Thursday, 7 November 2019

Knobbly delights

We have been regularly eating the strangely named, and even stranger looking, Pink Fir Apple potatoes in recent weeks. We had a very good crop of potatoes this year, Pink Fir Apple included. It is some years since I last grew them and I have to say I had forgotten how excellent a potato it is.

I have not been able to elicit much information about their origins except that they were probably first introduced from France in about 1850. Although in recent years in the UK there has been increased interest in growing them, on the whole they are not that common. You would be hard pressed to find them in the shops and if you do I suspect it would be at a premium price as a 'speciality' food. 

The fact is they are just as easy to grow as any other potato. They have a low resistance to blight but scab is much less of a concern, which suits our dryer growing conditions well. Their top growth gets a bit taller than other potatoes and is likely to flop but that won't affect the growing tubers.

One of the reasons why they are not commonly grown is, I'm sure, their propensity to deviate from the expected cigar shape (as depicted in the seed catalogues) to something quite knobbly, reminiscent of root ginger. I assume this characteristic makes them a challenge for anyone trying to grow them on an agricultural scale using mechanised harvesting. 

However, in the kitchen their knobbliness is not really a practical problem because it is unnecessary to peel them. They can be cooked and eaten with their skins on as you might with 'new' potatoes. Indeed, Pink Fir Apple are recommended as a late maturing salad potato and for good reasons. Their skin has a pink tinge  and the flesh is buttery yellow, waxy and dense. They hold their shape and structure well after boiling. Most importantly, they are very tasty too. We eat them plain boiled with a little butter and maybe a light sprinkle of herbs. 

If you have not tried them before and have the space, Pink Fir Apple are certainly worth growing.

Pink Fir Apple potato. They are not always as knobbly as this

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