Varieties of Potatoes
There are many potato varieties all over the world: they are classified depending on their employment (consumption, potato processing for the industry), the tuber's characteristics (shape, colour, skin appearance, flesh colour) and the growth cycle duration.
Among the potato varieties cultivated and distributed on the fruit and vegetable market, we will here describe the most popular: the Monalisa potato, the Spunta potato, the Primura potato, the Arsy potato, the Sirco potato, the Agata potato, imported and exported all over the world, together with the new potatoes Aminca, Alcmaria, Spunta and Nicola.
As to potatoes for industry, there are mainly the Hermes potato in the North, the Agria in the Centre and the Lady Rosetta in the South. Among the yellow skin varieties, the most well-known potato varieties traded in Italy are the Monalisa, the Spunta, the Primura, the Agata, the Liseta, the Lutetia and the Arsy.
The differentiation of potatoes depending on their white or yellow flesh is quite recent and comes from the French, who are still torn about the choice of the best variety for the popular frites. To this two varieties we have to add New Potatoes and the red potato.
The white flesh potato, produced and traded mainly in Italy, is round and can come from both Naples or Como: it is a quite floury potato, which is suitable especially for the preparation of mashed potatoes, flans and any other dishes for which potatoes have to be crushed.
There is also the yellow flesh potato, more firm and hard, quite adaptable; for the particular composition and texture of the flesh, which retains humidity, yellow skin potatoes are perfect to be cooked in the oven or in pans, to be baked or boiled. Among the yellow skin varieties, the most popular in Italy are the Adora, the Almera, the Lady Chrystl, the Lady Claire, the Lady Felicia, the Monalisa, the Spunta, the Primura, the Agata, the Liseta, the Lutetai, the Juliette, the Marine, the Aida and the Arsy.
The Adora potato has big round-oval shaped tubers with a light yellow skin and flesh: the sprouts are quite in surface. This potato stands high temperature, when cooked it does not mashes and the colour does not change; therefore, it is perfect to be both boiled or fried. The Adora potato is present on the fruit and vegetable market between May and October and it is imported and exported all over the world.
The Lady Claire potato is perfect for the processing industry of potatoes. It can be stored up to ten months and therefore is present on the fruit and vegetable market during all the year. The quality and the taste of this potato variety do not change even after a long storage. The Lady Claire variety is stable and it is not susceptible to bruises or to mechanical damages due to the processing of potatoes or to the import/export of potatoes in crates.
The Lady Felicia variety is a yellow flesh potato with a perfect aromatic taste. The tubers of its plant are almost hard when cooked. It is present on the fruit and vegetable market during all the year and it is particularly linked to the wholesaling of potatoes, thanks to its storage capacity. The skin is very attractive and therefore this potato is perfect to be washed and then packaged in bags for the retailing of potatoes.
The Lady Christl is instead a potato variety produced for the industry trade: it extraordinary for its qualities, among which we count its optimal hardness when cooked. The tubers are long and form an oval shape, they have a beautiful, smooth skin, perfect to be washed. It is a potato variety perfect to be eaten and it is wholesaled, imported and exported worldwide.
The Almera variety is a semi-early potato variety, with a light yellow flesh, good to be consumed fresh. Its plant produces oval and long-oval tubers, with sprouts in surface, yellow skin and produces a great number of medium sized potatoes, with a medium percentage of dry material.
Finally the Juliette variety produces potatoes that have to be consumed fresh, with long medium sized tubers and yellow skin and flesh. It is a potato variety with high cooking qualities thanks to its hard flesh that is suitable well to be boiled or steamed, thus being very valued by German and English markets, where it is exported.
The red potato, less famous, but not less important, has a salty and considerable taste, good for any kind of preparation and particularly recommended to be sautéed or to be baked. The most popular red potato varieties are the Asterix potato, the Lady Rosetta (it is a tasty potato, with round and uniform tubers, that produces good potatoes. This potato reaches its dry material and sugar contents very early during the season. It is excellent if it is immediately delivered from the field and the stocks to the processing industry, that will provide for the wholesaling of potatoes or for the retailing on the fruit and vegetable market), the Kuroda potato and the Cherie potato.
The Kuroda potato is instead a semi-late variety, with yellow flesh and red skin, particularly good to be consumed fresh or to be fried. Its tubers are oval and its sprouts are quite on surface: each plant produces few quite big-sized tubers. It can be cultivated on any kind of soil, even though on heavy soils the production of potatoes might be reduced.
The Cherie potato is a good variety to be consumed fresh, with an early growth cycle and a high productivity. Its tubers are deep red, with a long shape, very regular and have a yellow flesh. The flesh is hard and has a decent level of dry material, that makes these potatoes good to prepare gnocchi, croquettes and fried potatoes. The Cherie variety is traded in small packages (1.5 – 2.5 Kg).
Finally there are the New Potatoes: this variety is harvested unripe and therefore it is available during all the year, it is extensively cultivated, imported and exported all over the world by wholesalers of potatoes and farms; New potatoes' flesh is delicate and they are usually baked or boiled.
It is quite simple to find the most suitable potato variety for our tastes: first of all it is necessary to determine the qualities that it has to satisfy, considering the local cultivation conditions, the potato sales expected on the fruit and vegetable market and what it will be used for; thus you will obtain several characteristics that your potato will have to meet.
Each variety has of course specific characteristics that we will report you below as advice for the buyer.
The most important characteristic of the table potato is for example a good consumption quality, that is a good behaviour and resistance when the potato is cooked, together with a good taste. You have to consider also the productivity of the potato variety and the distribution of the potato on the fruit and vegetable market, but when choosing the suitable variety you have to consider the resistance to diseases, in particularly to the potato late blight, to viral diseases and to nematodes.
Furthermore, an increasingly importance is given to the aspect of the tuber, as potatoes are prepared for the direct sale in supermarkets as a product already washed and packed, ready for consumption (or sometimes you can find them among the ready-prepared fresh vegetable, such as salads, maize, potatoes, beans, carrots, tomatoes, etc. usually available in the refrigerator case of supermarkets) or they are wholesaled in crates where consumers can assess each potato.
As to the potato processing industry, we need to distinguish between fried potatoes and potato puffs, as they have different qualities.
In general the productivity and the resistance to diseases and pests are of great importance also for potatoes that are going to be processed or distributed, but there are also other important qualities, such as the tuber's shape, the dry material content, a low sugar percentage and the percentage of big-sized tubers in the potato variety taken into consideration.
Finally, as to the production of potato starch, this industry has developed in the last decades from a seasonal to a permanent processing industry, that can give to the fruit and vegetable trade a bigger and constant quantity of the product. Apart from the highest yield of potato starch per hectare, the storage capacity of the product has become particularly important in the choice of the suitable potato variety for the processing of potatoes and for the fruit and vegetable trade.