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Recipes

Carrots

Cauliflower

Celery and Celeriac

Courgettes

Herbs

Leeks

Potatoes

Mashes with more

Potato bake with garlic

Potato & blue cheese pie

Rhubarb

Spinach etc.

Potatoes

potatoes in basketIn the winter we have to use main crop potatoes if we want to avoid the food miles involved in air freighting baby “new” potatoes - and potatoes are heavy. However there are so many thousands of different potato varieties that we can find one to suit our purpose at any season of the year without transporting them more than a few yards, if we grow our own, or a few miles if we buy local.
Potatoes have been cultivated in South America for more than 8,000 years and are now an important staple crop for millions of people around the world, providing not just carbohydrate but valuable amounts of Vitamin C. Many of us eat potatoes in some form nearly every day.
Because they are so ubiquitous we tend to take them for granted and though we boil, bake, roast and chip them we often ignore their flavour and how we can combine this with other ingredients to create something special.
Potato varieties vary in flavour, from the strong earthiness of Golden Wonder or Kerr’s Pink to the butteriness of Nicola or Charlotte and the mild, almost undetectable flavour of Cara. They also vary with growing conditions: huge amounts of irrigation will dilute the flavour but don’t be tempted to starve your tatties of water, a drought stricken potato is a dead potato.
The cooking quality of potatoes is measured by their dry matter content which is the non-water content of the potato, mostly starch. Starch absorbs water and swells as it is cooked so boiling potatoes that don’t disintegrate and become soup tend to have low dry matter. For frying and roasting you want potatoes that don’t absorb too much fat and will crisp up well, these have a high dry matter content.
For good mash avoid the salad type potatoes which go gluey and also those whose outer parts dissolve in the boiling water while the middle is still hard (Edzell Blue is particularly challenging to boil and is best steamed). Good mashers are Valor, Wilja, Cara, Kestrel and Dunbar Standard.
To store potatoes for more than a few weeks you need to keep them cool, ideally at 4℃ but definitely above freezing. If they have been kept cold and are then put in a warm place they will think that winter is over, spring has arrived and it is time to put out shoots. While these stubby little shoots are still small, no more than 1cm, they can be broken off and the potato used, but once they grow longer some of the starch in the potato will be converted to sugar and the potato will taste sweet as well as becoming wrinkled as the shoots use the stored water.

Winter potato recipes

Potato mashes and more

Potato and garlic bake

Potato, Leek and blue cheese pie