English Potatoes in 1847

The varieties of the potato are innumerable. They differ in their leaves and bulk of haulm, in the colour of their skin, in the time of ripening, in the colour of flesh, in being farinaceous, glutinous or watery, in tasting agreeably or disagreeably, in cooking readily or tediously, in blossoming or not blossoming, and in the soil which they prefer.

The earliest sorts of potato are chiefly cultivated in gardens. The main field varieties are:
the early kidney,
the nonsuch,
the early shaw and
the early champion.

The last is the most cultivated around London. It is prolific, hardy and floury. Early varieties, with local names, are cultivated around most large towns.

The late field varieties in most repute are:

the red nosed kidney
Large kidney
bread fruit
Lancashire pink eye
Black skin, white interior, and good
Purple, mealy, keeps well
Red apple, mealy, keeps the longest of any
Tartan, or purple and white skinned. Scotch potato, prolific, mealy, exceedingly well tasted, and keeps well.

The varieties grown exclusively as food for live stock are:

The yam or Surinam potato; large, red and white skinned; the interior veined with red; flavour disagreeable, and not such as to admit of being used for human food. It succeeds best on heavy lands.

The ox noble. Large, yellow without and within, very prolific, not fit to eat.

The late champion; large and prolific, white skinned, and may be used as human food.

Paraphrased from Loudon's Enclyclopedia of Agriculture, 1847.

Nigel Deacon / Diversity website

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