Friday 23 April 2010

Back in Spuds

cleared for landing

Touched down at Stansted yesterday. Now to prepare for the next migration.

Among the rather less ethnically appropriate items I bought in Sweden - some commercial Mirabilis and Mimosa Pudica, Mexican Sour cucumbers, Beauty radish, that sort of thing - I obtained some tubers of a Swedish potato variety called Mandel. Information is a bit scarce about this, even on the Swedish Wiki page, but it's basically a traditional variety from the 1800s or before reselected in the 1950s which has thus given rise to a certain variability.

As far as I can tell the original potato was blue skinned, small and floury, a bit like a Shetland black but without the strong blue inner ring to the yellow flesh of that variety and known as blå mandeln (Blue Almond) whereas the modern selection possibly with the help of some cross breeding, is known as the vita mandeln (White Almond). It is still small, oval to kidney shaped and has a lightly golden, very slightly reddened skin. However, it still has the very high dry matter and texture that the Swedes enjoy with their delicious traditional foods like fermented herring and black pudding.

The story is further complicated by the fact the Finns also grow this potato, calling it Puikula. This enjoys EU protected designation of origin status when grown in Lapland, exclusively marketed as Lapin Puikula.

Best cooked in their skins, chipped or used in soup, they don't have a wide commercial range but are well established in the home gardens and speciality markets of Northern Sweden, with the bluer sort still having a following in the south apparently.

I got my white Mandel tubers from the supermarket but they were available in the garden centres alongside more modern and easily recognisable spuds for the home gardener.

mandel potatoes

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