What exactly is a KENNEBEC POTATO?
The Kennebec potato is making quite an imprint on the culinary world... potato-wise. The days
of 'just use any old potato' for french fries are gone, and finer restaurants are switching over to the Kennebec
for a variety of reasons and for many kinds of dishes. Why?
As with all basic food items, the qualities of that particular food are important to how
it is cooked by itself and how it is used with other ingredients in recipes. The Kennebec has great potato
qualities and, though this strain of potato has been around for over 50 years, it's just beginning to get
its due and being noticed by better restauranteurs.
The Kennebec is a large potato, and it looks very pretty with its light tan skin, nice
uniform appearance (it usually doesn't have large 'holes' like many other potatoes), and attractive white fleshy
insides. The skin is thin so it peels quickly (and is fine to use even unpeeled), and it's a nice oval potato
so it is more attractive on the plate than some other irregularly-shaped ones. It is an easily-grown main crop
potato, the plant has a high and dependable yield of large potatoes, it resists blight and other diseases
well, and the potatoes winter very well for a long storage time.
But all that is just the growing, storage and appearance benefits; what about cooking
I have had Kennebec potatoes. They are GOOD. Potatoes, to me, are all about the sauce
or condiment... they don't have much taste to them alone. The Kennebec is the same... but a little MORE. It tastes
very much like a potato; this statement only makes sense when you really try to decide what a potato tastes like.
Some have a very weak, diluted potato taste, some have sweeter or starchier or 'dirt' tastes, but the Kennebec
tastes balanced, just right. The balance of tastes seems like the perfect potato. I can't put it much clearer than
that, except to add they perhaps have a subtle 'nutty' tint to the flavor, that I like very much. Some
potatoes I have a hard time eating after the first bite, unless I add a lot of topping; with the Kenebec it goes
down pretty easy, comparatively. For a potato.
When you add the texture into the mix, it gets better. These potatoes 'hold
together' well when cooked. Some potatoes seem to keep too much firmness after cooking, some potatoes get
all mushy right away, but the Kennebec maintains a stable integrity... you pick up those fries and they like to
hold together, you bake the potato and it's a nice consistency. Mashed, scalloped, potato strings, potato salad,
roasted, baked, hashbrowns and french fries, you have only to search for 'kennebec potato' and you'll see what
restaurants, fish and chip cafes, and chefs are saying about the Kennebec. And it's all good. I haven't found a
negative statement yet. I'm not a potato-lover, but I eat them often and I'm now a fan of the Kennebec.
It is still rare to find this potato type in grocery stores. It is more common for
restaurants to buy them through suppliers as it is becoming a well-known restaurant potato. It's a hardy vegetable
though, it is very easily grown, and you can order seed potatoes ('eyes') online with a few clicks.