Potatoes anyone?

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harryc
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Potatoes anyone?

Post by harryc » Sun Mar 16, 2014 8:12 am

In all my years here, I've only come up with two potato varieties that I find 'tasty.' Siikli (Sieglinde) and Rosamunda - Siikli having been around probably since Väinämöinen was playing pesäpallo - with Rosamunda only really available for maybe 25 years.

Having found these I have stuck to them in general and thus not hooked onto paying attention to any other variety (reason being that the original experiences had never found anything).

I recall once in 70's taking a fresh rainbow trout to London for using that evening - and also some marketplace 'good looking' potatoes for kind of a 'joke.' The hostess of the dinner must have been suspicious so she cooked up some 'own' and then asked people to taste and guess which was Finnish. (Not as 'impolite' as it sounds). All diners ended up saying the Finnish ones were tasteless - the other was King George variety - a very common Brit variety as I understand.

My main question is - does anyone know of varieties which are indeed 'tasty?' (I've heard Puikula might be good - but haven't found them at first look.)

More and more one sees just generic potatoes for sale, in red, green, and yellow bags, depending on their use. And the big 100 kg 'silos' just say 'Finnish potatoes.' (And having tried them all - they are indeed TASTELESS - and only offer 'safka.')

Many times the variety is mentioned (http://www.biolan.fi/suomi/puutarhahar ... /lajikkeet) but I have never noticed anyone paying attention to actual 'taste.' If one looks at the Biolan list here, one can find hyvä maku mentioned here and there - but certainly nothing about what kind of taste.

When you think of all the BS about wines' tastes (most of it anyhow pretentious), it's kind of amazing that there's littke attention to what is such an everyday item and is a such a large % of what someone actually eats, especially in Finland (everyone has a brother-in-law or cousin with a potato plot).

And the price thing can't be important. It's clear the cheapest will be the most popular. But are seeds for good-tasting potatoes really more expensive? Isn't the cost really in the land, care, planting, harvesting, distribution, selling?



Potatoes anyone?

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cors187
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Re: Potatoes anyone?

Post by cors187 » Sun Mar 16, 2014 8:19 am

Your making us all look un civilized :?


harryc
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Re: Potatoes anyone?

Post by harryc » Sun Mar 16, 2014 9:41 am

Not the meaning - just looking for some more good potatoes! :D

And just wondering along the way, why such an important commodity, and so close to the Finns' sielu, is only thought of as being jauhoinen or kiinteä or something in-between.


priki
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Re: Potatoes anyone?

Post by priki » Sun Mar 16, 2014 10:37 am

Well, I'm a Finn, and only like siikli and rosamunda. I quit eating potatoes a couple of year ago, though, only some fresh siikli on the summer, and occasional mash or spiced lohkoperunat, regular potatoes only when visiting parents-in-law or some other relatives. Potatoes in general are tasteless bulk, and I had to eat far too much of them when I was a kid.


harryc
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Re: Potatoes anyone?

Post by harryc » Sun Mar 16, 2014 10:58 am

Well, I'm a Finn, and only like siikli and rosamunda...
Unfortunately :( :) this is a confirmation of my many years of experience. I hope someone can still recommend something else.

But I guess there is also the question about all this reality about 'potatoes' in Finland and seemingly almost no one seems to care how they taste - except whether they're fried, covered with garlic, chili, etc. That case of being confronted with a good taste of a commonly available potato in Britain still sticks in my mind during all these years.


Rosamunda
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Re: Potatoes anyone?

Post by Rosamunda » Sun Mar 16, 2014 7:13 pm

Last year we grew Annabelle and King Edwards (as well as Timo and Siikli).

