09 February 2011

Planting Potatoes Again

It's that time of year again - potato planting time.  Everywhere in my list of feed and seed resources had potatoes this time.  Two of them had three kinds of potatoes - white, red and Yukon gold, and the other just had red and white.  I'm never sure how much space I want to dedicate to a single crop.  They might not be completely harvested until almost June, and I need room to plant warm season crops.

I planned to buy three kinds of potatoes, plus the purple ones from Walmart, but when I got to the feed store, they were sold out of the Yukon gold potatoes.  I bought five pounds each of the red and white, and a bag - maybe three pounds - of the purple ones.  In the past I have planted them whole, rather than cutting them into pieces, and possibly getting more from them.  Everything I read talked about fungi and treating them or letting them "heal" for a few days before planting them, so that's why I never did it before.  Since then I've talked to neighbors who do it and have no problems, so I decided to consider it this time.  As I was looking at the potatoes, I never saw one that was really fit for dividing.  Most of them had eyes on one end or the tubers were small to begin with.  The packaging for the purple ones instruct you to plant the whole spud.

I was doing some research on the purple potatoes and thought I would share what I learned about it and the other varieties.  Do you know which varieties are better baked, or mashed or made into fries or chips?  I don't, so I decided to find out.

Purple Majesty potatoes were created by crossing an All Blue with a white chipping variety.  They are high in Anthocyanin, which is an antioxidant found in blueberries.  They taste like white potatoes and are good for almost any kind of preparation, but apparently make great fries and chips - plus they retain their color after cooking.  Red potatoes have smooth, thin, red skins and white flesh.  It is usually firm and mainly used in casseroles, soups, salads or boiled, steamed and roasted.  White potatoes are good baked, boiled or roasted, and especially good for potato salad.

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