The Russet vs.. The Idaho

My curious mission to decipher the mystery between the Russet potato and the Idaho potato.

You say potato, I say potahto.

I was walking through the grocery store checking off items from my list when I approached the potatoes.  Reviewing the prices I saw that there were 10 pound bags of Russet potatoes and 10 pound bags of Idaho potatoes and all were the same price.  ”So what’s the difference?” I thought to myself…

An Idaho potato is just that; a potato grown in Idaho.  So then what is a Russet?  Turns out a Russet is also grown in Idaho.  The Russet potato was developed and named after Luther Burbank, a horticulturist, who developed this strain of potato by fluke.  He finally managed to market his potato and sold the seeds and his farm in 1875.  His experimental gardens are actually available to tour in Santa Rosa, California.

There are 30 varieties of potato grown in Idaho, but the Russet makes up about 99% of Idaho’s potato crop.

So it appears that a Russet potato is an Idaho potato but an “Idaho” potato could possibly be a variety other than a Russet. Although, the Russet is still referred to as an Idaho.

So, it seems that the potato displays at my local grocer might have been produced by different potato farms.  Thus the difference in packaging.  Maybe one farm thought the name “Idaho” would sell better over the other farm who thought “Russet” made a better potato statement.

In the end, they are all a starchy variety, bake, mash well and fry well.  And, that was exactly what I was looking for.

For more about me and the things I ponder you can find me at I’m a Glass Half Full Gal.

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Published in: Cooking

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  1. Nicely written! Bravo Zulu!

  2. a delightful article about the two forms of pototoes with a nice happy ending. i enjoyed reading it immensely.

  3. I live in the part of New Brunswick, Canada where potatoes are grown everywhere. I loved your article. Very interesting for me.

  4. GOOD JOB!!!

  5. Can’t imagine an article so beautiful can be born by just goin to the grocery and seeing two varieties of potatoes!! I luv ur work!! :)

  6. I learned something new today!

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