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Subject: purple potato eater report for tj
Newsgroups: rec.food.cooking

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From: tblackmer[at]nwu.edu (t r i l l i u m)
Date: Mon, 24 Aug 1998 15:30:43 GMT
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I spoke with Jennifer, one of the farmers whom I buy purple potatoes from.  
She said the name of the variety was sun blue (? not 100% sure on this).  I 
asked if they were a Peruvian strain, since tj had mentioned Peru in 
conjunction with purple potatoes.  She found the question somewhat odd, and 
said that all potatoes originated from Peru, but as far as she knows, this one 
had a few stops along the way before ending up in Illinois.  I have no idea 
about the absolute validity of this statement, but her potatoes are damn 
good.  I explained why I was asking, and she gave her opinion that the taste 
of the potato depends more on the soil it was grown in, than the variety it 
is.  She thinks that the variety accounts more for texture than taste.

I was going to ask Henry, but got distracted when he asked me if the white 
potatoes I bought from him last week had spoiled very quickly.  Turns out that 
he had stored them right next to the boxes of ripe/ripening tomatoes and they 
had some accelerated aging.  He asked me to take an equivalent amount this 
week to replace the ones I had bought, even though I wasn't sure if mine had 
spoiled.  This is one reason I really enjoy buying produce from the people who 
grow it.

The culprits of this vegetable drama made some very, very good sauce which I'm 
almost finished making.  15 lbs of tomatoes and one small food mill spells out 
a weekend of devotion to the cause...something good to eat in February.

regards,
trillium

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From: Ray Bruman <rbruman[at]ix.netcom.com>
Date: Mon, 24 Aug 1998 09:38:30 -0700
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t r i l l i u m wrote:

> She said the name of the variety was sun blue (? not 100% sure on this).  I
> asked if they were a Peruvian strain, since tj had mentioned Peru in
> conjunction with purple potatoes.  She found the question somewhat odd, and
> said that all potatoes originated from Peru, but as far as she knows, this one
> had a few stops along the way before ending up in Illinois.  I have no idea
> about the absolute validity of this statement, but her potatoes are damn
> good. 

The first part is absolutely true AFAIK, and I believe the second.
Luther Burbank started his amazing career by improving the potato
and carrying some to California.  Almost every potato we eat is a
Burbank hybrid.

>  I explained why I was asking, and she gave her opinion that the taste
> of the potato depends more on the soil it was grown in, than the variety it
> is.  She thinks that the variety accounts more for texture than taste.

I planted purple potatoes in my yard, and have gotten only small ones,
not very tasty.  They are fun to look at, though.  My basic soil is
terrible
black adobe, especially bad for potatoes.  They should be grown in loose
sandy soil or even heaps of compost.

> I was going to ask Henry, but got distracted when he asked me if the white
> potatoes I bought from him last week had spoiled very quickly.  Turns out that
> he had stored them right next to the boxes of ripe/ripening tomatoes and they
> had some accelerated aging. 

INteresting... they are both Solanaceae.  I'd never heard of this
phenomenon.
I store potatoes in a wire-screen box, well ventilated, in the dark as
much
as I can manage.  Tomatoes I eat right off the bush, if possible.

============================

From: TJ <tsingh[at]gte.net>
Date: Mon, 24 Aug 1998 15:08:39 -0700
--------
Ray Bruman wrote:

> t r i l l i u m wrote:
> >
> > I spoke with Jennifer, one of the farmers whom I buy purple potatoes from.
> > She said the name of the variety was sun blue (? not 100% sure on this).  I
> > asked if they were a Peruvian strain, since tj had mentioned Peru in
> > conjunction with purple potatoes.  She found the question somewhat odd, and
> > said that all potatoes originated from Peru, 

I said Peru because, perhaps for alliterative advertising advantage (the
old triple A), I've seen them called PERUVIAN PURPLES in more than one
place. (Yellow Finns, Yukon golds....a colour and a place...I think we
have a trend).

>  I explained why I was asking, and she gave her opinion that the taste
> > of the potato depends more on the soil it was grown in, than the variety it
> > is.  She thinks that the variety accounts more for texture than taste.
> 
> I planted purple potatoes in my yard, and have gotten only small ones,
> not very tasty.  They are fun to look at, though.  My basic soil is
> terrible
> black adobe, especially bad for potatoes. 

So, sir, how do the purples compare to others you have grown.

============================

From: Ray Bruman <rbruman[at]ix.netcom.com>
Date: Tue, 25 Aug 1998 07:34:05 -0700
--------
TJ wrote:
> So, sir, how do the purples compare to others you have grown.

They are often long, skinny, twisty things.
Those ones resemble dog turds, an observation that
Beth Jarvis says she has never been able to get past.
The lumpy surface makes them hard to peel.
The beautiful purple pigment in them is bright only
while the potato is raw.  When cooked, it can take
on a grayish or blue-gray hue (sometimes greenish)
so do some experiments before serving them to guests.
Maybe it's the pH, maybe oxidation, I dunno.
Sometimes their texture puts my teeth on edge,
in a way that's hard to explain.
A novelty food, fun but not my cuppa starch.

I continue to grow them mainly because once you start,
your soil has just got them.  But the ones I really
encourage are the yellow Finn/Yukon gold.  They are
a real treat to find in the dirt, like nuggets. 

