Sunday, August 29, 2010

No potato famine here

About 2 weeks ago I decided it was time to dig up the potatoes.  How do you know when the potatoes are ready?  The vines start to die back.  Mine never ever flowered.

This was my haul.  I was positively giddy as my hands pushed aside the dirt to reveal these behemoths.  The thing about root vegetables is that you never know what's going on under the dirt until you look.

There are russets, red potatoes, and fingerling potatoes.  The russets & 90% of the reds came from 6 plants grown in a 4'x3' section of a raised bed on the parking strip.  The front yard harvest filled a big bucket and part of one of these boxes. 

The spuds from the back yard were not impressive.  That's where I planted about 18 plants in an area that measured roughly 8'x8'.  What a disappointment.  In fact, the poor showing in the back yard has made me decide to give up on veggies there and to plant grass.  I dislike having grass but now that we have a dog we need the room for Rosemary.

Check out the size of this beast of a russet potato!  We got several this size, with the other russets averaging about the size of a computer mouse.  (Isn't it weird that we used to compare things to the size of a potato and now it's to technological equipment?)

The red potato crop was also good, with some the size of a fist and others the size of a marble.  We've had a few and they're very good.

Fingerling potatoes are one of my favorites because of size and buttery sweetness.  It's the crop to which I devoted the most space but which produced the fewest spuds (I'm blaming our cold summer and shady location).  Last week I bought some lamb shanks at the farmers market and will eventually serve these potatoes with the lamb.  They'll be my special occasion potato.

I'm storing my potatoes in these cardboard boxes, which ones held fresh berries and are well ventilated.  The boxes are, for now, in my canning pantry but will move to my "pantry" (it's really just the stairs to the attic) once our weather cools.

There are lots of ways to enjoy your freshly dug potatoes:

GRILLED - slice into 1/2" cuts, toss with oil, grill on med heat for 7-8 mins/side

FRIED - dice, fry in oil for 20-30 mins, drain and toss with minced garlic and rosemary, then use a microplane to shred Parmesan over the top, salt and pepper to taste

BAKED - poke with a fork and bake for 30-45 minutes or until yielding to a fork
My chives are finally hearty enough to survive regular trimming.  Perfect on potatoes!

BOILED - select potatoes that are the same size, cover with water and boil for about 20 minutes, serve with butter

The Pioneer Woman posted this recipe a while back where she boiled red potatoes, smashed them with a fork, and then baked them.  I think I'll have to try it soon and report back to you how it went. 

Watch the blog for some quiches with potatoes and broccoli, which has also grown well.

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