The time came! First fingerling potatoes are ready to be eaten!
The plants still have green leaves and the potatoes are still growing. But, I like to take several of them from each plant while the skin is thin. I move aside the soil, choose the bigger potatoes, pick them up and move the soil back to let the rest of them continue to grow. I checked regular red potatoes. Probably, some of them can be gathered and eaten in a week or two.
As I wrote in the post Back To Potatoes! , I didn't plan to grow potatoes. It's just happened that we had fingerling and red potatoes in our pantry that weren't eaten in time and started to sprout.
The fingerling potatoes in the raised bed got so tall! Almost as tall as me! I've never seen potato plants so tall and was afraid that all the energy went to the green tops. It looks like everything is OK. Recipes for fingerling potatoes can be found on the Internet. I cooked them in a shallow Pyrex dish with some water and olive oil (very little) in the oven at 400 degrees. Sprinkled with salt and black pepper. When ready, added some butter, chopped dill and green onions. Served with grilled salmon. It was tasty! I like young potatoes with thin skin.
This is what WikiAnswers.com says about eating potato skin:"... the skin of a potato has various benefits. ... it is known for its high fiber content which is essential in a healthy diet... ...they help in preventing cancer and heart disease since they have antioxidants in them. The potato as well as its skin provide a good source of vitamin C, iron, calcium, vitamin B6, and potassium".
As I promised, the following is the recipe for cooking potatoes that I got from my friend Voldemar from Russia http://voldemarmeteorizmus.blogspot.com/ (Ladies, you might want to check his last post to see a charming incredible little purse he is making!)
It is said that the famous Russian poet Alexander Pushkin liked his potatoes cooked this way.
Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin (June 6 1799–February 10 1837) was a Russian author of the Romantic era who is considered to be the greatest Russian poet and the founder of modern literature. Pushkin pioneered the use of speech in his poems and plays, creating a style of storytelling—mixing drama, romance, and associated with Russian literature ever since and greatly influencing later Russian writers (Wikipedia).
Choose small smooth potatoes, clean them and DON'T remove the skin. Put them in a clay pot with previously warmed ghee*. Bake the dish in the oven or on hot charcoals. Before serving, add sour cream and chopped greens (dill, parsley, etc.)* What is Ghee?
"Ghee is made by simmering unsalted butter in a large pot until all water has boiled off and protein has settled to the bottom. The cooked and clarified butter is then spooned off to avoid disturbing the milk solids on the bottom of the pan. Unlike butter, ghee can be stored for extended periods without refrigeration, provided it is kept in an airtight container to prevent oxidation and remains moisture-free. "(Wikipedia)
Well, Pushkin lived long ago. For those of us who don't have a traditional Russian stove, clay pots and ghee, a regular oven, Pyrex (or other oven-proof dishes) and regular butter can be used.
Traditional Russian stove. The image source: http://www.russia-ic.com/
For a pound of potatoes, take about 8 oz of butter. Melt it in a dish and add potatoes. Don't salt. Cook til it's ready. Nothing was said about the temperature of the oven and time. Voldemar knows when it's ready by smell. You can use a fork to check the readiness. Try to not overcook. He also made his own addition to the recipe. When potatoes are almost ready, he adds the following well stirred mixture: glass of milk, teaspoon of flour, handful of finely chopped parsley, pinch of salt. After that, he lets it stay in the oven for 5-10 minutes more. Voldemar uses a clay pot which he fills with water and places in a hot oven for an hour before starting to cook. This prevents the potatoes from getting too dry.
While she is bragging about her potatoes, I am munching on her roses, phlox and bean, grape and strawberry leaves! Yum!