Saturday, 19 September 2009
Purple Viking Potatoes
More purple food. There's been an awful lot of purple food this month, don't you think? Not that I'm complaining; I love purple especially when you have things like these great Purple Viking potatoes with their psychedelic magenta streaks peeking through the darker skins. Inside they are a stark white, and they cook up as light and fluffy mashed or baked potatoes, although they are said be good for frying as well. In short, a good all-purpose potato. Quite a few people describe it as "the best tasting potato".
They are often described as slightly sweet, which I don't find at all; they have a good intense earthy potato-y flavour to me. They are described as good keepers, although I doubt we will find out, as I expect we will eat our crop of them pretty quickly. They are good, no question. There are a lot of novelty potatoes out there at the moment, but this is a real potato-lovers potato, light and mealy. I found the skins thin and easily damaged when I washed them - you can see a couple of light spots on the potatoes in the picture where it came off. These are mostly medium-sized to large potatoes; a couple of them were very large; even the small one at the bottom of the picture was about the size of a golf ball.
The plants are compact, and resistant to scab and leaf-hoppers, or so they say. Drought resistant and tolerant of poor weather; they should be ready to harvest in about 85 days. On the other hand they are apparently susceptible to late blight and a host of other fungi, bacteria and viruses. They were bred in North Dakota in 1953 and seem generally well adapted to growing in Canada.
NOTE ADDED: 03/05/2012. Having now grown these for several years, I can now say that although I love these potatoes and still intend to grow them regularly, they are amongst our worst potatoes for storing. You should really expect to use them by mid-January at the latest.