What’s In A Name?
The name of this potato threw me off. Apple … is this an apple? In stores they are just known as Pink Fir potatoes, but when I researched these delightful little potatoes – the actual name is Pink Fir Apple. Cute name!
On my quest to sample as many different variety of potatoes as possible, these beauties were first on my list.
The first time I tasted these potatoes, my sister in law brought them over from her garden. Her husband is an avid gardener and that particular year, he grew these knobbly looking things. I laughed when she brought them over. They were small, skinny and knobbly. Were these really potatoes? I didn’t know what to do with them!
Fast forward a few years and these potatoes were top of my list. Not for any particular reason, they just were.
What Are Pink Fir Apple Potatoes?
Pink Fir Apple potatoes are an old French variety which can be traced back to at least 1850. They are one of the oldest and more expensive variety of potatoes. They’re not popular or commonly available in supermarkets and your usual grocery stores. You would be more inclined to find them in specialist, independent shops and grocers. This particular pack was from Natoora and purchased through my favourite online grocery store Ocado. They were a tad expensive – £2.99 for 500g.
This specialist variety – also can be described as “fingerling” potatoes, are usually long, narrow and knobbly – they actually look like little sweet potatoes, well that’s what my mother thought they were.
The skin has a light pinky brown colour, knobbly with obvious dents and brown spots. When sliced, the flesh is yellowy and with subtle pink streaks running through it (not all the potatoes will have these pink streaks). It reminds me of a raspberry ripple ice-cream.
The shape of these potatoes are unique and does catch your eye, often with a little giggle. They are not your average looking potato. The shapes of Pink Fir Apple are unpredictable, you never know what shape you’re going to dig up. I delightfully received this unusual shaped potato in my pack. I adorned it with little goggly eyes and a smile, it was just too cute not to bring it to life!
To start off my potato fascination, I am going to cook these potatoes three ways: chips (or fries as some may call), boiled and roasted.
Chips / Fries
The knobbly feature of these potatoes doesn’t give a smooth peel, I quite liked the spots of pink skin on the flesh. These long skinny fingerlings were easy to just quarter lengthways for the chips.
I always par boil my potatoes, allow them to cool completely before frying them in oil to make chips. I believe this method makes the best chips. I deep fried this small batch of Pink Fir Apple potatoes for about 4 minutes until they were nicely browned. I removed them from the oil using a slotted spoon and drained them on some kitchen paper to remove excess oil.
I sprinkled them with a little Maldon sea salt and had a little nibble.
I found that the Pink Fir Apple potato chips were not so soft and fluffy on the inside. I presume this is because these are waxy potatoes and their nature is not to become fluffy when boiled. They remained firm but cooked in the centre, the outside of the chip was a little greasy from the oil and it gave the chip a slightly soggy texture but it still had a nice buttery flavour.
Boiled Potatoes – With and Without Skin
For boiled potatoes, I boiled some with and some without the skin. Some people like them with and some people like them without. Pink Fir Apple potatoes have a thin skin which are easy to eat.
I boiled the potatoes in a small pot of water for about 15 minutes. Their waxy texture allowed them to keep their shape whilst being boiled.
The potatoes still retained its lovely yellow colour after being boiled and the skin stayed on too. I find that with the thicker skinned potatoes, the skin usually peels off when they’re being boiled.
They remained firm in texture and had an almost crumbly texture when bitten into. It’s distinct butter flavour shone through more when they were boiled.
Whenever I roast potatoes, I also give them a quick boil in water. It just speeds up the roasting process and also makes for a soft and fluffier roast potato interior allowing for a full crispy exterior. Now, that is what makes a great roastie.
I parboiled these potatoes for about 15 minutes, then roasted them in the oven with some goosefat and a sprinkling of salt. They were roasted at gas mark 7 (220˚C) for about 30 minutes – turning them over a couple of times in the process to get that even brown crispiness.
The Pink Fir potatoes browned really well and developed lovely crispy edges. The inside of the potatoes was soft and buttery – it had a lovely flavour. I roasted some in their skins which I like to do sometimes. These potatoes have a thin skin so they crisp up really well and doesn’t become chewy when bitten into. A dusting of flaked sea-salt really brought out their earthy flavour.
What Happened To The Mash?
I chose not to turn these potatoes into mashed potatoes. This is because of their waxy nature – in my experience waxy potatoes do not mash very well. Mash tends to work better with floury potatoes.
They are novelty aren’t they? I mean, how many potatoes would you need to make a fully fledged bowl of roast potatoes? The potatoes in this pack were not that big, the biggest one was only about 5 inches long and less than 2 inches wide. So you get where I’m coming from in terms of quantity, but for £2.99 for just 500g it would cost a small fortune to serve a big bowl of these during a roast dinner … if you compare that to a big bag of white potatoes for £0.95 for 2.5kg (Sainsbury’s), you don’t get a bargain for your buck with the fingerlings! Don’t get me wrong, they taste great – lovely buttery flavour, but are they they best potato out there? I reserve judgement … until next time.
Best for: roasted potatoes
Price: £2.99 per 500g (price correct as of February 2021)