Idaho and Russet potatoes are two popular varieties you’ll find in the supermarkets. Many people call Russet potatoes Idaho, causing some to ask if they’re the same. Let’s answer, are Idaho and Russet potatoes the same?
Idaho and Russet potatoes are not the same. Idaho potatoes refer to any potato variety grown in the State of Idaho and nowhere else. Russet potatoes are a potato variety which can be grown anywhere including Idaho. Popular Idaho varieties include Russet, Yukon Gold, Reds and Fingerlings.
This means that Idaho potatoes can be Idaho Russet potatoes, but not all Russet potatoes are Idaho potatoes. Some Russet potatoes can be grown in other States. In this article, we’ll examine their tastes, textures, what they can be used for, nutrients and costs.
Disclaimer: Some links in this article are affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
What Kind of Potato is an Idaho Potato?
Idaho potatoes refer to 30 different potato varieties grown in the State of Idaho. Idaho potatoes are certified with the “Idaho Potato” or the “Grown In Idaho” seal which can be found on the packaging. The seal ensures consumers are purchasing potatoes grown only in Idaho.
The following are the most popular potato varieties grown in Idaho known as Idaho Potatoes:
- All Blue
- Alturas Russet
- Ama Rosa
- Bannock Russet
- Blazer Russet
- Cal Red
- Classic Russet
- Clearwater Russet
- French Fingerling
- Huckleberry Gold
- Ida Rose
- Premier Russet
- Purple Passion
- Purple Peruvian
- Ranger Russet
- Red La Soda
- Red Thumb Fingerling
- Ruby Crescent
- Russet Burbank
- Russet Norkotah
- Russian Banana
- Terra Rosa
- Umatilla Russet
- Western Russet
- Yellow Finn
- Yukon Gem
- Yukon Gold
All the potatoes exported from Idaho farms are labeled with a federally reserved certification mark indicating the potato was grown in Idaho. The marks include the phrases “Idaho Potato” or “Grown in Idaho” with a registered trademark symbol.
The purpose of the certifications is to protect the Idaho Potato brand, which is one of the leading drivers of the economy in Idaho and an integral part of United States farming and food production. The certification marks belong to the Idaho Potato Commission.
Why are Idaho Potatoes the Best?
Idaho potatoes are the best due to Idaho’s environment perfect for potato growing. The air and water are clean, and the climate is chilly. The days are warm and the nights are cool. The soil has rich volcanic residue since the area is surrounded by mountains providing ideal irrigation.
Idaho is known as the potato capital of the United States.
Every year, nearly 30% of potatoes in the United States are grown in Idaho, which averages to about 13 billion pounds. The first potato crops were brought to Idaho in the 1830s by a missionary named Henry Spalding.
Most Idaho potatoes are grown in Eastern Idaho where there’s the most room and best soil for the potatoes to thrive. It’s one of the biggest potato-growing areas in the world.
The most popular potato grown in Idaho is in fact a russet potato, which is the most well-known potato variety. Besides the russet, there are other varieties of potato grown in Idaho. This is why the Russet potatoes grown in Idaho are trademarked Idaho potatoes.
However, not every russet potato is an Idaho potato.
What is a Russet Potato?
Russet potatoes are also commonly known as the Russet Burbank or a Burbank potato. The variety was developed by Luther Burbank in Massachusetts in the late 1800s. It was actually developed accidentally when Burbank used a cultivar while growing potatoes.
The russet potato is one of the most easily identifiable potatoes. It’s usually in an oval shape with rough brown skin, which is the type of potato french fries, mashed potatoes and baked potatoes are cooked from. They aren’t commonly used to make potato chips, however.
Russet potatoes are high in vitamins B6 and C, carbohydrates and starch. They are also high in potassium. They’re naturally low in sodium and saturated fats but hold on to a lot of salt when cooked.
The russet potato is one of the most common types of Idaho potato.
