Activity 2: Types of potato, varieties and cooking methods
This activity is about different types and varieties of potatoes and that they can be prepared and cooked in different ways.
Some potatoes are more suitable for certain dishes than others, because of the way they react when cooked. For this session you will need four to five different varieties of potatoes. Ideally choose varieties that look different from each other and are for different purposes, e.g. baking, mashing. Refer to the Potato types and varieties factsheet for ideas.
Explain to the children that there are lots of different varieties of potatoes. Show the children a selection of different potatoes and ask them to describe the differences and similarities. You could pass the potatoes around so the children can handle them. Make sure the children wash their hands after handling the potatoes. Explain that potato varieties can be grouped into three types. Each type behaves differently when cooked and is good for cooking in different ways. Using the Types of potatoes presentation, explain the three types: fluffy, salad and smooth.
- Fluffy potatoes go crumbly round the edges when cooked. This produces delicious crispy bits when roasted. Fluffy potatoes are also good for making chips and baking as jacket potatoes.
- Salad potatoes keep their shape well, and remain slightly firm when cooked. They are perfect for potato salad and also good for steaming and roasting whole.
- Smooth potatoes soften equally right through when cooked and are the best for mashing. They are also good for boiling, and making wedges.
Ask the children to tell you about meals they have eaten which include potatoes. Make a list of different dishes and meals, which include potatoes. Discuss which types of potatoes could have been used in the dishes they have tried. Discuss the ways potatoes can be cooked, e.g. boiled, roasted, mashed. Discuss how potatoes look before and after they are cooked, e.g. roast potatoes become crispy on the outside and fluffy in the middle.
Ask the children to draw and label some of their favourite potato dishes and meals. Encourage them to make their dishes and meals look as attractive as possible so they will appeal to other people.
More challenge ...
Ask the children to complete Potato types and varieties worksheet using the Potato types and varieties factsheet to help them. Challenge the children to design a poster to show people the different dishes and/or meals they can create with potatoes. Encourage the children to present their work in an attractive way to make their dishes and meals appeal to other people.
Consolidate children’s learning by asking them the following questions:
- What is a fluffy potato?
- What is a salad potato?
- What is a smooth potato?
- What could you make from each type of potato?
- Can you name two varieties of potato?
- What is your favourite potato dish or meal?
- Challenge the children to find out the names of as many different varieties of potatoes as they can. What is the most unusual variety of potato they can find?
- Challenge children to name the best type of potato to use for dishes. Use the Types of potato worksheet to record their answers.
- Give children the Potato varieties worksheet as homework.
- Arrange a local supermarket visit and ask for a manager to be present to talk to the children about the potatoes in the store. Brief the manager on the information the children will find useful, e.g. How many varieties of potato are available from the supermarket? Where are they sourced? Give each of the children a copy of the Shopping trip worksheet. Before they complete this sheet, ensure the children have had a good look around different parts of the supermarket to find meals and dishes made from potatoes. Take some photographs during your supermarket visit and create a display.
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