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Blue Raccoon Fingerling Potatoes
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Blue Raccoon fingerling potatoes are small in size and are slender, cylindrical, and oblong in shape, averaging 2-3 centimeters in diameter and 5-8 centimeters in length. The semi-smooth skin is deep purple with irregular golden spots, and there are many shallow eyes scattered across the surface creating a slightly bumpy texture. The dense, firm flesh is marbled with shades of cream, pale white, violet, and deep purple. When cooked, Blue Raccoon fingerling potatoes have a dry and waxy texture with an earthy flavor.
Blue Raccoon fingerling potatoes are available in the late spring through early summer.
Blue Raccoon fingerling potatoes, botanically classified as Solanum tuberosum, are a rare variety and are members of the Solanaceae or nightshade family. Most commonly found at specialty grocers and farmers markets in California, Blue Raccoon fingerling potatoes are prized for their small size at full maturity and ability to grow in tight spaces in backyard gardens.
Blue Raccoon fingerling potatoes are an excellent source of potassium, vitamin C, and the antioxidant, anthocyanin, which gives the potato its purple color and has been studied for its potential as an immune system booster.
Blue Raccoon fingerling potatoes are best suited for cooked applications such as roasting, braising, boiling, baking, and frying. They can be cut in half and roasted, or thinly sliced to make chips. They can also be roasted and smashed for a crispy side dish or roasted and sliced for use in salads. Fingerling potatoes can also be stuffed with cheeses and baked. Blue Raccoon fingerling potatoes pair well with savory herbs, balsamic, garlic, pork, poultry, red meat, sockeye salmon, blue cheese, apple-cider butter, Romanesco, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, red and yellow beets, and carrots. They will keep for a couple of weeks when stored in a cool, dry, and dark place.
Purple potatoes have long been used in their native land of South America as a source of food and also as a natural purple dye. The Incas even learned how to preserve these tubers for up to ten years, which was especially helpful in case of crop failures.
Fingerling potatoes originated in South America, and potatoes with a purple or blue hue, like the Blue Raccoon fingerling potato, are more specifically native to the high plains and mountain slopes of Peru and Bolivia. Purple potatoes spread to Europe in the 16th century when Spanish sailors used their nutritional content to combat scurvy during long voyages. They were introduced to the United States in the mid-1980s, where they became popular for their versatility and health benefits. Today, purple potato varieties are commercially cultivated in South America, North America, and Europe. Blue Raccoon fingerling potatoes are extremely rare and have been spotted at farmers markets in the United States.