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BIG Potato Bake-Off: Flavour Favourites Compete

by | Sep 8, 2017 | Food, VIDEOS | 4 comments

Before my husband left on a trip this morning he had already declared he would never, ever, eat the Russian Blue potatoes. They just look too odd to him and even though he loves his spuds he spurned these tasty tubers.

I grew eight kinds of potatoes this year and today – when it was too late to cook and taste and test them all side by side I decided to do a big dig and partial taste test. I say partial because we have already eaten all the Russian Norkatah, and we totally forgot about the Linzer Delicatus and Russian Banana so will have to taste them next time. We pulled the Russian Norkatah when we needed spuds to make Gnocchi a couple of weeks ago. They were big and rough skinned and white inside and I thought they would be good cooked up this way. Inside something. The gnocchi was great but I am not sure it was because of the home-grown spuds or not.

The potatoes included in my big “bake-off” were, clockwise from top left: Warba, French Fingerling, Blue Russian, Seigerlinde, German Butterball and Pink Fir


Warba are early, thin skinned, pink around the eyes and pure white inside. Laurie thought they would be nice with red meat!

So we were gradually working our way through our potatoes, as I said, in no particular order. Earlier in the summer we thought we had eaten all the very early Warba potatoes. These early spuds were ready in the ground in early July when the plants started yellowing and fading from heat. They are super early but only have five or six potatoes in each hill that just keep getting bigger and bigger so it made sense to dig a hill at a time and serve them.

German Butterball potatoes are round,rough skinned, tan-brown on the outside and yellow on the inside. I thought they were yummy. Laurie thought they would be better peeled.

So there I was emptying one of my root pouches yesterday and suddenly I decided to empty them all. Not because I had to. The tops were mostly dead or dying*, mainly from drought and lack of care this season, but they would easily hang out in their bags until I felt like eating them. And then it occurred to me if I emptied what was left in my bags all on one day I could have a big potato taste test with most of the varieties I had planted this spring.* (Note to Julie who followed up with a question via twitter. You do not have to harvest potato plants if they are green and growing in the garden. The longer you leave them to grow the bigger the early ones get and the greater number of  potatoes you’ll get from the late spuds.)

So, my potato tops were all brown and collapsed in my root pouches:  I pulled them and weighed them and baked them and tasted them.

I invited a neighbor to join me for the big taste test and the winner – drumroll please! The French Fingerling!  It has a bright pink exterior colour and holds some colour even when cooked. The interior is yellow and the skin is smooth and  thin but somehow more substantial and chewy than the other varieties. It was just really good. Another friend commented to me that this variety doesn’t store well – they get soft. But she picked hers too early, in August, before the plants died back.The skins were not as tough as they would be if you let the plants die back naturally before harvesting them.

Laurie, my neighbor also loved the Russian blue potato and thought it would be nice with white fish or chicken. The Warba, found in a root pouch even though I forgot I planted it there, was the only pure white potato left in my collection. Laurie thought it might be best with red meat – big steak anyone?

The French Fingerling was our overall favourite for texture and taste and colour and just overall interest. We agreed it would also be nice in a stew because the skin looked like it would hold it’s own under pressure.

Pink Fir were noted for their smooth pink skin, often knobby appearance, yellow flesh and pretty appearance on plate. Almost as good as the French Fingerling!

For more information about the harvest and potato descriptions watch the video I posted on YouTube Here

NEWS Flash!

Even though it wasn’t supposed to be available last year, Dawn & Susan Sharpe grew the really pretty AmaRosa Potato (Pink on the outside and on the inside). It comes out of the ground clean – no obvious signs of scab. Good job guys. Here is the photo of one cut in half that my daughter Chelsie shared with me from the Sharpe’s garden.

scab free potato

Roasted Seiglinde potatoes are tan fingerlings with yellow flesh that have become household favourites for baking and pan frying although in the overall taste test they tasted no more than average compared to the others

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  1. Donna Balzer

    We’ve got to get you out of the kitchen and into the garden more!

  2. Jennie Finch

    Yumy yumy! So amazing! i never seen the purple tomato before!

  3. Donna Balzer

    That is great news Margaret and good for everyone to know: you don’t have to dig potatoes as soon as they die back. In fact the skin toughens and they store better when allowed some “cooling off” time in the soil. I picked a selection of mine because I had time to cook and compare types. And that was fun so thanks for responding!

  4. Margaret

    Yum, yum, yum! I grew potatoes for the first time a couple of years ago and was amazed by how good they were – I really didn’t expect there to be that much of a difference between homegrown and the store bought kind.

    I haven’t dug up my potatoes yet – lack of time, really, as they have all died back. Most of mine are storage types so the few extra weeks in the ground will hopefully mean they keep well.

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