Choosing potatoes for planting
Planting potatoes is a wonderfully rewarding past time, and something which children love to be involved in, particularly when it comes to harvesting.
Do you plant old sprouted potatoes?
You can, but you are much better off buying certified disease-free seed potatoes. These are widely available from nurseries and produce stores. Certified seed potatoes are a far better option in the long run, because the fungal diseases which affect potatoes can persist in the soil for many years. Fungal and bacterial diseases cause rotting and viral diseases can affect your harvest.
“Certified” does not mean that there isn’t any disease present, only that the seed has met the criteria as set down in the National Standards for the Certification of Seed Potatoes. “Certified” means that a particular seed line has passed all the requirements of both field and tuber inspections.
Desiree – Desiree can be used for great roast potatoes and chips, creamy mash and also wedges. Desiree is also sold as a baking potato. This striking red-skinned maincrop potato, with a light yellow flesh is very widely available and particularly popular in the UK.
Dutch Cream – Has exceptionally creamy and rich yellow flesh and a waxy texture. It is perfect simply boiled or mashed with a little salt. Also ideal for roasting or baking, for a gratin, puree or soup. Tubers are a rich yellow with thin skins.
Kennebec – A popular all-rounder bred in the US in the 1940s, it produces large, shallow-eyed potatoes with white flesh and skin. Excellent flavour, good for baking, boiling and makes great chips. Capable of high yield.
Kipfler – Cigar-shaped potato with yellow skin and flesh. Excellent for salads, boiling and steaming, it keeps its waxy, firm texture even if overcooked. Also delicious sauteed or roasted, or slow-baked whole in a casserole. Has a wonderful buttery nutty taste. High-yielding, fast-growing variety with excellent storage quality.
Red Rascal – A red skinned white fleshed, full flavoured potato, tending towards being floury. It is best suited for baking, roasting, wedges and mashing. Popular in New Zealand.
Russet – This is the most widely used potato variety in the United States. These potatoes are high in starch and are characterized by netted brown skin and white flesh. Russets are light and fluffy when cooked, making them ideal for baking and mashing. They are also wonderful for frying and roasting.