Edzell Blue Potato

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The Edzell blue potato is named for the town of Edzell, in Angus (one of Scotland’s key potato growing areas), where it is thought to have originated. Some records indicate that this variety appeared in 1890, while others date it to 1915. It was only ever grown in the local area; by 2012, the last remaining commercial producer stopped growing the Edzell blue. Recently, however, a farm in Angus that specializes in potatoes obtained Edzell blue tubers from the seed bank at the Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture center near Edinburgh, and is now growing and selling this variety.

The Edzell blue is a second early variety, meaning that it is ready for harvest just after the first crop of new potatoes, filling the gap before the main crop of fully mature potatoes is ready. The yield is moderate and this variety stores well (it’s a good one for the home gardener, because you can easily keep the potatoes in a well-ventilated garage and enjoy them into the new year). Because the Edzell blue ripens early, it is not usually affected by blight. Importantly, it is immune to potato wart disease. The tubers are round and relatively small, with deep eyes. The skin is shiny and deep purple, often with some russeting. The flesh is bright white and has a very floury consistency—the growing preference for waxy potatoes over recent decades may be one of the reasons why the Edzell blue fell out of favor, despite its pleasant flavor. Because of its floury texture, this variety is a bit temperamental in the kitchen: It absorbs a lot of water and tends to fall apart if not closely monitored. In fact, the ability to successfully boil Edzell blue potatoes used to be considered the mark of a good farm cook in eastern Scotland. They are suitable for mashing, frying, and baking (they’re smaller than the average baking potato, but this means that they cook faster), though probably the best way to enjoy Edzell blues is to roast them.

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Nominated by:Wendy Barrie, Andrew Skea