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Not Your Average Potatoes

Updated on September 15, 2014
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Jeff Johnston is a medieval reenactor and avid history fan. He is also the publisher at Living History Publications.

Heirloom Potato Plants Make Your Garden Complete

I love heirloom vegetables. Having veggies in my garden that no one else has is a point of pride for me, and it is great for increasing biodiversity. I am also a huge fan of potatoes, they are, in my opinion, the best veggie around. Infinitely versatile, the humble potato is the king of root vegetables. One of the great things about potatoes is that to grow them you just take a potato that has at least two eyes and plant it in the dirt eyes facing upwards. No need for seeds at all the potato itself is the tuber root for the plant.

Given my interests it is not surprising that I love heirloom potatoes. In most parts of the world the potatoes you can easily find are down to a small handful of varieties, but just like Tomatoes, and Carrots potatoes have a lot of varieties to ad colour to your plate.

Would You Try A Purple Potato?

Would You Try A Purple Potato?

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By 'H' monogrammist (floruit 1588) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
By 'H' monogrammist (floruit 1588) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The Legend of Raleigh's Poisoning of The English Court

And how it set back potatoes a century

Sir Walter Raleigh, a big supporter of colonizing the new world, brought the humble potato to England during the reign of Queen Elizabeth. Raleigh was a favorite of the queen so legend has it the Queen Elizabeth ordered her royal Gardner to grow some potatoes and then ordered her royal cook to cook a feast featuring the potato as a showpiece. All went well until the cook looked at the potato and had no idea what to do with it, seeing the greens resembled many other greens widely available the cook tossed the tubers and cooked up the greens serving them to the court at feast. A reasonable thing to do at the time, root vegetables were known, but there was no instructions as to what part of the potato was the edible part.

Every single person who ate the potato greens got extremely ill and Elizabeth decreed that potatoes were to be outlawed as dangerous. All because a cook did not know which part of the potato was edible.

Add to this the fact that potatoes are nightshades and every nightshade that grows native to Europe is highly poisonous. The reputation of the potato in Europe did not recover until the mid 18th century.

Unique Potatoes

With over 5000 known varieties of potatoes you need not stick to the the plain old russet potato. Why not try out some of these unique varieties, plant some in your garden and impress your friends and neighbours with your bright and colourful potato varieties.

Cranberry Red Potato

This striking red potato not only has red skin like every other standard red potato but has red or pink flesh inside as well, making it a wonderful addition to a roast veggie dish.
Ordinary red potatoes are just that, ordinary. These ones make a statement. Take your dish to the next level with these beautiful roots.

All Blue Potato

A dark purple skin followed by nice royal blue flesh make this stand out in a potato salad or roasted veg dish. Kids will love this potato mashed as well.
When mashed these potatoes take on a lovely lilac flavour. If you are looking to impress some guests this will do the trick.

Purple Fingerling Potatoes

Fingerling potatoes are small elongated potatoes that look like fingers. This particular variety has a purple skin and flesh.
Purple fingerling potatoes have two things going for them, their unique purple flesh and skin and their interesting shape. I guarantee any meal you serve with these beauties will impress guests.

Fingerling Potatoes

Fingerling potatoes come in a variety of colours and shapes, this package allows you to have a variety of different potatoes in one package.
Fingerling potatoes are all the rage in foodie circles of late. These lovely little potatoes look fantastic on a plate

© 2012 Jeff Johnston


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    • Jemjoseph profile image

      Jemjoseph 4 years ago

      Naturally blue or colored mashed potatoes would be pretty awesome, I might even be able to get my picky little eater to give it a try.

    • GeekGirl1 profile image

      GeekGirl1 5 years ago

      I love potatoes.

    • profile image

      CatJGB 5 years ago

      Hmm, I've been meaning to try and grow my own spuds, I saw some cool, homemade potato tower thingies that I want to make. Love the heirloom spuds!

    • glenbrook profile image

      glenbrook 5 years ago

      I love potatoes. I'm going to give those All Blue ones a try in my garden this year. BTW you should do a lens on salsify:)

    • samsipet profile image

      samsipet 5 years ago

      Great info. I really enjoyed reading it all.

    • lbrummer profile image

      Loraine Brummer 5 years ago from Hartington, Nebraska

      I like potatoes just about any way they can be made. Baked is probably how I eat them most often. Nice, informative lens.