You can confirm a russet potato is from Idaho by checking for the trademark in your local grocery store or farmers’ market. If your potato doesn’t say it’s from Idaho, it’s not an Idaho russet potato. More than likely, that particular Russet was grown in another State.
The Difference Between Idaho Russet Potatoes and Russet Potatoes
Idaho Russet potatoes are Russet potatoes grown in the State of Idaho. A Russet potato can be grown in Idaho or in another state.
Essentially, there’s not a difference between the potatoes because they can be the same thing. Idaho potatoes simply mean the potato was grown in Idaho, which encompasses any Russet potato grown in the state.
Russet potatoes actually make up about 81% of all harvested Idaho potatoes every year.
There are multiple types of Russet potatoes harvested each year inside and outside of Idaho. Some Russet varieties include Burbanks, Norkotas and Ranger Russets. Russet Burbanks are the most popular, which we discussed previously as they’re named after the founder Luther Burbank.
Find out how plantains and potatoes compared in taste and texture in my article, Plantain vs Potato – Which is Better? Let’s Compare.
Why Idaho Russet Potatoes Taste Better
Russet potatoes not grown in Idaho may not be of the same quality as the ones grown in the state. This has to do with the climate and soil of the individual farm or region. Russet potatoes from Idaho tend to taste better, which is why so many shoppers opt for them over other brands.
As we mentioned previously, the soil in Idaho’s potato farming region contains leftover volcanic material due to the mountainous region surrounding it. Furthermore, the air is warm during the day and cool at night, which is the ideal growing temperature for potatoes.
When potatoes are exposed to too much cold air, they begin producing sugar which changes the taste. This is why your potatoes may taste too sweet sometimes. On the contrary, too much cold air isn’t good for any type of crop.
A potato crop might fail if the weather is exceptionally cold for the season. Russet potatoes and other varieties should ideally be kept in temperatures between 55℉ and 60℉.
Find out how potato and rice nutritional values compared in my article, Potato vs. Rice Nutrition: Which is Better?
Idaho Russet Potatoes Taste and Texture
Idaho Russet potatoes taste more starchy and are low in moisture content. They have a mild, neutral flavor which is unsweet. The flesh is creamy while the skin is thicker and tougher to bite through.
This makes them taste so good compared to other potatoes. These qualities also improve their cookability, which is why Idaho russet potatoes are often used for favorite potato dishes like mashed potatoes, french fries, baked potatoes, or even scalloped potatoes.
I was interested in finding out how many people preferred the taste of Idaho Russet potatoes to Russet potatoes. I decided to conduct a poll of readers, clients and people from some food groups I belong to.
I asked the question, do you prefer the taste of Idaho Russet potatoes or Russet potatoes grown elsewhere?
- 85% said they preferred the taste of Idaho Russet Potatoes
- 12% said they preferred the taste of Russet potatoes
- 3% said they had no preference.
Idaho Russet Potatoes and Russet Potatoes Costs
With the rising prices of food, the cost of potatoes certainly matters to most people. The price may sway your decision about which potato to use. Therefore, which costs more, Idaho Russet potatoes or Russet potatoes?
Idaho Russet potatoes costs more than Russet potatoes. Russet potatoes average cost is $0.99 per pound for loose, large potatoes. Idaho Russet potatoes cost $1.49 per pound.
I checked Shoprite supermarket for the prices of Idaho Russet and Russet potatoes but only found Russet:
- Russet potatoes
- $0.99 per pound
I also checked Walmart for Idaho Russet and Russet potato prices:
- Russet potatoes
- $0.98 per pound
- Organic Idaho Russet potatoes
- $1.49 per pound
I then checked Stop & Shop:
- Russet potatoes
- $0.69 per pound
Russets are easy to find on Amazon. Check their variety and current price, potatoes.
Find out how turnips compared to potatoes in my article, Turnip vs. Potato: What’s The Difference? Let’s Compare.
How to Store Idaho Russet Potatoes and Russet Potatoes
How to properly store potatoes may make a difference when choosing one over the other. If you have both and routinely buy one or the other, you’ll want to know how to store them for longevity and quality.
