What variety is the well-know Idaho potato? The seed catalogs never identify
any of their varieties as the "Idaho" potato. Yes, I know I probably can't
grow a potato as tasty as an Idaho baker, but what variety is it?
I'd get one from the health food store, because one from the regular store
probably has been treated to keep the eyes from sprouting.
I have planted store-bought organic potatoes three times: a russet, a yukon
gold, and a german butterball. They have hybridized into a nice
yellow-fleshed, rough brown skinned, all-purpose potato that comes up here
and there every year, even if I think I've harvested every last one of them.
As another poster mentioned, store bought potatoes may be treated with
sprout inhibitors. My experience is that they will sprout, they just
Common wisdom also says that store bought potatoes tend to be
diseased, so to not plant them in your garden.
If you plant the potatoes in acidic soil it will inhibit a lot of the
diseases such as scab. I have planted store bought potatoes in 12
inch pots of peat mix with great results.
I would not discourage anyone from buying certified seed though.
I usually do buy certified seed potatoes.
If I am at a garden center that has seed potatoes, I like to pick out
the small ones because I can plant them whole, rather than cutting
them. This can help avoid them rotting when planted.
btw these smaller seed potatoes (of Idaho varieties) will produce
normal sized potatoes at harvest.
Usually a russet, typically russet burbank.
Several other varieties (other russets, norkotah (?sp), ...) have been
and are being tried, but none are as popular.
Probably you would be happy with any of the dry, starchy "baking"
potatoes, and some other variety may be better for your climate, soil
and other growing conditions. You should check with a local university
extension office and ask about which "baking" potato does best in your
(The other kinds of potato other than baking are sort of waxy/oily
instead of getting fluffy when baked.)
The reason you'll seldom see a seed catalog identify an "Idaho Potato"
is because Idaho is quite protective of that name. Legally only a
potato grown in Idaho can be identified as an Idaho Potato.
My grandfather made a living growing the "Idaho Potato" both as food and
as seed potatoes for many years. Last summer was the first year my
uncle did not grow potatoes. No more free, fresh potatoes with a known
history for me. :( Somehow alfalfa just isn't as appealing. :)
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I didn't realize until last fall on a trip to northern Maine how big the
potato industry is up there. It's a major portion of the economy. We
figure that they send the Maine potatoes to Idaho and say "Hey, look!
MAINE potatoes!!" and visa-versa.
Every job is a self-portrait of the person who did it.
On Thu, 06 Jan 2005 16:47:25 -0500, Ken Anderson wrote:
Just curious, why would you want to grow a super market variety potato?
Potatos aren't any better when they are fresh, a potato that's been in
your refrigerator for two months tastes the same as one that you just
bought so there is no advantage to pulling one out of the ground and
throwing it in to a pot. Also supermarket varieties are bred for yield and
durability not for flavor. If you are going to grow a potato why don't
you grow an exotic variety. We have something on the order of four
varieties in our supermarkets, in Peru there are 8000 varieties of
potatos. Surely there must be some way to get a hold of a potato other
than an Idaho or a Maine.
You are right in that there are numerous varieties of potatoes, many of them
more tasty than others. When I was in Germany, I used to go to a restaurant
that served Vienasnitzel and Homefrys. The potatoes were darker than the Idaho
and had a kind of sweet taste. I've never been able to find the same potato
here in the states.
Sorry this response is so late. I just spotted your post.
Look up the "Plant Materials Center" in Alaska on a websearch. (They are
attached to the Dept. of Natural Resources, Division of Ag.)
They have about 250 kinds of spuds. Email them and ask if anyone up
there would know what variety is popular in Germany for homefries.
I'll bet you someone will know and they'll probably be able to sell you
some seed spuds.
Jan, in Homer, Alaska
Well, I can't agree with that. I love the taste of fresh dug potatoes in
the late summer. Definitely a better taste than after storage.
Do you really store potatoes in the refrigerator? I've never done that
because I have read that storing them that cold changes the flavor.
It's hard to beat an Idaho russet potato for baking. Their wonderful
fluffy white texture is the best. Of course, that fluffy texture makes
them a poor choice for other uses.
For boiled potatoes, served hot or cooled for use in a potato salad
there are other choices. You need more of a waxy texture for boiling.
This is where those unusual varieties really pay off.
By the way, many years ago I did grow some sprouted Idaho russet
potatoes in my garden. They had the same good baking quality as the one
from the store but they didn't get as big nor were they very productive
here in my northern NY garden.
You should have started out by saying: "I've never tasted a home-grown
potato, but ...."
You see, young home-grown potatoes have a taste beyond anything you can
buy at the store, even for an identical variety--they are like a
different vegetable! Just as the home-grown tomato has a flavour way
beyond that of the store-bought one (even though they may be the same
'plastic' supermarket variety).
John Savage (my news address is not valid for email)
My opinion is also that there is no comparison between a homegrown
any-type-of potato and store bought. I usually leave mine in the ground
until ready to use them (until late in November or early December); they
sweeten as the weather gets colder (at least that's the case in my
garden). It also leaves my garden not feeling so "empty" because the
season is over. Just going out to dig them adds something to the day. :-)
I grew up in eastern Washington, mostly on my grandparents' farm who had
lived in Idaho most of their younger years. No one in our family every
put uncooked 'taters in the refrigerator. That includes my grandmother's
brother who was a potato farmer with thousands of acres in cultivation.
The potato sheds are quite different from our refrigerators, but still not
as good as fresh from the garden.
The information around us is that things that are never stored in the
refrigerator are potatoes, tomatoes and bananas. There are others also,
but those come to mind at the moment.
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