all by themselves. To top it all off, they’re inexpensive… need to feed and fill a bunch of people? Potatoes!

Given the span of spuds we offer in our stores, we’d like to shed more light on them (figuratively speaking only—they’re classified as nightshades for a reason). And so, we thought a Guide was in order. Read on to become rooted in our regular selection of starchy, all-purpose, and waxy potato varieties. We promise, you won’t have to dig too deep to discover helpful preparation suggestions, along with some totally tuber-ular recipes.

When you think potatoes, don’t just think Idaho, or Ireland. Think Tater Joe’s.


TJ's Starchy Potatoes

Trader Joe's Starchy Potatoes

TJ’s Russet Potatoes: $1.69/3lb bag or $0.49/each
TJ’s Organic Russet Potatoes: $3.49/5lb bag
TJ’s Sweet Potatoes: $1.79/2 lb bag or $0.79/each


Russet Potatoes

Russet Potatoes

Description: The classic potato. Medium to large in size with thick brown skin and pale flesh. When cooked, Russets have a mild, earthy flavor and the light and fluffy texture that soaks up moisture like a sponge.

Suggested uses: Ideal baked, twice (Seriously Stuffed Twice Baked Potatoes) or just the skins; shredded and fried for hash browns; cut into strips and baked (or fried) Mmm… fries…

Back Pocket Cooking Tip: Scrub the potato, prick with a fork a few times, brush with olive oil, season with salt and pepper then place in a microwave safe dish, cover with cling wrap and microwave for 10 minutes. BLAM! That will be one hot potato! Watch the steam.

Russets are not the best for... potato salads, or diced for soups or stews. Because of their high starch content, russets will fall apart once cooked—so they won’t make the best topping for green salads, or if you want some nice chunks of potato in soups or stews, but they will puree nicely and make a great thickener for soup. 

Sweet Potatoes

Trader Joe's Sweet Potatoes

Description: Sweet potatoes can range from long and slender, to short and squatty. They have a rust-colored skin, with a bright orange flesh. They are known for their sweet, rich and nutty flavor.

Suggested Uses: These spuds are extremely versatile—they can be baked (Salad Stuffed Sweet Potatoes), cubed and roasted, pan fried (Bacon Apple Sweet Potato Hash), grilled, mashed or pureed.

Back Pocket Cooking Tip: Scrub, then place directly on the oven rack. Place a sheet of foil on the rack beneath to catch any drips. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes  or until fork tender.

Sweet Potatoes are not the best for... same as russets (see above).


TJ's All-Purpose Potatoes

Trader Joe's All-Purpose Potatoes

TJ’s Organic Gold Potatoes: $3.99/4 lb bag
TJ’s Gold Potatoes: $2.29/3 lb bag
TJ’s Dutch Yellow Baby Potatoes: $2.49/1.5 lb bag


Gold Potatoes

Gold Potatoes

Description: Small to medium in size; thin, golden skin and pale flesh. Their texture is slightly waxy and creamy when cooked. Rich, buttery flavor. Known for cooking quickly and evenly.

Suggested Uses: Pan fried, mashed, grilled and seasoned with rosemary, cubed and added to soups and stews (Irish-ish Beef Stew), sliced and baked with cream and cheese for gratin dishes

Back Pocket Cooking Tip: Boil them. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, carefully add potatoes and cook about 10-12 minutes until fork tender (Smoked Paprika Potatoes)

Gold Potatoes are not the best for… a loaded baked potato. Gold potatoes are not as absorbent as their starchy counterparts, so stick with the Russets!

Dutch Yellow Potatoes

Trader Joe's Dutch Yellow Potatoes

Description: Dutch Yellow’s are typically smaller than Gold potatoes. They have a thin, golden skin and moist, pale flesh with a mild, buttery flavor.

Suggested Uses: Diced, boiled and folded into a frittata; quartered and simmered in a hearty stew, mini accordion potatoes

Back Pocket Cooking Tip: Smashed Potatoes—Boil 10 minutes until fork tender, smash with something heavy, season and brush with olive oil, then bake at 425 degrees for 25 minutes, flipping once. 

Dutch Yellow Potatoes are not the best for... grating – ouch! 


TJ's Waxy Potatoes

Trader Joe's Waxy Potatoes

TJ’s Baby Red Potatoes: $1.79/1.5 lb bag
TJ’s Potato Medley: $2.29/28 oz bag
TJ’s Teeny Tiny Potatoes (Fingerling): $1.99/1 lb bag


Baby Red Potatoes

Trader Joe's Red Potatoes

Description: Baby reds are small to medium size with a thin, red skin and pale flesh. When cooked, the texture is firmer, moist, waxy and the flavor is slightly sweet.

Suggested Uses: Waxy potatoes will hold their shape when cooked, so reds are perfect when boiled and used in a potato salads, or even added to soups and stews. They also are great quartered and roasted, or mashed with half of the skins on.        

Back Pocket Cooking Tip: Slow cooker – scrub, slice in half, then combine with beef or chicken, potatoes, carrots, onions, broth and spices. Heat on high for 4-6 hours until cooked through. 

Red Potatoes are not the best for... a potato bar with all the fixins.


Red, Yellow & Purple Potato Medley

Trader Joe's Red,Yellow & Purple Potato Medley

Description: Red, Yellow & Purple potatoes all small to medium in size for even cooking, thin skin with pale/violet flesh

Suggested Uses: A beautiful addition to Casseroles, Soups, and Stews, or simply roasted (Sweet & Spicy Pecan Crusted Salmon with Potatoes)

Back Pocket Cooking Tip: Skillet quarter the potatoes, toss with olive oil and herbs, heat in a cast iron skillet with a little clarified butter until golden and crispy. Serve with fried eggs.

Medley potatoes are not the best for... mashed potatoes. Weird color, right?


Fingerling Potatoes

Fingerling Potatoes

Description: 2-4 inches long, oblong shape, yellow thin skin, light yellow flesh. Mild, buttery, nutty, earthy flavor

Suggested Uses: pan frying, adding variety to green salads, roasting (Teeny Tiny Potatoes with Roasted Garlic), serve with a dip – makes a great alternative to French fries

Back Pocket Cooking Tip: Slice in half, coat with olive oil, season, place on a baking sheet and roast at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, flip and roast another 15-20 minutes until golden and crispy.

Fingerling potatoes are not the best for... soups, mashed. They’re so small, you’ll get more bang for your buck with Gold potatoes.


Storing Potatoes

  • Store in a cool dry place
  • Avoid exposure to light
  • Colder temperatures lower than 50 degrees, such as in the refrigerator, cause a potato’s starch to convert to sugar, resulting in a sweet taste and discoloration when cooked.
  • Don’t wash potatoes before storing. Dampness promotes early spoilage

Tags: Starch, Potatoes, Spuds, Sweet Potato, Gold Potato, Red Potato