Potatoes are versatile, economical, low in calories, and nutritious. The basic types of potatoes are long and round whites, yellow, russets, and round reds. In Ohio, potatoes are grown and harvested from mid-July to mid-October and in storage year-round.
For information on potato varieties in Ohio, contact your county educator in agriculture and natural resources at Ohio State University Extension, or a master gardener volunteer.
- Potatoes should be fairly clean and firm. A smooth and regular shape results in less waste when peeling.
- Avoid potatoes with wilted, wrinkled skin, soft dark areas, cut surfaces, or a green appearance.
- For baked potatoes, choose potatoes of uniform size for even cooking.
Due to many variables such as moisture content, size, and variety, it is difficult to give specific recommendations. The recommendations below are approximations.
- 1-pound fresh potatoes =
- about 3 medium potatoes
- 3 cups peeled and sliced
- 2½ cups peeled and diced
- 2 cups mashed
- 2 cups French fries
- 2 pounds medium potatoes = about 6 servings of potato salad (1 potato per serving)
- 1 bushel = 60 pounds
- 1 bushel = 18–22 quarts canned
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends 2½ cups of a variety of vegetables each day as part of a healthy diet. One-half cup of boiled potatoes contains about 65 calories.
- Potatoes are an excellent source of potassium, low in sodium, and are virtually fat free.
- A medium-size potato (3 potatoes per pound) provides ⅓ the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C for an average adult.
- Eating potato skin adds fiber to the diet.
- Store potatoes in a cool, dry, dark place that is well ventilated. The ideal temperature is between 45–50 degrees Fahrenheit.
- When stored at 45–50 F, potatoes will keep well for several weeks. Warmer temperatures encourage sprouting and shriveling. Sprouting potatoes can still be used. Remove the sprouts and eyes completely and then peel before cooking.
- Do not refrigerate potatoes. Below 40 F, potatoes will develop a sweet taste from the accumulation of sugars. This increased sugar will cause the potato to darken when cooked.
- Avoid prolonged exposure to sunlight, which causes potatoes to turn green. Green areas should be removed before the potato is used.
- Wash potatoes thoroughly to remove dirt before preparing. Do not use soap, detergent, or bleach because these liquids absorb into the vegetable.
- Gently scrub potatoes with a vegetable brush to clean. Give special attention to cleaning around blemishes and indentations. Remove bad spots.
- Leaving skin on potatoes during cooking is an excellent way to conserve their nutrients (unless potatoes have sprouted—see section on storage).
- If potatoes are peeled before cooking, use a vegetable peeler. Keep peelings as thin as possible, since some of the potato’s nutrients are found close to the skin.
- Potatoes retain nutrients better if cooked whole. However, they may be halved, sliced, or diced if shorter cooking time is desired.
- Peeled potatoes turn dark if not cooked right away. To prevent this color change, submerge peeled potatoes in water until they’re ready to prepare. Be aware that prolonged soaking of potatoes in cold water is not recommended as it can result in some vitamin loss.
- Cover potatoes in water and boil them in a saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Cook until fork tender.
- Bake potatoes for 45 minutes at 400 F. They can be baked with whatever is in the oven. Adjust the time according to the temperature, which can range from 325–450 degrees Fahrenheit. Pierce the skin of each potato with the tines of a fork before baking to allow steam to escape and prevent the potato from bursting.
- To roast potatoes, chop into evenly sized pieces. Season with oil, herbs, and spices. Roast in oven, on grill, or in air fryer until crispy golden brown.
- Limit high-calorie toppings like butter, sour cream, and cheese. One tablespoon of butter doubles the calories in a baked potato.
- There are many delicious, low-calorie toppings for potatoes:
- Chopped, steamed broccoli with a little shredded cheese
- Seasoned beef/chicken, beans, salsa, and other taco fixings
- Chili and low-fat sour cream
- A mix of parsley, chives, basil, and dill dried herbs
- Chive-spiked Greek yogurt, as a sour cream substitute
- Low-fat cottage cheese
- Mashed avocado
Broccoli Potato Soup
Time: 40 minutes
Yield: 6 servings
- 4 cups low sodium broth (4 cups vegetable or chicken broth or 4 cups of water with 4 bouillon cubes)
- 1¼ pounds white potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-size cubes
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 small carrot, peeled and chopped
- 2 cups broccoli florets (1 cup chopped into bite-size pieces. 1 cup chopped very small.)
- 2 cups low-fat milk
- ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 cup shredded, reduced-fat, sharp cheddar cheese
- Before you begin, wash your hands, surfaces, utensils, and produce.
- In a large saucepan, bring broth to a boil over medium high heat.
- While broth is heating, chop vegetables. Add chopped potatoes, celery, onion, carrot, and 1 cup of bite-size broccoli florets to broth.
- Bring soup to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover the pan, simmer for 20 minutes, and remove soup from the heat.
- Cool soup slightly. In small batches, transfer soup to a blender and blend until smooth. Transfer blended soup to a bowl. Repeat process until all soup is smooth.
- Transfer soup back to saucepan and stir in milk, Italian seasoning, 1 cup finely chopped broccoli, and cheese. Cook on medium heat for 10–15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Tip: Use a towel to hold the top of the blender down to prevent steam from dislodging it.
For information on preserving potatoes, go to ohioline.osu.edu, or contact your local Ohio State University Extension office for the following fact sheets:
- Canning Basics, HYG-5338
- Basics for Canning Vegetables, HYG-5344
- Freezing Vegetables, HYG-5333
- Drying Fruits and Vegetables, HYG-5347
FoodData Central. n.d. U.S. Department of Agriculture (website), accessed July 1, 2021. fdc.nal.usda.gov.
Garden-Robinson, Julie, and Asunta (Susie) Thompson. Potatoes from Garden to Table. Fargo: North Dakota State University (website). Reviewed February 2019. ag.ndsu.edu/publications/food-nutrition/potatoes-from-garden-to-table
Occeña-Po, Lillian. Food Preservation Series: Potato. East Lansing: Michigan State University Extension, 2006. PDF. canr.msu.edu/uploads/files/potatoPreservation.pdf
Ohio Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – Education (SNAP-Ed). n.d. “Broccoli Potato Soup.” Celebrate Your Plate (website). Accessed July 1, 2021. celebrateyourplate.org/recipes/broccoli-potato-soup
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central, 2020. fdc.nal.usda.gov