Yellow-fleshed Yukon Gold potatoes are a great all-purpose potato, suitable for mashing, roasting, boiling, frying, and sauteing. When it comes to texture, these potatoes fall between starchy russets and waxy red potatoes, and they have a naturally buttery flavor. Developed in Ontario, Canada, in the 1960s, Yukon Gold potatoes now grow in other potato-growing regions, including Idaho.
What Is a Yukon Gold Potato?
A Yukon Gold potato is a cross between a wild South American yellow potato and a North American white potato. Other gold-flesh potatoes are generally available from July through April, but Yukon Golds have a shorter availability season, usually from August through February. Their rosy pink eyes distinguish them from other thin-skinned yellow-flesh potatoes. They typically cost a bit more than standard white potatoes, russets, red potatoes, and other common gold potatoes, though generally less than fingerlings and other specialty varieties.
How to Cook With Yukon Gold Potatoes
The thin skin on Yukon Gold potatoes comes off easily, whether you peel them before or after cooking. Leave them in their jackets to bake them or when you steam or boil them for salads, which prevents the fresh from crumbling when you chop or slice them for use in a recipe. You can peel them before you proceed with the recipe, or leave the skin intact for a more rustic—and nutritious—presentation.
Exposure to light turns potatoes green, resulting in bitterness. Solanine causes the discoloration, and it can also lead to intestinal discomfort. When the level of solanine exceeds 0.02 percent, potatoes can become toxic. You can cut off small green areas and use the rest of the potato, but if more than half the flesh looks green, toss it.
What Does It Taste Like?
The concentrated flavor of buttery Yukon Gold potatoes means they taste delicious, even with little seasoning. The flavor may even be described as a bit vegetal and slightly sweet.
Yukon Gold Potato Recipes
The versatility of Yukon Gold potatoes means you can substitute them for nearly any other potato in almost any dish. They hold together like red and other waxy potatoes, making them suitable for salads, but as mashers, they're on par with russets. Choose Yukon Golds when your dish would benefit from the pretty yellow color.
Where to Buy Yukon Gold Potatoes?
You can purchase widely available Yukon Gold potatoes at nearly any grocery store, health food store, or online grocery retailer; look for packaging or signage that specifies Yukon Gold as other varieties of yellow-flesh potatoes may be available. You may see them in packaged in 5 or 10 pound bags, or loose in bulk bins. Select potatoes that feel firm to the touch, with no bruised or bald spots, cuts, sprouts, or green areas. One potato with a soft spot or damaged area hastens the deterioration of the rest. Potatoes grow easily in backyard gardens, too; when you purchase "seeds" from garden centers or online retailers, you receive actual potatoes cultivated specifically as seed potatoes for planting.
Since they have a slightly higher sugar content, gold potatoes do not store as well as russets. They need a cold environment, 40 to 50 F, with an optimum 90 percent humidity. Storage below 33 degrees F turns the starches into sugar.
Store gold potatoes in a paper bag (preferable) or perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator vegetable crisper drawer, away from onions, and use them within several weeks. You can store the potatoes in a well-ventilated cold-storage area such as a root cellar, being careful to protect them from any light source. Do not wash potatoes before you store them as this introduces extra moisture and can hasten rot. Lightly scrub potatoes just prior to using them.
Store leftover cooked potatoes in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to three days. You can freeze mashed gold potatoes in a sealed container with 1/2 inch of head space; for best results, use them within three months. Reheat thawed mashed potatoes in the microwave, or over low heat in a saucepan with 1 to 2 tablespoons of milk or water, while stirring constantly.
Nutrition and Benefits
A half cup serving of cooked Yukon Golds contains no fat, cholesterol, or sodium. For a light 70 calories, you get 3 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber. Keep in mind, though, that added butter, salt, and other seasonings can quickly escalate the fat and calories. With 32 percent per serving, Yukon Golds deliver more vitamin C than standard baking potatoes and are similarly high in potassium. Eat the nutritious and high-in-fiber skin to capture the greatest benefits.