‘New’ potatoes are delicious, heralding the start of summer in the vegetable garden. With waxy flesh, loose skins and a lower starch content than later varieties, it’s well worth making the effort to get some planted out in early spring.
If you’re not sure which varieties to grow, here’s a quick rundown of our most popular choices. Take a look at our delicious serving suggestions too!
What is a new potato?
A ‘new’ potato is an immature potato tuber dug up before it reaches full size. Traditionally lifted in June and July, ‘first early seed potatoes’ or salad type varieties are most commonly used. These are planted earlier in the season than maincrop types, meaning that you need to start chitting from late January to be ready in time.
‘New’ potatoes have loose skins, which can be gently rubbed off before cooking, and are sweeter tasting than their maincrop cousins. They also have a slightly waxier flesh than the floury maincrops, making them ideal served warm with butter or cold in a salad.
Which varieties make the best new potatoes?
All the potato varieties below are ideal for ‘new’ potatoes, although each offers something different in terms of flavour, colour, and growth:
- ‘Charlotte’ potatoes are an all-time favourite. Offering good blight and scab resistance, they’re a great choice for growing in containers in blight-prone areas.
- ‘International Kidney’ is a very popular second early variety, producing oval shaped, yellow tubers.
- Introduced 50 years ago, ‘Foremost’ remains just as popular today and holds an RHS Award of Garden Merit. The tubers are firm and waxy, retaining excellent flavour through cooking.
- ‘Vivaldi’ potatoes contain fewer carbohydrates than others, so make a perfect choice if you’re watching your calorie intake.
- ‘Rocket’ is a first early that crops heavily, very early in the season, and produces tubers with a delicious taste and soft, waxy flesh.
- ‘Jazzy’ has an RHS Award of Garden Merit, producing lots of smaller tubers that are ideal for boiling whole and gently crushing.
- ‘Maris Peer’ is a very popular second early potato, classed as a salad type, that is well suited to boiling, steaming and mashing.
- ‘Lady Christl’ bulks up very quickly and can be harvested as early as May. The tubers are yellow in colour with smooth, firm flesh.
- Specially treated ‘Carlingford’ potatoes are ideal for planting late in the summer, to harvest for ‘new’ potatoes at Christmas. The tubers are smooth with creamy white flesh.
How to cook and serve new potatoes
‘New’ potatoes can be boiled, steamed, roasted or baked. They’re at their best when harvested and eaten on the same day – the delicious flavour simply can’t be matched by a store-bought spud! To boil your potatoes, wash and add them to a pan of salted boiling water for about 15 minutes. You’ll know they’re ready when a slim knife slips easily into the flesh. Drain and leave in the colander for a few minutes to dry.
To roast or bake your ‘new’ potatoes, simply toss them in seasoned olive oil and roast in a baking tray for about 40 minutes.
Here are some of our favourite serving suggestions:
- Boil your potatoes and allow them to cool slightly or even go completely cold. Mix together some Greek yoghurt, lemon, finely chopped garlic and mint. Stir through.
- Melt some butter in a pan, add finely chopped garlic and some chopped parsley, mint, and chives. Pour over a bowl of warm potatoes and serve.
- Slightly over-cook your potatoes, gently crush them with the back of a fork and then return them to the pan with some olive oil and chopped chilli. Heat gently, then remove from the heat and stir in a spoonful of Greek yoghurt and a handful of chopped parsley.
- Boil and slice up your potatoes before adding to a bowl of beaten egg. Add chopped parsley, peas, and finely chopped onion. Pour into an oiled pan and grill until set.
- Stir a dollop of pesto and fresh mint through your boiled potatoes for a quick and tasty side dish.
- Make your boiled ‘new’ potatoes the main ingredient in a veggie curry.
- Give your raw ‘new’ potatoes a quick wash before popping them in a lightly oiled roasting tin with some crushed garlic, thyme and rosemary. After about 20 minutes, add the zest and juice from a lemon, mix well and return to the oven for another 20 minutes.
- Give your raw ‘new’ potatoes a quick wash before popping them in a lightly oiled roasting tin. After cooking for about 20 minutes, add diced chorizo, diced red pepper, chopped garlic and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Mix well and return to the oven for another 20 minutes.
Which other ingredients work well with new potatoes?
The following ingredients also work well with new potatoes. Add some of these to the veg patch or try growing in containers to accompany your ‘new’ potato crop:
- Fruit and vegetables like tomato, kale, artichokes, chilli, leeks, cauliflower, garlic, onions and lemon.
- Herbs like mint, thyme, rosemary, dill, basil and parsley.
- Other kitchen staples like cream, saffron, cheese, eggs and oily fish.
You can grow new potatoes in the ground but they’re also ideal for growing in containers. We hope you’ll be inspired to grow many different varieties – wowing your friends and family with your gardening and culinary skills! Send us photos of your ‘new’ potato meals via social media, or get in touch via email. We’d love to see what you come up with!