Real Men Sow

What Potatoes To Grow: My Favourite Salad, Mashers, Bakers, Roasters and Chippers.

Posted on by in plot 150b with 3 Comments

pinkfir

You can’t get much more of an allotment staple than the faithful potato. Low maintenance, high cropping and versatile in the kitchen, we love them.

It’s estimated that the average person in Britain eats nearly 100kg of potatoes a year, whether crisped, chipped, roasted, baked, mashed or boiled.

Choosing a potato to grow can be a bit of a minefield. After all, there are over 80 different varieties available in our shops today. So what makes a good chipper over a good masher?

I don’t reckon anyone could possibly have tried all 80 varieties, but I’ve had a good go at a few over the last 7 or so years of growing veg. Here are my favourite salad, mashers, bakers, roasters and chippers.

Favourite Salads
Up until 2012, I’d never grown Pink Fir Apple, but now I wouldn’t be without them. Boiled, this waxy potato is cracking in a salad, hot or cold. The keep for ages too, and are also incredibly productive – just a small row will provide a sackful of these nobbly pink tubers.

And you can’t not grow International Kidney. International Kidney is the variety used for the famous ‘Jersey Royal’, and we all love them, don’t we? Grown as an early, International Kidney provides a beautiful, waxy salad potato. Productive in containers or bags too.

Favourite Mashers
You need a smooth potato variety for mashing, and all rounder Desiree is perfect (and Delia Smith’s favourite potato, no less). I like Marfona too – I grew this potato in my first year on the allotment and noticed that they carried an almost buttery taste, which really lent itself to a good mash.

Favourite Bakers
A couple of years back, I told allotment head honcho and sort-of-shop manager Ron that I wanted to grow some potatoes that were fit for baking. He recommended Estima, suggesting growing half as earlies, and then leaving the rest in the ground to swell up. Ron was right too, and I harvested some real specimens.

I’ve found Ambo good too. My organic farmer friend Sarah grows Ambo for her bakers, and sold me the biggest potato I’ve ever seen at the local farmer’s market.

Favourite Roaster
I don’t know anyone who hasn’t grown the ever popular King Edward once upon a time. They’re high croppers, reliable as well as being a classic roastie variety due to their fluffy flesh. Being a late maincrop, they’re also a regular on the Christmas dinner menu.

I picked up some Cara from the allotment shop last year, as my plot neighbour swore by them. They’re smaller than King Edwards, but still made a very tasty roast potato, as well as a good chip.

Favourite Chippers
I’m a real sucker for a homemade wedge, and for me, you can’t beat a good old Maris Piper. The combination of golden skin, creamy white flesh and fluffy texture makes them perfect for chips. The plants flower a purple colour, making them an attractive choice to grow too.

Golden Wonder is another super chipper I discovered, albeit by accident. I grew these one year for the novelty factor after I found out that the crisp brand was named after this potato. Like the Maris Piper, Golden Wonder has the all important fluffy texture which every chip needs.

Best All Rounder?
If space is tight, then I’d definitely recommend going for an all-rounder like King Edward. Although a smashing roaster, this awesome potato will happily be chipped, baked or mashed with equally delicious results.

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3 Comments

  1. Lucy CorramderMarch 6, 2014 at 2:14 pmReply

    I wish I liked Fir Apple because they look interesting but baked potatoes are my favourite so, if I had an allotment, I’d have to go with King Edwards.
    This next is a shamefacedly copy and paste comment. (I’m doing a last minute rush around to people who might be interested.)
    Have you thought about following a tree with Loose and Leafy this year? There’s information here http://tinyurl.com/bv6pzt5 and a Link Box tomorrow (7th March).
    Lucy

  2. Six Great Reasons to Grow Potatoes | Real Men SowSeptember 22, 2015 at 9:25 amReply

    [...] Looking for the right potato for the right cooking style? Try the Real Men Sow Guide to potatoes. [...]

  3. Tracy BoseFebruary 5, 2016 at 12:42 pmReply

    I ‘accidentally’ grew some Golden Wonder a while back. 5 wizened little seed potatoes left on a shelf when I wasn’t thinking of doing spuds that year. They were gorgeous and the skins are so good on jackets.

    This year I’m trying some Sarpo Mira because I want to test out the blight resistant claim.

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meIn 2007, I took on a redundant allotment plot with my gardening-mad mum Jan. As all good mums do, she went along with it, but I don’t think she held out much hope. However, over a decade later, and she now lets me do stuff without watching over my shoulder, so I must be doing something right. [ read more ]

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