Annabelle is a new(ish) potato - it's elongated in shape (a bit like French "Ratte"). Worth a try, I quite liked the taste, slightly nutty, excellent in salads and just new-boiled (with butter and dill). The seed potatoes sold out very quickly last spring so, if you see them for sale, get them.

http://www.kantaperuna.com/fi/lajikkeet/annabelle.html
(on their scale of firm->mealy it comes quite close to Timo and Siikli)


More info (in Finnish) here:
http://www.agrimarket.fi/Maatalous_ja_E ... ?iLaID=216

BTW, King Edwards were a disaster, our well ran dry and they just didn't get enough water. But it was worth a try.

-Rosamunda (aka Ms Potato Head).


harryc
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Re: Potatoes anyone?

Post by harryc » Sun Mar 16, 2014 8:38 pm

Thanks for the post

Very nice to see someone with a serious interest in what potatoes actually taste like.

Not just as a 'filler' and/or vehicle for carrying oil, butter, mayo, creme fraiche, garlic etc.


CH
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Re: Potatoes anyone?

Post by CH » Sun Mar 16, 2014 8:38 pm

I would say people do pay attention to the variety, although perhaps more to the type of potato they like (firm or floury) and seem to be a bit hesitant in trying new varietis. People tend to stick with the same type of potato they have always used.
harryc wrote:And the price thing can't be important. It's clear the cheapest will be the most popular. But are seeds for good-tasting potatoes really more expensive? Isn't the cost really in the land, care, planting, harvesting, distribution, selling?
Well... add to that how disease resistant the potato is, how big a harvest you can expect here, how well it can be stored, and is there anybody buying the type of potato. (Disclaimer: I'm not a farmer, so I don't know how much price vs. other factors affect the choice of variety.) Anyway, at least to me it seems like there has been a huge increase of different potatoes during the last few years. Yes, the ones sold during the winter are mostly the same ol' same ol', which is not surprising as it's whatever is mostly produced. But there are more summer varieties (I would guess many of them are from smaller producers). And at least Iso-Omena Citymarket lists the variety and during summer where it has been produced, which I at least really appreciate!


Rosamunda
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Re: Potatoes anyone?

Post by Rosamunda » Sun Mar 16, 2014 10:52 pm

The problem is finding good seed potatoes. The Garden Stores eg Prisma, Bauhaus and Plantagen etc only sell the basics: Timo, Siikli etc. So you need to find a good supplier which invariably means driving to the nearest AgriMarket or a specialist producer.

I think there are people who appreciate good spuds - there is always a nice selection at the Farmers' Markets and the Slow Food fairs - but you won't find them in the retail stores. And like I said, the more unusual varieties sell out really quickly as there just aren't the volumes for the demand.

And to answer the question about the costs... The cost is in the retail chain. Not the producer. I know one producer who prefers to sell direct at the markets and/or to restaurants because the supermarkets pay so little.


harryc
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Re: Potatoes anyone?

Post by harryc » Mon Mar 17, 2014 12:01 am

I would say people do pay attention to the variety, although perhaps more to the type of potato they like (firm or floury) and seem to be a bit hesitant in trying new varietis. People tend to stick with the same type of potato they have always used.
That's my point - they seem only to care what type - jauhoinen etc - not taste! This is shown by the biggest part just being red, yellow and green bags - and those HUGE 100kg bins which just tell they are grown in Finland. The only distinction (and often not even that) is what is for frying, salad etc. - no reference to even variety - and no one connects varieties with tastes - at least when you think about all the nonsense (most of it) about wines.
The problem is finding good seed potatoes. The Garden Stores eg Prisma, Bauhaus and Plantagen etc only sell the basics: Timo, Siikli etc. So you need to find a good supplier which invariably means driving to the nearest AgriMarket or a specialist producer.

I think there are people who appreciate good spuds - there is always a nice selection at the Farmers' Markets and the Slow Food fairs - but you won't find them in the retail stores. And like I said, the more unusual varieties sell out really quickly as there just aren't the volumes for the demand.

And to answer the question about the costs... The cost is in the retail chain. Not the producer. I know one producer who prefers to sell direct at the markets and/or to restaurants because the supermarkets pay so little.
Costs: I meant that I doubted the difference in seed variety cost was significant in the end price - the biggest cost for potatoes is the land, care, distribution etc. So I really wonder why some thought isn't given to growing and selling potatoes which get a reputation for good TASTE.

