Potatoes 101

Potatoes in retail

How to select the best potatoes

Look for clean, smooth, firm-textured potatoes with no cuts, bruises or discoloration.

  • Store potatoes in a well-ventilated place, optimally at a temperature between 45º F and 55º F.
  • Colder temperatures (as in a refrigerator) cause a potato's starches to convert to sugar, resulting in a sweet taste and discoloration when cooked. If you refrigerate, letting the potato warm gradually to room temperature before cooking can reduce the discoloration.
  • Avoid areas that reach temperatures (beneath the sink or beside large appliances) or receive too much sunlight (on the countertop near a window).
  • Perforated plastic bags and paper bags offer the best environment for extending shelf life.
  • Keep potatoes out of the light.
  • Don't wash potatoes (or any produce for that matter) before storing. Dampness promotes early spoilage.
  • Green on the skin of a potato is the build-up of a chemical called Solanine. It is a natural reaction to the potato being exposed to too much light. Solanine producers a bitter taste and if eaten in large quantities can cause illness.
  • If there is slight greening, cut away the green portions of the potato skin before cooking and eating.
  • Sprouts are a sign that the potato is trying to grow. Storing potatoes in a cool, dark, dry location that is well ventilated will reduce spoiling.
  • Cut the sprouts away before cooking or eating the potato
Michigan Potato Chip Bag
Michigan is the largest producer of potatoes for potato chips production in the country. In fact, Michigan potatoes fill 1 in 4 bags of potato chips in the US. 

Potatoes in Michigan

  • Michigan ranks eighth in the nation for potato production with more than 47,000 acres dedicated to growing potatoes. 
  • 1.7 billion pounds of potatoes are harvested in Michigan annually. That's a lot of spuds!
  • Michigan is home to over 80 potato growers most of which are multi-generational family farms.
  • The potato industry contributes about $1.24 billion to Michigan’s economy, including more than 3,000 jobs in potato production and processing.

Types of Potatoes


Russet Potatoes

Russet potatoes are characterized by a brown, netted skin and white flesh. Many delicious results can be had from this variety. Russets are perfect for light and fluffy mashed potatoes or traditional crispy, pan-fried potatoes.


Red Potatoes

Red potatoes have skin that is ruby to deep red and is smooth with light brown speckling. The flesh is crisp, white, and firm. When cooked, Red potatoes have a waxy dense texture and a mild, buttery, and earthy flavor that is can be brought out by roasting or grilling.


White Potatoes

White potatoes have thin skin that does not need to be peeled before cooking and are often referred to as the all-purpose potato. White potatoes are best suited for frying, mashing, steaming and boiling, and for making potato salads.


Yellow Potatoes

Yellow Potatoes have a golden color which means that less oil or butter needs to be added making them great for lighter dishes. Their flesh has a buttery flavor and they are used for baking, boiling, roasting, and mashing.