Which potato varieties are recommended for the home garden? What are some factors in nutrient quality?
I am researching potato varieties for my home garden. I’m wondering if there is any protein difference in different types of potatoes and/or if there are other factors (soil make up, weather, etc…) that would effect the nutrient quality of potatoes.
Abi Griffith, Horticulture Community Education Assistant
There are lots of things to consider when deciding what to grow in your home garden, along with variety.
Check out this UMaine Bulletin Growing Potatoes in the Home Garden, which covers things to consider to help grow a healthy crop, including some variety suggestions. Plants that are stressed by pest pressure, water issues, soil type or soil fertility, will affect the yield, overall quality and nutrient levels of your potatoes (as it would with any vegetable). With this in mind, you may want to consider getting your soil tested, if you haven’t already. Go to Soil Testing, and scroll down for information on how to get a form and test box from your local extension, to get a better idea of what you are working with to start.
Harvest time, storing and cooking will also affect the nutrients in your potatoes, so that would also be a determining factor, aside from difference in variety.
With all that said, this Potato Antioxidant Research paper is really interesting, and I think it would interest you! Some key points:
- “Generally, the more color there was in the potato skin and flesh, the higher the total antioxidant activity. We found more than twice the antioxidant activity in purple potatoes than we found in tan-skinned, white-fleshed potatoes.”
- “We also found that time of harvest and potato stress levels are also very important indicators of total antioxidant activity. The younger the potato, the greater the ratio of skin to tuber content, and the greater the total antioxidant content found.”
As far as specific protein contents, I have had a hard time finding researched based descriptions. Though there are indications that it seems russet and red potatoes had slightly higher content. Also, it helps to always eat the skin when it comes to nutrients!
For further potato research, if you want to keep going – Speciality Potato resource.