And I also was thinking more of what is available commercially - not what seeds might be available for home gardeners.

Oh well - maybe I'll just continue with Siikli and Rosamunda - and remain perplexed what the rest of Finland is doing with the 90% which is tasteless. :roll:


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onkko
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Re: Potatoes anyone?

Post by onkko » Mon Mar 17, 2014 1:41 pm

harryc wrote:Siikli having been around probably since Väinämöinen was playing pesäpallo
Offtopic historical lesson. Potato was brought in finland by german tinkerers in 1720s and it slowly took place of turnip as "staple food" in end of 1700s/start of 1800s. Väinämöinen probably ate turnips :)
Caesare weold Graecum, ond Caelic Finnum


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ilikepeanutbutter
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Re: Potatoes anyone?

Post by ilikepeanutbutter » Mon Mar 17, 2014 3:47 pm

Whoa you know alot about potatoes! I am used to the American football sized ones lol. I don't know much about the taters here, I just tend to roast them at like 220 c for 45 minutes and they taste really good that way to me.
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CH
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Re: Potatoes anyone?

Post by CH » Mon Mar 17, 2014 8:04 pm

Yea, I don't think the potatoes I ate in the US tasted that different to the ones here. Huge, yes, and green!!! No way could you have sold green potatoes like those here! (I was in Southern Florida... my host mother explained to me that it was because of the more or less non-existent soil... well, yes, I could understand that, but why then grow potatoes?)

But I started wondering if the difference in what potatoes are grown here vs. elsewhere might have something to do what varieties can cope with the northern climate and short summer. No idea. But during my quest I found this interesting statistic (well, I at least found it incredibly interesting) of what amount of hectars each variety is grown here: http://www.perunansiemen.fi/perunantuot ... messa-2013

Interesting how low Pito is on that list (33rd). It used to be one of the most common potatoes (at least I think so) when I was a kid (ah, yes, the wikipedia article agrees). Never was too fond of it myself, breaks way too easily when cooking, even when just steaming, and is just way too floury for my taste. And even Van Gogh has lost it's nr. 1 place (but that I had already noticed in the store), and seems to be loosing numbers fast. The Wikipedia article for Finnish potatoes still lists it as the most common, but the number is from 2006. I wonder why, it's a pretty nice potatoe. I do like Melody, though, that is now nr. 1 by area. A nice all around potatoe.

Oh... and now I noticed that Sabina isn't even on the list... interesting...


SecretCode
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Re: Potatoes anyone?

Post by SecretCode » Mon Mar 17, 2014 10:42 pm

Having bought potatoes in Britain, South Africa and Finland, I think the interest in a range of varieties of potato is more a thing specific to Britain than a thing missing from Finland ... in SA you can get baking potatoes and general purpose potatoes. Sometimes boiling or roasting potatoes. I don't think I ever saw the variety named. There's a less extreme but similar situation with apples - in Britain you can find quite a range (although the big supermarket chains don't help with this) whereas in SA it's Golden Delicious and 1 or 2 others.

Maybe it's something to do with Britain being a nation of gardeners (and shopkeepers).
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harryc
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Re: Potatoes anyone?

Post by harryc » Tue Mar 18, 2014 9:54 am

than a thing missing from Finland
This still amazes me. The objective difference in TASTE between Siikli and Rosamunda is VERY large - and both very excellent IMO. And when you think that 50% or more of meals in Finland include 'potato' one would certainly think people care what they taste like. (and as a 'btw' to that - it's strange how so many (almost all?) are just tasteless except for what you put on them).

ALKO goes on for pages and pages in their catalog about all the nuances and phony BS descriptions for the most part - can be made about wines.

I noticed Puikula in Lidl yesterday (one of their 'rajoitettu' products) so will give them a try (2kg 2,99).


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