============================

From: tblackmer[at]nwu.edu (t r i l l i u m)
Date: Tue, 25 Aug 1998 17:07:12 GMT
--------
Ray Bruman wrote:
>They are often long, skinny, twisty things.
>Those ones resemble dog turds, an observation that
>Beth Jarvis says she has never been able to get past.
>The lumpy surface makes them hard to peel.

Ahhh.  We are talking about different potatoes then.  The ones I enjoy are not 
long, nor skinny, but very round, like red potatoes.  They have a very flaky 
texture and keep their purple skins when steamed.  The flesh is gray to 
purple, but never green when I cook them.

>your soil has just got them.  But the ones I really
>encourage are the yellow Finn/Yukon gold.  They are
>a real treat to find in the dirt, like nuggets. 

It sounds to me as if the purple potato you and tj are not so fond of is 
different than the one I am so fond of.  I like those yellow fleshed taters 
too...

Speaking of potato travels, did you see the little article in Saveur on le 
ratt's (those fingerling guys) travels from France to here?

regards,
trillium

============================

From: TJ <tsingh[at]gte.net>
Date: Tue, 25 Aug 1998 13:16:33 -0700
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t r i l l i u m wrote:
> It sounds to me as if the purple potato you and tj are not so fond of is
> different than the one I am so fond of. 

Maybe. The purps I get are not dog turd in shape, but are round like red
pots. They are not flakey, rather insipidly mealy and damp. Mine fade
alot, but don't turn green.
tj
I think we are moving into potato madness....as in, this way leads
madness.

============================

From: selk[at]midway.uchicago.edu (lori ann selke)
Date: Wed, 26 Aug 1998 19:26:58 GMT
--------
I don't grow purples, but I do get them sometimes.
The ones I've encountered are usually small and oval, smooth-skinned,
easy to peel (though I usually don't).

Last time I had a bunch, I made a potato chowder with 
white potatoes, and then chunked the purples and added
them.  They were a very pretty blue-gray, as Ray describes,
and made a very attractive soup.

Texture and taste wise, they were fine but sortof
boring, very smooth like Yellow Finns but with less
character.  Not bad, but yes, more novelty than
anything else.

The potatoes that drive me up the wall are the Fingerling
varieties.  Now *those* are hard to peel. And clean.
And the rewards seem hardly worth it -- they, too, are
an OK potato, a little on the mealier side in terms
of texture (I don't mean that in a bad way, I mean
as opposed to smooth), but nothing to write home about.
Maybe if I roast them whole next time or something,
so they end up crispy on the outside and warm and
yielding on the inside...

============================

From: Liz <deforest[at]bmi.net>
Date: Wed, 26 Aug 1998 02:29:36 -0700
--------
  I grew blue potatoes a few times.  They were fairly dry and behaved like a
russet.  Some were quite large.  They had fairly smooth skin and were not
gnarled.  There are many different varieties of blue potato.

============================

From: rdyoung[at]wcc.net (Bob Y.)
Date: Tue, 25 Aug 1998 15:05:51 GMT
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t r i l l i u m wrote:
> I spoke with Jennifer, one of the farmers whom I buy purple potatoes from.

Hmmmm. Was this a one-eyed, one-horned, flying purple potato eater mayhaps?

============================

From: Leah Zeldes <lazs[at]enteract.com>
Date: Thu, 27 Aug 1998 03:03:14 -0500
--------
TJ wrote:
> I said Peru because, perhaps for alliterative advertising advantage (the
> old triple A), I've seen them called PERUVIAN PURPLES in more than one
> place. (Yellow Finns, Yukon golds....a colour and a place...I think we
> have a trend).

A marketing trend.  The Yukon Golds have nothing to do
with the Yukon, either.  I interviewed the guy who
hybridized them -- he's from Michigan.  The same guy is
now marketing the Princesse potatoes grown in Oregon
(they didn't think the French name, ratt, would fly
here.  There's an article in Saveur).

By the way, I tasted the famous Joel Robuchon potato
puree made with those potatoes, prepared by his disciple
Dominique Tougne (who worked at Robuchon's eponymous
restaurant and is now at Chicago's Bistro 110) and
thought that they were more like potato soup.  Fine
flavor, but the texture was too loose for me.  Perhaps
it's plebian of me, but I prefer mashed potatoes to have
some texture.

Maybe they need the master's touch, but I was with
people who had eaten them in Paris, and they thought
them identical.

The potatoes were terrific in several other
preparations, however, including an awesome one that
involved slow roasting them in butter.  And they were
just great when I took some home and nuked them, too. 
They're smallish fingerlings, with thin skins -- peeling
is too much work.

============================

From: debshonda[at]aol.com (DebsHonda)
Date: 24 Aug 1998 22:36:55 GMT
--------
we went to a kids party last week that served purple potatoes.  bought at a
local Safeway.  they were delicious.  though the ones that were mashed as a
joke turned green.  pretty ugly looking but the kids couldn't get enough of
them.

============================

From: vstark[at]netcom.com (Valerie)
Date: Tue, 25 Aug 1998 20:54:20 GMT
--------
Ray Bruman wrote:
>I planted purple potatoes in my yard, and have gotten only small ones,
>not very tasty.  They are fun to look at, though.  My basic soil is
>terrible
>black adobe, especially bad for potatoes.  They should be grown in loose
>sandy soil or even heaps of compost.

Or on the lawn, under heaps of straw, much to the consternation of my 
mother's neighbors....  <GRIN!>  Harvesting them is much easier that way 
-- lift the straw and grab the ones that are big enough.  (The straw gets 
all matted together.)


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