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Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Jacket Potato - The Quest For Perfection

The results of this year's jacket potato trial have started to roll in.

I planted small quantities of five different varieties, in the quest to find the best jacket spud. More details can be found in an earlier post but it's worth pointing out that it's not just about size and texture. I'm after a potato that can deliver on both of those points, but it also needs to grow well on my allotment, in terms of resistance to pests and disease.

Two of the varieties were second earlies, so I've had chance to evaluate both the 'Osprey' and 'Bonnie'.

I'm a sucker for pink eyes, and the Osprey looked the part in terms of colouring. The yield was good, but it was immediately apparent that these were not going to be suitable for jackets. The tubers were too small.


We've had them boiled and as wedges and, to be honest, their texture wasn't what I was looking for, either. A shade too waxy for my personal taste. But, on a positive note, the tubers were completely undamaged in terms of scab, slugs and wireworm. I would expect these good-lookers to do well on the showbench, but the perfect jacket spud, they are not.

Bonnie were next up and wow, what a difference.

We had some really big tubers, perfect for baking and their initial appearance was also agreeable, with a lovely splash of pink.


The cooked texture of the flesh on these had the perfect fluffiness for jackets, too. So, all in all, a decent spud for baking, especially from a second early. But, it's not all good - while the potatoes size and cooking qualities were good, it was noticeable that many of the tubers had succumbed to damage.

Tiny holes bored into the flesh - I believe these are the calling card of wireworm, the larvae of beetles. Although it's no hardship to peel and cut around the holes to make roasties and wedges, for a nice jacket spud, the potato really needs to be perfect. So while 'Bonnie' has everything else going for it, the wireworm damage is a big minus.

We still have three maincrop varieties to harvest and the results of those will be posted as soon as we've had the opportunity to get them out of the ground.

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