King Edward potato
|Origin||Scotter, Lincolnshire, Britain 1902|
King Edward potatoes, like the majority of European and North American potato varieties, are derivatives of the 'Rough Purple Chili' which was used as breeding stock after the 1840s Irish potato famine. The King Edward potato is one of the oldest of these varieties.
The King Edward potato is predominately white skinned with pink colouration. It is mostly oval in shape with a floury texture and shallow eyes. The plant is upright and tall with numerous stems and small green leaves. Its flowers are purple with white tipped petals.
It was developed by John Butler of Scotter, Lincolnshire, and introduced to United Kingdom in 1902. It is one of the oldest surviving varieties in Europe. The Coronation of King Edward VII in 1902 coincided with the introduction of this variety of potato and its name is believed to originate as a 'commemoration' of this occasion. It is claimed that the grower wrote to Buckingham Palace seeking permission to name his potato after the monarch and that a reply was received granting royal assent.
The King Edward potato is a main crop; in the UK it is traditionally planted in April for harvest in September. It is suitable to be grown commercially or in the allotment and can even be grown in pots, although smaller ‘first early’ varieties are a more advisable choice for pot cultivation. To do well, King Edwards require soil that is rich in humus (farm-yard manure/compost) in combination with feeding via a general fertiliser. It is also advisable to ensure plenty of watering during dry periods. Suggested spacing in a traditional plot is at a depth of 4"; spacing in row - 12-16"; width between rows - 28-30". It is very resistant to potato scab and offers some resistance to potato blight but is susceptible to potato cyst nematode.
King Edwards are not particularly prolific in terms of yield, but many people still grow them for their floury texture and their taste.
The King Edward has a variety of culinary uses and is renowned for its light fluffy texture, for this reason it is particularly suitable for roasting and baking; although, it is also suitable for chipping, sautéing and steaming. It has been specially identified by Delia Smith as being the best potato with which to make gnocchi.
- Tasmanian Food and Agriculture Dept retrieved 30/03/08
- Vegetable Growers Guide retrieved on 30/03/08
- Unwins Nurseries retrieved on 30/03/08
- Dobies Nurseries retrieved on 30/03/08
- Delia Smith Online retrieved on 30/03/08
- Biology News Net retrieved on 30/03/08
- Raoul Robinson, 1995, Return to Resistance, Breeding Crops to Reduce Pesticide Dependence, ISBN 0-88936-774-4.
- Kriemhild Coneè Ornelas et al., 2000, The Cambridge World History of Food Vol 2,ISBN 978-0-521-40216-3 | ISBN 0-521-40216-6.