Russet Burbank potato

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Organic russet Burbank potatoes
Idaho russet potatoes

The russet Burbank potato is a large potato cultivar with dark brown skin and few eyes. Its flesh is white, dry, and mealy, and it is good for baking, mashing, and french fries.[1] It is a common and popular potato.[2]


This variety is probably a mutation of the variety "Burbank," which in turn is descended from the "Early Rose" variety, descended from the Irish potato "Ulster Ranger," descended from a South American potato, presumably of Chilean origin, introduced from Panama to the United States in 1850, named "Rough Purple Chile."[3]

To improve the disease resistance of Irish potatoes, Luther Burbank selected the potato that became known as the Burbank. There are also Idaho Russet tubers. It was not patented because plants such as potatoes propagated from tubers, were not granted patents in the United States.[4] The Idaho nickname is after the U.S. state, a leading growing region. In Canada, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and Manitoba produce potatoes.

Varieties with high levels of starch are most suited to baking and mashing.[5] The UK generally uses the 'Maris Piper' variety.[6]

Restaurant use[edit]

Restaurants such as McDonald's use russet potatoes for their size, which produce long pieces suitable for french fries. Presently, McDonald's top supplier uses the russet Burbank.[citation needed] The russet Burbank is more expensive than other potatoes, as it consumes more water and takes longer to mature, while it also requires large amounts of pesticides. Controversy surfaced after research concluded that the potato is treated with amounts of pesticides which are allegedly environmentally toxic; the potatoes also have a short shelf life.[7][8]


  1. ^ Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal. Eric Schlosser, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2001
  2. ^ "Baked". Retrieved 15 April 2013. 
  3. ^ "pedigree image for 'RUSSET BURBANK' (year: 1908) [depth=5]". Potato Pedigree Database. Retrieved 19 November 2010. 
  4. ^ Daniel Kevles (2002). A history of patenting life in the United States with comparative attention to Europe and Canada: a report to the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies. 
  5. ^ "Compare varieties". Retrieved 15 April 2013. 
  6. ^ "Maris Piper". Retrieved 15 April 2013. 
  7. ^ Bruce Watson (23 September 2009). "McDonald's prepares to switch its fries to a greener potato".  External link in |journal= (help)
  8. ^ Emily Main (February 26, 2014). "McDonald's French Fries Are "Toxic Taters," Says New Campaign". Rodale News. Retrieved 20 December 2014.