Therefore, how do you store Idaho Russet potatoes or Russet potatoes?
Store Idaho Russet potatoes or Russet potatoes the same way, in a dark place away from heat. Both Russet potatoes should be kept out of the refrigerator. A humid basement is the best area. They should be kept in a burlap bag, basket or ventilated container and stored between 55°F and 60°F.
Storing potatoes in a refrigerator can change the cell structure, make the center of the potato hard and diminish the flavor. If you don’t have a cool basement, be sure to store them in a ventilated place, away from heat and light.
Find out how Russet potatoes compared to red potatoes in my article, Red Potatoes vs Russet Potatoes: The Differences.
Alternatives to Idaho Russet Potatoes and Russet Potatoes
Due to a low-carb diet, most potatoes are off the menu because they are almost pure starch. While most people doing this type of diet swear by cauliflower as a perfect substitute for potatoes, it doesn’t have the same consistency and can be a disappointing experience.
Here are some better alternatives for Russet or Idaho potatoes:
- Daikon radish
- Celery root
Many of these can be used as fries or in dishes like Au gratin or scalloped “potatoes.” But if you want something to replace mashed potatoes, you might try parsnips, which are related to carrots.
If you’re looking for potatoes to use as an alternative to Idaho or Russet potatoes, here’s some Idaho potato Alternatives:
- The same potato variety but not grown in Idaho.
- Red Bliss potatoes
- Inca Gold potatoes
- Fingerlings potatoes
- Katahdin potatoes
- Carola potatoes
- Dutch Cream potatoes
- Russet potatoes
If you’re interested about how sweet potatoes held up against pumpkin for health and nutrition, check out my article, Pumpkin vs Sweet Potato: A Complete Comparison.
Idaho Potatoes and Russet Potatoes Glycemic Index
Knowing the glycemic index of potatoes is important especially if blood sugar levels are a concern. Blood sugar levels are an important thing people should be aware of, diabetic or not.
The Glycemic Index (GI) is a scale measuring how fast a particular food raises the blood sugar in the blood 1. High blood sugar can lead to health complications with the kidneys, nerves, heart and eyes 2.
Foods on the GI scale are categorized as:
- Low-GI foods: 55 or under
- Medium-GI foods: 56-69
- High-GI foods: 70 or over
How blood sugars levels are affected:
- Foods with a glycemic index 70 or more cause a more quicker spike in blood sugar levels.
- Foods with a glycemic index 56 to 69 cause a moderate spike in blood sugar levels.
- Foods with a glycemic index 55 or less cause a slow spike in blood sugar levels.
Now we know what GI is, and how it affects blood sugar, let’s answer, does Idaho Russet potatoes or Russet potatoes have a higher GI?
Idaho Russet potatoes and Russet potatoes have a similar medium to high GI depending on the cooking method used. A boiled russet potato has a GI of 54, and a baked russet potato has a GI of 111.
Not every white potato has an equal GI. Idaho, Russet and other white potatoes all have different GI scores. In addition to how a potato is cooked, the heat of the potato when eaten affects the GI.
A study published in the Journal of the Diabetic Association found boiled potatoes eaten cold had a GI score of 56. When eaten hot the boiled potato had a GI score of 89 3.
