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Fingerling Potatoes – All You Need to Know | Instacart Guide to Fresh Produce

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Jun 17, 2021

What are fingerling potatoes?

Unlike conventional spuds, fingerling potatoes are heralded for their petite size, tender skins, heirloom origins, and superb flavor. These root vegetables are elongated in appearance, resembling misshapen fingers, hence the name “fingerling potatoes.”

Yet, the small spuds should not be mistaken as baby potatoes. In fact, fingerling potatoes are fully grown fresh produce of heirloom varieties. At grocery stores and farmers’ markets, you may find popular fingerling varieties such as:

  • Ruby crescent (rose-colored skin with yellow flesh)
  • Russian banana (yellow skin and flesh)
  • Purple Peruvian (purple skin and flesh)
  • Red thumb (red skin with pink and white flesh)
  • Rose Finn (rose-colored skin with dark yellow flesh)
  • La Ratte (tan skin with light yellow flesh)
  • Ozette (light golden skin with yellow flesh)

Due to the array of colors that fingerlings come in—white, yellow, golden, red, and purple—they are also given the moniker of “rainbow potatoes.” Want to add some colors to your dishes? Shop fingerling potatoes.

But these root vegetables aren’t just pretty to look at. Their maturity gives them an edge over new potatoes in terms of the flavor profile. Fingerling potatoes range from nutty to slightly sweet and even earthy. Simply put, there’s a fingerling variety for every taste bud.

It may come as a surprise that, unlike regular potatoes, fingerlings are left unpeeled during cooking and eating. That’s because their thin, delicate skins are edible and packed with flavor, too—just remember to scrub off all the dirt before chucking the spuds into your pot or pan. You can roast, saute, boil, steam, grill, fry, or bake these all-purpose potatoes as a side dish, salad, or the main event.

Where did fingerling potatoes originate from?

Fingerling potatoes are considered heirloom vegetables as they are cultivars grown without genetic modifications over many generations. In fact, some fingerling potatoes, like the Rose Finn, are over a hundred years old or more.

When tracing the origins of fingerling potatoes, you’d realize they are as varied as their heirloom heritage. For instance, purple Peruvian, as its name suggests, comes from the Peruvian Andes. Meanwhile, ruby crescent and Russian banana hail from the European region. Not to mention, La Ratte had Swiss Alps roots before being popularized in the U.S.

What is the nutritional value of fingerling potatoes?

On top of being excellent-tasting tubers, fingerling potatoes are highly nutritious root vegetables, too. Aside from being a rich source of vitamin C, these spuds also provide your body with dietary fiber, protein, calcium, and iron.

Different colored varieties also provide specific micronutrients. For example, yellow-skinned fingerlings such as the Russian bananas and Ozettes possess carotenoids—antioxidants that convert into vitamin A in the human body. On the other hand, purple-skinned varieties are rich in anthocyanin—anti-inflammatory flavonoids that fight free radicals.

How are fingerling potatoes grown?

Fingerling potatoes can be planted whole or in small pieces with intact stem bud eyes. They grow best in cool weather conditions without frost and high heat. These tiny tubers also need direct sunlight exposure and moist, fertilized soil.

To achieve their quirky finger-like stature, growers usually crowd the potato plants in double rows. Once the vines die out, the fingerlings are ready for harvest.

When are fingerling potatoes in season?

Just like regular potatoes, fingerling varieties are classified into:

  • Early season: mature between 75 and 90 cool days
  • Mid-season: mature between 90 and 120 cool days
  • Late-season: mature between 120 and 135 cool days

As a result, fresh fingerling potatoes are usually in season from summer to fall at farmers’ markets, specialty stores, and grocery stores. If local stores have stocked up on fingerlings, these spuds may also be available throughout the winter and early spring.

What should I look for when buying fingerling potatoes?

To choose top-quality fingerling potatoes, go for smooth, firm ones. You should also avoid those with:

  • Sprouts or green patches
  • Mushy spots
  • Wrinkled texture

As fingerlings are dug up from the ground, it’s natural for the potato skins to be covered with dirt.

If you’re looking for fresh produce delivery, you can easily shop for fingerling potatoes via Instacart. After adding a product to your cart, use the “Instructions” option to share with your Instacart shopper specific preferences or directions on choosing the best potatoes. Shop for fingerling potatoes.

How to store fingerling potatoes

As fingerling potatoes are more delicate than other varieties, it’s best to use them quickly. To prolong their longevity, wrap them up in dry newspaper layers, paper bags, or mesh bags before storing them in a cool, dark, and well-ventilated area.

How to tell if fingerling potatoes are bad

Usually, fingerling potatoes that are not long for this world will be soft to the touch or smell funky—think a musty odor. There may also be mold growing on the spuds. That said, if your fingerlings have sprouted, they are still edible, provided you remove the shoots and consume the tubers as soon as possible.

What can I substitute for fingerling potatoes?

If you don’t have access to fingerling potatoes right now, you can substitute them with new potatoes or baby potatoes that are similar in size and texture (think smooth and waxy). Need fresh produce delivery for spuds to your doorstep?

These spuds are small but mighty

Yes, fingerling potatoes may be tiny, but boy, do they pack a punch in flavor. These gourmet spuds put a whole new spin on root vegetables with their delectable textures, delicate skins, and delightful appearances.

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