Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Finnish Cultural Assimilation # 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. That's amazing! I've never tried buying potatoes in bags but this could be really useful.

  2. If you are buying potatoes by the kilo, they usually tell you if it is "kiinteä" or "jauhoinen". (less starch or more starch) Otherwise they tell you the variety. If that is the case, you just have to be a potato expert to know what you are getting. If they are classified as "yleisperuna", pretty much nothing can go wrong, except some of the "yleisperuna" varieties don't work so well if you want to make mashed potatoes.

  3. Well, I'm not very ambitious in cooking - I just always bake them, sometimes they go into moussaka. In any case I haven't noticed any difference, but now I'll try and observe how they behave :)