Idaho Russet and Russet Potatoes Nutritional Values
The following table is a side-by-side comparison of the nutrients contained in Idaho Russet potatoes and Russet potatoes:
|Idaho Russet Potato Raw (100 g)||Russet Potato Raw (100 g)|
|Protein||2.03 g||2.14 g|
|Carbohydrates||17.6 g||18.1 g|
|Fiber||1.4 g||1.3 g|
|Fat||0.05 g||0.08 g|
|Sugar||0.68 g||0.62 g|
|Vitamin A||0 IU||1 IU|
|Beta-carotene||0 mcg||0 mcg|
|Vitamin C||18.2 mg||5.7 mg|
|Vitamin B6||0.13 mg||0.34 mg|
|Vitamin B9 (Folate)||11 mcg||14 mcg|
|Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)||0.07 mg||0.08 mg|
|Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)||0.02 mg||0.03 mg|
|Vitamin B3 (Niacin)||1.08 mg||1.04 mg|
|Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)||0.3 mg||0.3 mg|
|Magnesium||16 mg||23 mg|
|Phosphorous||41 mg||55 mg|
|Potassium||419 mg||417 mg|
|Iron||0.73 mg||0.86 mg|
|Copper||0.05 mg||0.10 mg|
|Calcium||14 mg||13 mg|
|Zinc||0.2 mg||0.3 mg|
|Manganese||0.15 mg||0.15 mg|
Both of these Russet potatoes provide a variety of minerals and vitamins. At first glance it may be difficult to determine which potato is healthier. Let’s answer, what’s healthier, Idaho Russet Potatoes or Russet potatoes?
Idaho Russet potatoes are healthier than Russet potatoes due to its higher percentage of vitamin C. Idaho Russet potatoes contains 220% more vitamin C per 100 grams than Russet potatoes. Idaho Russet provides 18.2 mg of vitamin C per 100 grams, and Russet potatoes provide 5.7 mg.
The vitamin C is what gives the Idaho Russet potato the slight edge over the Russet potato. All the other vitamins and minerals are very similar between the two potatoes, and most people can’t go wrong choosing either one.
If you want to try a low-carb diet, you may want to look for alternatives to potatoes altogether.
Keto Bread Tip: Great News! Did you know, you don’t have to give up your favorite bread, pizza or sandwiches to follow a 100% Keto diet. Find out more in the KetoBreads website by clicking here, Keto Breads.
Find out how white sweet potatoes compared to sweet potatoes in my article, White Sweet Potato vs. Sweet Potato: What’s The Difference?
Health Benefits of Idaho Potatoes and Russet Potatoes
Idaho Russet potatoes provide 419 mg of potassium and Russet potatoes 417 mg. Potassium helps the body get rid of excess sodium reducing fluid build-up. These help keep systolic and diastolic blood pressure lower 8.
According to Harvard Health, a number of studies have shown a connection between low potassium levels and high blood pressure 9. The more potassium, the more sodium your body will lose.
Consuming too much sodium or not enough potassium throws off the delicate balance the kidneys need to remove the excess water 10.
Fiber for Digestion and Gut Health
Russet potatoes and Idaho Russet potatoes both contain fiber. Fiber remains in the digestive tract and provides gut related health benefits. Fiber rich diets have been linked to regular bowel movements and a lower risk of colon cancer 11.
Idaho Russets contain 18.2 mg of vitamin C per 100 grams and Russets 5.7 mg. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant and helps with the following:
- Prevent damage to cells.
- Increases iron absorption.
- Collagen production.
- May help boost the immune system.
- Help heal wounds.
- Help maintain healthy gums.
The B vitamins provided by Idaho and Russet potatoes include the following:
- B1 (thiamin)
- B2 (riboflavin)
- B3 (niacin)
- B9 (folate)
B vitamins help support the following:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Red blood cells.
- Energy levels.
- Brain function.
- Nerve function.
A lack of B vitamins has been associated with oxidative stress and neural inflammation. In a study released in 2018 32 healthy adults were given B vitamin supplementation for six months. The results indicated preliminary evidence B vitamin supplementation reduced oxidative stress and inflammation 12.
Wrapping Up The Idaho and Russet Potatoes
Potatoes come in countless varieties. Some potato names we hear of often are russet potatoes and Idaho potatoes.
In this article, we learned that russet potatoes and Idaho potatoes aren’t different varieties, but that Idaho potatoes include any potatoes grown in Idaho, including some russet potatoes, and are federally labeled by the Idaho Potato Commission.
Therefore, not all russet potatoes are Idaho potatoes, but russet potatoes do make up a large population of the potatoes grown and exported from Idaho.
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