Potatoes are staple food in Germany. You will find it as a side to almost any dish you order in a restaurant. The good news is, it is served a variety of ways.
The most popular being roast potatoes (Bratkartoffelen) and potato salad (Kartoffelsalat).
Facts about potatoes
- Potatoes were introduced to Europe from the Americas in the second half of the 16th century by the Spanish.
- There are more than 5000 varieties available. If you go to any Farmers market or Wochenmarkt you will see a variety of different potatoes, even blue or purple ones.
- The more starch there is in a tuber, the more floury the potato. New potatoes have the lowest starch content at 12 percent whereas the most floury potatoes have 18 percent.
- In Germany you get four basic categories: festkochend (waxy), vorwiegend festkochend (medium waxy), mehlig (mealy) and Frühkartoffeln (new potatoes)
- German stores label potatoes based on these categories with a colored coded strip: green for festkochend, red for vorwiegend festkochend and blue for mehlig.
- Besides categories, there are two more classifications. New Potatoes (Speisefrühkartoffeln) that are harvested before 1 August, and kept for a max of 2 weeks in storage. Speisekartoffeln (harvested after 1 August) and kept for longer periods in storage. The Term Speisekartoffelen is literally Eating potatoes vs those used for seeding.
- Do not buy potatoes that have already sprouted, are rotten or have severe damage.
- If they turn green they might have a slightly bitter taste. You can cut away green parts.
- If they are bought in plastic bags, remove them from the packaging as soon as you get home so that the potatoes can breathe and they do sweat or get rotten.
To make it a bit easier, here is a list of the type of potato you will need for a specific dish
German Potato Salad
The two main recipes are from the North and the South.
The Southern (Swäbisch) recipe is cooked in a broth and served warm, whereas the Northen (Klassiker) recipe is how we know it with mayonnaise.
Here a two recipes you can try out
Der Klassiker: Potato salad with mayonnaise
1 kilogram waxy potatoes
3 hard-boiled eggs
7 tablespoons of mayonnaise
1 tablespoon medium hot mustard
fresh dill, salt, sugar and pepper
Boil the potatoes in salted water.
Cut the peeled potato into thin slices.
Finely dice the onion.
Peel the eggs and cut them into slices.
Cut the pickles into fine slices.
Mix the mayonnaise, mustard and spices into a sauce and pour it over the potatoes.
Make sure that the potato slices have cooled down.
The potato salad should sit for at least 30 minutes.
1 kilogram waxy potatoes (Sieglinde)
4 tablespoons of oil
1 tablespoon of chopped chives
300 ml of hot broth (stock)
3 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons of hot mustard
Salt, sugar and pepper.
Boil the potatoes in salt water for about 20 minutes, then cut into thin slices.
Finely dice the onion, then briefly bring the onion cubes to the boil in the broth.
Remove the broth from the stove and mix with oil, white wine vinegar, mustard and spices.
Pour the warm broth over the potato slices.
Carefully mix the potato slices with the stock and the chives.
The salad should sit for at least an hour, then add seasoning depending on your taste.
You can also add a cucumber, gherkins or radish to the salad as desired.
Recipes translated from Focus
Easy potato salad from Phyllis
Olive oil and a dash of water.
Packet of Knorr Salad Krönung – Dill-Kräuter
Mix mayonnaise, salt, pepper, oil, water and pkt of Knorr Dill-Kräuter in bowl, add diced onions and cubed potatoes (best if slightly warm) and Voila.