Wednesday, 28 August 2013

When is a "New Potato" not a new potato?

Last weekend I harvested what I think is the last of my New Potatoes. I say "I think..." because I'm conscious that last week I said I had harvested the last of the "Orla" potatoes, yet this weekend I found another pot of them amongst the "Pink Fir Apple" ones. This year I have had something like 35 pots of potatoes, and with them having been planted at different times it is hard to keep track! Anyway, I wanted to harvest some of the PFA ones, just because I was impatient to have some of them to use in the kitchen, so I decided to harvest one pot of them along with the remnants of the "new" potatoes:

In the photo above PFA is on the left, with Ratte in the centre and Orla at the right. Each basket represents the yield from one pot.

Ratte has produced a large number of small, smooth, pear-shaped tubers which have been exceptionally clean. This is popularly reckoned to be a gourmet potato with a strong "chestnutty" flavour, but I didn't think it was particularly impressive.
Orla is a traditional First Early. The tubers are mostly round, and the flesh is very white and light in texture when cooked.

"Pink Fir Apple"
Pink Fir Apple is an early Maincrop variety, usually ready in late Summer. It has an amazingly knobbly structure, making it ugly to look at and practically impossible to peel, but it makes up for these disadvantages by being very tasty. This partcular batch was in a strange sort of way quite uniform:-

The yield from the one pot of PFA was modest for a Maincrop, so I'll be leaving the others to grow on for another two or three weeks at least. Maybe the end of September will be a good time to harvest them.

Now, onto the conundrum mentioned in the title of my post: When is a "New Potato" not a new potato?". Well, I think the answer is "When you have left it too long in the ground" (sounds too obvious, doesn't it?). The batch of Orla I harvested this time illustrates well the point I'm trying to make. Their skins had thickened and gone rough - almost scaly. No longer can they but cooked just as they come out of the ground. They need to be peeled or scraped:

Jane says this one with the snout reminds her of a baby Echidna... (Well, yes, maybe...)

I'll finish my post today on a rather cheesy note. How about this for an "Aaaaah" potato:

Isn't it *lovely*?


  1. Nice crop and thanks for reminder. I need to get mine harvested.

  2. Interesting shapes and colours! We certainly don't get to see such varieties in our part of the world!

  3. I think once you can't rub the skin off a potato it isn't new any more. As for Ratte I'm sure when we grew them they were long and thin.

  4. I thought I might give Ratte a go next year until you said they weren't impressive, they actually look lovely. I still leave those potatoes which look rough or scaly in their skins, I never peel them. They all go down fine. I've grown some Anya for the first time this year and they're aboslutely delicious. They're the offspring of Pink Fir Apple so I might just give some of them a go next year. Thank you so much for the information about your self watering containers. I'm hoping to get some for the greenhouse next year so I'll be reporting back on how they do. They won't have to do very much to be better than my greenhouse tomatoes this year, but more on that in another post.

  5. Ahh...what a softy you are Mark ;D
    I love all the shapes and differences between all the varieties. I fully agree with Jane that particular tatty does indeed look like a baby Echidna!
    I'm thinking about attacking my wasteland...sorry my veggie plot. I'm thinking it might be an ideal to start to plant potatoes. Is it too late? :$
    Enjoy your crop.

    1. Yes, Neesie, it is really too late to plant spuds for this year. You CAN get ones to plant in the Autumn, but I'm not convinced they are worthwhile. Best leave it to next Spring (while you get your veg-patch weeded and dug ready for the new crops!)

  6. I too love the way you show us all the different varieties.I have found seed potatoes to be a bit costly here and we don't get offered too many varieties.They also are not offered early enough because we have to get them in the ground quite early here if it is going to be cool enough and they never have them in the stores when we need them. I could order online but that costs even more. I do love how many potatoes you get from a pot though and still want to try it. By the way I have garden pictures from Lake Lure on my blog if you would like to take a look. Mostly flowers though.

  7. I am returning to your blog after a long time...(busy with work).... And I must say I'm sorry I've been missing out on all your lovely posts. The pictures of your harvests are so good. The veggies look so healthy. Their pictures are a treat for the eyes!


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