There are a number of things a person should pay attention to when choosing the best russet potatoes. These root vegetables should be firm and rather heavy for their size and should be free of any discolored or soft spots. They will usually have a few eyes, which is fine as long as the eyes are shallow and have not sprouted. The skin of good russet potatoes is usually textured and may contain some dirt, which does not affect the quality of the potato.
One of the most important things to consider when choosing the best russet potatoes is the texture. When squeezed, russets should be firm and should not have any soft spots on them. Potatoes that feel soft or spongy may be past their prime and could be rotten inside.
The shape of the potato is also important when choosing a good russet potato. These potatoes should be ovular and should taper at the ends quickly so that the majority of the potato has approximately the same diameter. While there is usually nothing wrong with a russet potato that is fat in the middle and skinny on the ends, this shape will make it difficult to cook the potatoes evenly because the skinny sections may be completely cooked while the inside of the fatter sections is still raw. Russet potatoes also come in different sizes, and potatoes of about the same size should be selected when cooking more than one at a time for the same reason.
Russet potatoes should not have many noticeable eyes and should not have any shoots coming off of them. The eyes on this type of potato should be shallow and, on a good potato, appear only as a slight indentation. Deep eyes should be cut out of potatoes before they are used because the shoots that develop in these eyes are not edible. The presence of a handful of shallow eyes, will not, however, affect the flavor of the potato, and these eyes can be ignored.
The quality of the skin of a russet potato should also be examined before choosing one. The skin should be a motley, medium shade of brown and should not have any black, green, or otherwise discolored spots. It should be slightly rough to the touch and may be a little dirty. Though they should not be washed if they are going to be stored, any dirt on the outside of a potato can be easily scrubbed off just before the potato is cooked.