Frustration, frustration, frustration is my experience with Mexican potatoes.  Too bad in a country where you can usually count on excellent fruits and vegetables.

OK, I know that potatoes don’t have a long history in Mexico, becoming important only as a result of the Rockefeller program in the 1950s.  OK, I know that Mexican potatoes are white potatoes and thus I can’t expect them to bake well.

But why, oh why, do Mexican potatoes go just as gummy (chicloso) if you boil them or fry them?  I suspect it’s because they have been stored at too high or too low a temperature.

Some are OK.  You can often, but not always detect the decent potatoes because their skin feels silky whereas the bad ones, often not always, tend to feel rough.  As soon as you start peeling the difference is obvious.  The knife does not slide easily through the bad potatoes, the cut surface is slightly rough and slightly watery, sometimes there is brown mottling, and when you sniff it has a strong distinctive smell instead of the light, clean smell of the good ones.  If you cook them, they end up transparent yellowish or black, quite inedible.

And no, this is neither gringa taste nor gringa pickiness.  One friend complained that it didn’t matter whether you bought Mexican potatoes from a tianguis, a supermarket, or a permanent market.  Always the same.  Another said she had given up buying potatoes because throwing half away made it really expensive.  It was the same in Guanajuato as it is in Mexico City. I don’t remember this problem when we came to Mexico over a decade ago.  What has gone wrong?

Any potato experts out there?

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