Potato Tasting Notes

In 2009, 2010 and 2011, we planted over 200 potatoes at the bottom of the garden, from Thompson & Morgan's potato catalogue. Before that we had planted seed potatoes from local garden centres, but the choice was limited and some years the shelves were bare when we went shopping.

This year we decided to give the garden centre a try again. Sadly, we weren't able to buy any Dunluce, our favourite variety, but we are tring some varieties that are new to our garden.

As an experiment, we bought some supermarket Rooster potatoes, used the large ones for cooking, and put the small ones on the windowsill to see if they would sprout. So far, so good: they are chitting well.

Although potatoes grow well in our garden, it is a bit shady at the bottom so the tubers themselves never grow huge. Whether the varieties are ostensibly maincrop or earlies, we nearly always get new-potato-sized potatoes. So we still occasionally buy supermarket Maris Pipers for chips and King Edwards for roasts, but once our own potatoes are ready the taste is so much better.

Whatever the make we usually cook garden-grown potatoes the same way: scrub them, parboil them in their skins to remove any last bits of soil and then steam them.

Variety Tasting Notes
Red King Edwards Good yield of good-sized potatoes in 2009. Very like normal King Edwards, so we didn't plant any in 2010. However, a fair number came up anyway.
Rooster Good yield of red-skinned potatoes with a curious mottled texture, and an excellent taste. Again we didn't plant any in 2010 as they are readily available in supermarkets, but the tubers we missed in 2009 provided a good crop in 2010. T & M had Roosters on special offer in 2011, so we planted some: an excellent crop of potatoes large enough to use for chips, which were wonderful every time.
Dunluce Our favourite of the non-supermarket potatoes. Great taste and a good yield of good-sized potatoes. We usually grow them every year.
Mayan Twilight Disappointing. A poor yield of small red and yellow potatoes that burst when cooked.
Mayan Gold A good yield of great-tasting yellow-fleshed potatoes. They do tend to burst when cooked, and so don't look wonderful when served. Planted again in 2011, and gave a good crop just before Christmas despite being left in the ground for a long time.
Mayan Queen A good yield of tasty potatoes. As with Mayan Gold, they tend to burst; Mayan Gold has a better flavour.
British Queen Gave a good yield in 2009, but for some reason failed almost completely in 2010.
Arran Victory Good yield of tasty purple-skinned potatoes, which keep their colour if steamed. We haven't planted any for several years, but always get a good crop anyway.
Red Duke of York Very like Array Victory except they are bright red. A combination of the two looks great when served. Unfortunately, we forgot to order some for 2010. A fairly good crop in 2011.
Ratte Very good yield of small, neat potatoes with a good taste. Given the hype surrounding this variety, we were expecting a Wow! response. Not quite that good, but pleasant nonetheless. Another variety that comes up again and again.
Belle de Fontenay These were still in the ground when we had our first snow in late 2010, so it was New Year before we were able to dig them up but this did not seem to affect them. A good yield of smooth, pale yellow tubers. Although we didn't plant them again in 2011. we still got a good crop from the previous year's missed tubers.
Blue Danube Good yield of purple-skinned tubers with floury white flesh. Pleasant taste but not exceptional.
Casablanca New to our garden in 2011: a small crop of small, cream-coloured potatoes. They occupied the same plot as we used for Arran Victory in 2010, and were outnumbered by Arran Victory potatoes from tubers we missed last year. Pleasant enough, but not worth growing again.
Maris Peer New to our garden in 2011: a very good crop of large, attractive, cream-coloured potatoes. Normally, our potatoes are too small to roast but these were an exception. A variety we are growing again this year.
Congo We wanted to try Highland Burgundy and so ordered some mini-tubers from T & M. They did not have any and sent us Congo mini-tubers instead. These sat on the windowsill for a month without producing any shoots. So we put them in pots to see if that would encourage them. Eventually, three plants came up so we planted them out. They grew into quite bushy plants, but when we harvested them they had produced no potatoes at all.

One of last year's Rooster plants produced two fruits. Looking like mottled tomatoes, these are apparently highly toxic. However, we planted the seeds in seed trays and a large number of seedlings came up. Unfortunately, overwintering them indoors was not a success, so this year if we get any more fruits we'll keep them until spring.