The skin of a red potato can vary from a dark red hue to a very light pink hue and the flesh from a creamy white to a golden yellow. One notable benefit often called out is the higher antioxidant level provided by the red skin versus russet or white potatoes. The underlying cause of the skin color variations is directly tied to where the potatoes are grown and the soil type. Volcanic soils such as those found in the Pacific Northwest produce very dark reds, while sandy loam such as what is found in Florida produce a lighter pink potato. Most reds are round and typed as waxy, which means more moisture and less starch. This feature makes red potatoes ideal for potato salad dishes, steamed, boiled, or in casseroles and crock pot meals. They’ll remain firm during the cooking process. Their flavor is sweet and robust with a creamy, slightly moist mouth feel.
The most notable growing area for Red potatoes is the Red River Valley, a fertile growing area stretching across North Dakota, Minnesota, and Manitoba, Canada and boasts over 250 potato producing growers. Reds are also important to Wisconsin, Washington, Idaho, Arizona, and California growers.
The most common varieties of red potatoes are Chieftain, Norland, Red La Soda, Klondike Rose®, Pontiac, and Ruby, yet we are seeing many new entrants which are producing beautiful potatoes.