Kerekegyháza Blue Potato

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The government of Hungary ordered the population to start growing potatoes in the aftermath of a great famine that affected large areas of Europe between 1770 and 1772. Though at first completely foreign to the Hungarian people, potatoes soon came to play a central role in their diet, and have remained an important aspect of Hungarian cuisine ever since.

The Kerekegyháza blue potato (kerekegyházi kék burgonya in Hungarian) is named for the town from which it comes, and the bluish-purple color of its skin. The flesh of this variety is white, though the part just under the skin may be lilac-colored. Kerekegyháza is a town in Bács-Kiskun County, southern Hungary. Bács-Kiskun roughly corresponds to the section of the Great Hungarian Plain that lies between the Danube and Tisza rivers. This area is important for both agriculture and wildlife, and its sandy soils are excellent for potato cultivation. Blue-skinned potatoes may have come to Kerekegyháza from Germany or Austria during the Second World War.

The Kerekegyháza blue potato is not particularly high yielding, but it has excellent flavor and is resistant to Colorado potato beetles (Leptinotarsa decemlineata), making it an excellent choice for farmers who want to avoid using pesticides. It is good raw, in salads, or fried. If boiled with the skin on, the blue color imparts an attractive purplish hue to the white flesh.

This variety’s lack of commercial success is attributable to its low yields and the fact that, when it comes to blue potatoes, consumers prefer those that have a blue interior as well as blue skin. In addition, many farmers are devoting more of their land to sweet potatoes, the demand for which has grown considerably in recent years. Only a few farmers continue to grow Kerekegyháza blue potatoes, mostly for their own consumption. They maintain the variety by exchanging seed potatoes amongst themselves.

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Nominated by:Rendek Anikó