How To Grow The Best Creamer Potatoes
Who doesn’t love tiny potatoes in a salad, roasted, or cooked in a cream sauce? No matter how many potatoes you grow in your garden, you can enjoy at least a few meals of these delicious, sweet little potatoes.
Creamer potatoes are potatoes that have been harvested very young at about 8 to 10 weeks after planting. You can steal a few from underneath a plant without damaging the rest of the tubers, or you can harvest the whole plant. A creamer potato can be any variety, and they will store for about 2 weeks on the cupboard.
Let’s take a look at what a creamer potato actually is, and how to grow, harvest, store and prepare them.
How To Grow Creamer Potatoes
There is no difference between growing a creamer potato and any other potato. A creamer potato is simply any potato that is harvested small. Whereas potatoes are normally harvested as large tubers in the fall, creamer potatoes are picked around 8 to 10 weeks after planting. They are also called mini or baby potatoes.
Because creamer potatoes are young and not fully mature, the sugar has not been completely converted to starch. The result is a sweet, waxy potato.
Some things to consider when growing creamer potates are:
- The best varieties for creamer potatoes
- What size creamer potatoes should be harvested at
- How to store creamer potatoes
1. The Best Varieties For Creamer Potatoes
Yukon Gold is by far the most common yellow variety seen in stores, and Norland is the usual red-skinned variety. Other types are also gaining popularity, such as the Purple Pelisse for a unique colour, and Anya is a very popular fingerling variety that is often sold as a fingerling. However, any variety of potato can be harvested small as a creamer, so you can enjoy some delicious early meals no matter which kind you like to grow.
2. What Size Should Creamer Potatoes Be Harvested At
Typically, a creamer potato is between 19mm and 41mm (3/4 – 1 5/8 inch). However, some can be as small as a marble, or up to 50mm (2 inch). If you are stealing them from your own garden, however, they can be any size you want. Just go into the garden and steal a few any time in the late summer who have a craving for them.
Some funny factsThere are some funny regulations governing the sale of creamer potatoes. In Canada, for example, several varieties can be mixed in one bag if the potatoes are sold in 450g to 900g (1-2lbs) bags. However, larger bags must be sold as all the same kind.
3. How To Store Creamer Potatoes
Because of their high sugar content, creamer potatoes do not store very well. Once harvested they will last about one to two weeks at room temperature, but they can last a bit longer if you can keep the temperature cooler.
It is not a good idea to keep them in the refrigerator. While the temperature will help them last, keeping them in the fridge might make them turn gray when they are cooked, due to the high sugar content. I personally like the taste of potatoes when they turn gray, but it is not very appealing, especially when you are serving a potato salad for a family picnic.
Creamer Potatoes In the Self-Sufficient Garden
My grandma told me stories of “stealing” baby potatoes on the farm where she grew up. They would go into the garden, carefully reach under the potato plants and pull out a few of the sweet, tiny potatoes for supper. Nowadays, grocery stores sell bags of these tiny potatoes. Whole fields are dedicated to the cultivation of potatoes for early harvest and sale.
This was a special treat on my great-grandparent’s farm, but they would never dream of harvesting their entire crop as creamer potatoes. Our ancestors winter survival depended on storing large quantities of staple crops like the potato.
As a modern-day self-sufficient, we can have the best of both worlds. Storing potatoes for winter is no longer a matter of life and death, so we can be a little more indulgent when it comes to enjoying the special treats that our garden has in store for us. That being said, it would be fairly irresponsible of us as “homesteaders” to not save at least enough potatoes to grow next year’s crop.