Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Finnish Cultural Assimilation Lesson # 23.6 - Decoding Finnish potato bags

If you have recently moved to Finland you will have noticed that most Finnish supermarkets carry a wide variety of potatoes. They are either sold loose or prepackaged in color-coded plastic bags.

If you don't speak Finnish yet you may have a hard time cracking the code which determines which bag of potatoes is most suitable for your purposes. With a bit of work on your part, this lesson will assist you with all of your potato shopping needs.

There is a Finnish standard potato bag color code which is in use by Finnish grocery retailers. The colors used in this system are green, yellow, and red.

Chart describing (In Finnish and Swedish) the 3 basic Finnish potato categories

Potatoes found in a green bag are kiinteä, in other words, they are more firm. This basically means that they have less starch than the potatoes that are packaged in yellow or red bags. Potatoes classified as kiinteä are suitable for salads, boiling, for use in soups where you would like them to keep from breaking down, and also for pan frying. You can also use them in casseroles and they can be grated and fried if you want to make hash browns. Popular varieties of kiinteä potatoes in Finland are Siikli, Hankkijan Timo, and Nicola.

Potatoes found in the red bag are jauhoinen, which means that they are less firm than kiinteä potatoes when cooked. They have a higher starch content, which makes them desirable to use when preparing mashed potatoes,puréed soups, and baked potatoes. They also work well for baking recipes that require potatoes. Popular varieties of jauhoinen potatoes sold in Finland are Pito, Puikula, and Rosamunda.

Potatoes in the yellow bag are described in Finnish as Yleisperuna, meaning that they are a good potato for general use. They have a higher starch content than kiinteä, but not as high as jauhoinen potatoes have. They can be boiled, used in soups, casseroles, and baked as wedges. They can also be used for hashbrowns and baked potatoes. Common yleisperuna varieties in Finland are Van Gogh, Amazone, and Matilda.


  1. Great tip Willi.

    For all Italians reading this, or those who love Italian food (well, who doesn’t?), jauhoinen potatoes are great for home made gnocchi.

  2. you know, it took me 2.5 years to work this out! *blush*

  3. Speak Finnish? Hell, I pretty much butcher English, piece of crap that it is.

    I'm under the assumption that Finland is a decent place to live, but can't judge for myself never having been there.

    Anyway, just dropped by to check your blog out. Bill

  4. This is the first I've heard of classifying potatos according to starch content and use. Considering how many types they grow in Finland, it makes sense.

    A cousin brought back some blue ones and was growing them for awhile.

  5. Before I figured which potatoes are good for what purpose I on one occasion made mashed potatoes that would have been perfect for attaching tiles to the floor. They were loose potatoes a bin, I can't remember which variety they were, but you can bet that after that I became somewhat of a potato expert. My favorites are siikli and puikula. For new potatoes the Timo variety is hard to beat.

  6. I have also got The Wrong Spuds on more than one occasion. But hopefully this year my sweet perunalaatikko will be perfect, thanks.

    I grow my own but it is difficult to find seed potatoes for some of the varieties. Most of the garden centres only sell Timo, Sikli and Rosamunda :-(