Monday, January 22, 2018

"Cooking in Germany" Tip - Potatoes!

There are two different types of potatoes (Kartoffeln) most commonly found in German grocery stores, labeled “mehligkochende” and “festkochende”.
Festkochende Kartoffeln are high moisture potatoes, most similar to American Yukon Gold or chef’s potatoes, and are best for boiling, steaming, braising and stewing (whenever you’re using moisture to cook). The point here is that these potatoes already contain a lot of moisture, so they have a nice even consistency, but they don't fall apart when you cook them in liquid. This is important when you're making soups and stews, as the potatoes will retain their shape and not fall apart, so that your soup is not murky with chunks of potatoes everywhere. They're also great for potato salads for the same reason. These types of potatoes also boast great flavor.
Mehligkochende Kartoffeln are high starch potatoes, most similar to American russet potatoes, and are best for baking, puréeing, and frying. After the potato is cooked, it still maintains a relatively dry interior, so it's very easy to flake it or mash it. For American mashed potatoes, you definitely want that consistency as opposed to wallpaper paste! These starchy, drier potatoes are also great for frying because they spatter much less and, due to less moisture inside, brown even better.

Here's another tip regarding mashed potatoes! If you love making mashed potatoes and do it a lot (or are willing to purchase a useful piece of equipment to make it easier), I highly recommend buying a food mill. This is a light-weight, non-electric, handheld tool that generally comes with 2-3 blade sizes and works for effortlessly making the fluffiest mashed potatoes, but also is great for making your own applesauce, tomato sauce, pureed soups, etc. The beauty of the food mill is, not only do you get a quick, even mill/grate of whatever you're putting through it, but you also get rid of skins and seeds, eliminating the need to peel your potatoes, apples, tomatoes, etc. before cooking them and milling them. This is particularly useful for potatoes as you can help maintain the starches inside if you cook them with the skin on instead of peeling before you boil.

If you're looking for a better selection of potatoes here in Germany, check out the Sunflower Gartenshop...they have an incredible selection of all sorts of types of potatoes that would be fun to try, not to mention other gourmet grocery items and a HUGE garden store with anything you could dream of. Look out for a future blog post on all that they have to offer!

Have a question or need some help cooking here in Germany? Comment below or shoot me an email at!