Potatoes are available year-round but are widely used in autumn and winter cooking.
Potatoes come in two main varieties: starchy, which become light and fluffy when cooked, or waxy, which are ideal for roasting or boiling for potato salads. Choose firm specimens that are not blemished, wrinkled, tinged with green or cracked. The buds, commonly called eyes, of the potatoes should not have sprouted.
Potatoes are used both peeled and unpeeled. Whether or not you peel the potatoes, scrub them well with a stiff brush under cold running water to remove any dirt. If baking, prick the skins in a few places with a fork. If peeling, use a potato peeler, cutting out the eyes with a paring knife or the tip of the peeler, if necessary. If the flesh is tinged with green spots, be sure to pare away all traces of them, as they will taste bitter.
Store potatoes in a cool, dark place with good air circulation for up to 2 weeks. Do not refrigerate and do not store in the same bin with onions. These vegetables together produce gases that cause rapid spoilage. New potatoes have a much shorter shelf life than other potatoes. To make the most of their fresh, sweet flavour and texture, use them within 2 or 3 days of purchase.