True to the “meat and potatoes” adage, potatoes are a staple of the American diet. Even in the times they’ve been maligned with other carbohydrate-rich foods, the starchy vegetable has remained popular; according to the Idaho Potato Commission, the average American consumes 111 pounds of potatoes each year.
From fast-food mega-chains all the way to Michelin-starred, fine-dining establishments, potatoes are a menu all-star. They can stand alone as a snack, appetizer, or side, and can also serve as a base or even garnish. In flour form, potatoes’ starchy composition and relatively neutral flavor profile serve as a strong binding agent for baked goods, as well as a thickener in soups and sauces. This versatility combined with low price points make it a key ingredient for restaurants.
For as hardy as potatoes are, they can be a bit finicky in terms of storage.
Cold temps convert potato starches into sugar, which not only impacts the taste but also makes them brown once cooked.
Humid and dark conditions lead to sprouting.
Too much light turns them green and ramps up glycoalkaloid content, which can be toxic in high quantities.
To keep potatoes tasty and safe, they should be stored in a breathable bag or cardboard box. The best temperature is 44–47 degrees, making cool, dry locations like basements ideal. (Fresh Concepts, LLC / Food Network)
Last year, white potatoes in the U.S. retailed for $0.75 per pound on average. And although prices change weekly, they are expected to continue trending low in 2021. (Statista / Fresh Concepts, LLC)
Peru may be the birthplace of potatoes, but the veggie’s popularity has taken it across the world. For as much as Americans may love potatoes, the U.S. is only the fifth largest producer worldwide. Within the States, Idaho produces the most, accounting for about a third of the domestic yield. (USDA / Statista)
Biggest Potato Producers
From loaded and baked to fried and shredded, the humble potato can be transformed into hundreds of dishes. That’s probably why it shows up on 84 percent of all foodservice menus. (Datassential)
Chandlers Steakhouse & Seafood
Boise, Idaho - In Idaho, the bar is set high for all things potato, but chef Rex Chandler delivers a fresh take on the spud at his steak-and-seafood restaurant. Idaho potato cakes are fried and seasoned with truffle oil, bringing a crisp texture and umami flavor to pan-seared scallops. The dish’s complexity is further enhanced by truffled citrus beurre blanc, shiitake mushrooms, and tomato concasse toppings.
Washington, D.C. - A popular type of Indian chaat, sev batata puri typically features potatoes, onions, tomatoes, green beans, and chutney atop a cracker. In D.C., Rasika lightens up the dish with fresh mango while bringing in global notes through two chutneys. Middle Eastern and African influences play in the date-and-tamarind chutney, and Thai green chili imbues the mint-and-cilantro chutney with heat and Southeast Asian flavor.
Hops & Pie
Denver - Last year Drew and Leah Watson opened Berkeley Donuts within their established pizzeria, Hops & Pie, after becoming smitten with potato-style donuts during a trip to Maine. The Watsons’ recipe combines a nine-year-old sourdough and potato flour to yield a fluffier donut. Flavors range from light and fruity, like lemon poppy seed and watermelon, to decadent and rich, like the Dry Dock Vanilla Porter Coffee Cake.