New potatoes are in market and nobody can resist at them, as they look so freshly and tasty. Shishtavec in Kukës and Stëbleva, Librazhd, Korça and Pogradec as well are mostly known for the variety of potatoes and their great quality.

New potatoes have thin, wispy skins and a crisp, waxy texture. They are young potatoes and unlike their fully grown counterparts, they keep their shape once cooked and cut. They are also sweeter because their sugar has not yet converted into starch, and are therefore particularly suited to salads.

Albanians generically refer to any small potato as "new," but there's a lot more to it than that. New potatoes are those that have been freshly dug and brought to market without curing. After harvest, most potatoes are stored for up to a couple of weeks to set the peel and heal any nicks or cuts, allowing them to last longer. Without this step, new potatoes are moister and seem sweeter, though with a slight, appealingly minerally bitterness in the finish. Read below advise on how to choose and store new potatoes.

How to choose: The best way to tell truly new potatoes is to rub the skin with your thumb - it should be delicate enough to scrape clean.

How to store: New potatoes can be stored at room temperature, but because they have not been cured, they won't last as long as regular potatoes -- several days instead of several weeks. When refrigerated, the starch will begin to convert to sugar, so if they're chilled for very long they'll taste sweet.

How to prepare: Steam new potatoes in a tightly closed pot until they are tender enough to be pierced with a knife, about 12 minutes. While the potatoes are cooking, beat together 2 tablespoons softened (not melted) butter and some chopped shallots and herbs (parsley and tarragon are particularly good). When the potatoes are cooked but before they cool, toss them in the herb butter and stir to coat well. Serve hot. But you can use them as you like.

Interestingly enough, potatoes are actually low calorie, obviously if they are not deep-fried. One medium-sized baked potato contains only about 110 calories. Potatoes are also a good source of vitamins C and B6, manganese, phosphorus, niacin and pantothenic acid. Fiber and potassium in potatoes can help lower cholesterol, thus lowering the blood pressure. The biggest drawback to potato consumption is the fact that they contain high amount of starchy carbohydrates. These carbohydrates cause blood sugar to surge suddenly and then dip, which means that people become hungry soon after eating, which in turn might lead to overeating. On the other hand the same starch works much like fiber and aids digestion. So moderation is the key./