The Difference Between Yukon Gold And Yukon Gem Potatoes

As all couch potatoes know from incessantly watching the History Channel, the potato was first cultivated in the mountains of Peru around 8000 B.C. by the Incas. After the Spanish conquistadors conquered them in the 16th century, they then brought this flavorful crop back to Europe (per Love Potatoes). However, potatoes were first introduced in the U.S. when Thomas Jefferson served them in the White House during his presidency, according to Potato Goodness. Additionally, the potato became a necessity on extended trips to outer space once experts realized it was the first vegetable that could sprout in space (via Simple Happy Kitchen).

Nowadays, there are so many varieties of potatoes, and it continues to be one of the most important food crops in the world. Russet potatoes, yellow potatoes, sweet potatoes, and fingerling potatoes, to name a few, are all available in most grocery stores, each having its own unique taste and appearance. And while we obviously can see with our own eyes the difference between white and red potatoes, distinguishing those within the yellow group is much harder for the average shopper.

The differences may be subtle for the consumer, but not the grower

Yukon gem is a variety similar to Yukon gold but considered more immune to disease and generates a better payout (via Spudman). Yukon gold is a mix of North American white and South American yellow potatoes (per Food and Fizz). In fact, it was named after the Yukon River in Canada, according to Idaho Potato. Nevertheless, the gem is a hybrid of gold and Brodick potatoes (via Spudman). The differences between the two are very subtle for the consumer but more pronounced for growers. 

In terms of appearance, they both have yellow, waxy skin. Yukon gold, however, tends to be more round in shape, whereas Yukon gem can be oval — yet again, very similar. Despite preference, the taste was also alike to one another (per North Dakota State University). For growers, on the other hand, the contrast is more apparent. Yukon gem is seen as the improved version of the Yukon gold due to its hardiness and resistance to plant diseases, like blight, as per CBC News. Therefore, the distinct choice between the two is simple for gardens and producers. In fact, because of their greater disease resistance, gems seeds may be more in demand than gold. Additionally, the Yukon gem is considered easier to grow with higher yields. All in all, both are excellent for a variety of recipes, including salads (via Idaho Potato).