Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Taterfest 2010

Today was potato harvest day, surely one of the most exciting of the year. No seriously, it's like Christmas as a 9 year-old: you get a big present to unwrap and you're not sure exactly what's in it. It could be that awesome piece of Battlestar Galactica merchandise you've been asking for, or it could be a very, very bad jumper (or cake jumper). It was exactly like that today, except I was hoping for a big load of potatoes. 

I planted the seed potatoes back in August, and showed a few progress photos as they grew. This what they looked like today:

A couple of scraggly plants were still going, most had died back.

The two varieties planted were "Royal Blue" and "King Edward". The Royal Blue potatoes were planted along the back of the bed and died back earlier, about a month ago now. The King Edwards struggled on, and except for a few small plants were pretty much gone two weeks ago. Both weren't helped by being partially overshadowed by the fig tree when it exploded back into life in late September. Anyway, to the diggings!

Royal Blue Potatoes are actually kind of purple

The Royal Blues seemed to have done well and were mostly of a decent size. What's more, I have never seen so many fat, happy wormies in my life. The combination of cow manure and suger cane mulch has made them very happy indeed. I ended up with half a bucketload of Royal Blues. Next were the King Edwards:

King Edwards have attractive pink splodges on them

These guys were a bit less consistent in their size, and obviously a bit newer, having more pale, thinner skins. I could have left them a few more weeks to harden up I guess. But they kept coming and coming..

A lot of potatoes

..until I ended up with a whole bucket of them.

In the blue bucket, weighing 2.3kg: "Royal Blue". And in the Yellow bucket, weighing 5.0kg, "King Edward".

So, in terms of yield, King Edward is the winner. Still, the Royal Blues did very well, despite the disadvantage of growing up against a wall with less space to spread its roots. It was also more exposed to wind and a little more overshadowed from the fig tree. The total potato yield was 7.3 kg, which I don't think is bad for a partially shaded 1.5 square metre bed.

But yields aside, the important part, as always, is the eating. A handful of each type were cut into pieces, parboiled until nearly done, tossed with grapeseed oil, salt, pepper and thyme from the garden, then roasted in a hot oven for about 15 minutes. They then went into our potato salad with chick peas, tuna and finely chopped boiled egg, topped with a dressing of lemon juice, olive oil, eschallots, thyme and chives. The result was that these were the tastiest potatoes I have ever eaten. EVER. Both had a creamy textured flesh and a nutty flavoured skin. The flesh of the Royal Blues was a bit yellower with the skin slightly thicker, which turned brown when cooked. The King Edwards kept their pink splodges.

One of the reasons I grew potatoes was to have something that would store for a while, so that if there was a glut it wouldn't go to waste. This year however, we are not going to get the chance to store them very long. They're going to be gone. Very soon.

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