Potatoes – Which ones to grow and how to cook them.
This season I have harvest several great crops of potatoes.
I love to grow potatoes as they are so productive and their nutritional value is fabulous. Here is a simple diagram that lets you know what your average potato contains.
I usually plant a number of varieties, based on what I know grows well here, but always try a new variety each year just to see how they compare with the tried and tested varieties.
This year I planted my old favourites Pontiacs, Sebago, Desiree and Kipfler and also tried two new varieties Kestral and Dutch Creams. The Pontiacs, Sebago and Desire are good all-purpose varieties whilst I think Kipfler are the best potato to use in salads and I am just loving the Dutch creams mashed.
I mostly purchased the packets of seed potatoes from either in the local hardware store or nursery.
There are a couple of things I always do:
Buy certified seed potatoes. Living in a potato growing area I want to make sure I don’t introduce any diseases from other areas. Starting out with what I know are disease free potatoes almost guarantees there will be no problems.
Plant them in a different spot each year. This reduces the chance of soil borne diseases accumulating in the soil and infecting subsequent crops. This can be a bit hard if you have limited space so do some research and find different methods of growing spuds that are soilless.
Having said that I often have what I call “wild” potatoes coming up in the same place each year and they never seem to have any problems. Wild potatoes are those sneaky little ones that somehow you missed when you were harvesting the crop and they regrow the following season. Often this can go on for years always missing just one or two small tubers – they can become quite weedy. However I let them grow, mulch and mound them up because I like the idea of free food.
After I harvest my crops I place them in closely woven hessian bags and hang them in the corner of the garage where it is dark and cool. Potatoes will sprout if they are stored in a warm spot and go green if exposed to light.
Whilst I am reasonably familiar with what potato to use for different cooking methods I sometimes need reminding. There is lots of information on the internet, but trying to find something simple and visual, that covered the varieties that I grow, was proving difficult.
So I asked the fabulous Emma Wright from EM Designs to develop an info graph I can put on my fridge that at a glance will tell me which potato to get for what I want to cook.
I would like to share it with you – click here to download!
So feel free to print it off or if you have different varieties try and make one up yourself. If you have this information on hand and easy to understand you will always be cooking the different varieties in a way that will give the best result.