7 Sep 2013
The eyes have it
Earlier this year I wrote about my day out at the Garden Museum's Potato Day and which spuds I'd chosen to grow. (Arran Victory, Foremost, Vitelotte, Linzer Delikatess and Cherie.) This year I decided to grow my tubers in potato sacks as I'd tired of finding moochers (tubers left in the soil) popping up all over the place. (There's always one or two tiny potatoes that get left behind!)
Last week, I emptied all of my potato bags after a summer without sufficient water, either from rain or tap. A few of them hadn't even had sufficient depth as I didn't get round to earthing them all up in time. (Shocking.) Even with my optimistic tendencies, I wasn't hopeful of finding anything usefully edible.
But what joy! Lots and lots of small to medium sized potatoes! Emptying potato sacks (or digging up potatoes) is a job I really delight in - it's a magical moment to find dozens of (hopefully) perfect potatoes where only one went in months before. I was watched by a two year old and, frankly, I couldn't have done better if I'd been Harry Potter himself. She stood transfixed and wide-eyed as I pulled one purple potato after another from the sack, only moving to gasp in amazement or silently mouth "Wow"! Love it!
One of the downsides to gardening in a community space is that the garden is at the mercy of whoever wanders by. I quickly realised that some mischievous tike had swopped all the potato labels over but I was able to identify them by referring back to my original post. The Arran Victory spuds were the easiest to spot being purple, with the Vitelotte potatoes a close second being almost black skinned with purple flesh.
To cook these little spuds, I simply boiled a selection of each one, throwing a knob of butter and sprinkling of salt over when drained. So, which potato won the taste test? Arran Victory - the "rare blue-skinned, white-fleshed tuber of superb flavour". Never a truer word was said.
All of Pennard's descriptions were accurate and, undoubtedly, my little taste trial would have had truer results from well-watered plants but I found that the other varieties were nice but not outstanding. The Arran Victory had a flavour and creaminess that I haven't found in any shop bought varieties - and that's the qualifier that means I'll be looking out for these to grow exclusively next year. I don't have enough to know how well they'll store (as in, they'll all be eaten before the end of the week!! So delicious!) but next year I'll grow enough to last a good while longer.
Here's the fuller harvest picture, a sun-warmed tomato, a few physalis (tart but delicious) and a Braeburn apple. The trees are loaded with fruit this year but I've noticed that people are picking the fruit already because they look so nice. Surely they should still be on the tart side for a few more weeks? The two year old happily munched her way through two apples, declaring them to be yummy! I thought I'd better try one and ... hmm, and she's right! Apple pie ahoy!