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Negra potatoes are small to medium in size, averaging 1-3 centimeters in diameter, and are oblong, cylindrical, to slightly lopsided in shape. The semi-smooth, thin skin ranges in color from dark purple to blue, almost appearing black, and is covered in light russeting with a few medium-set eyes. The flesh is firm, moist, and pale yellow to light gold. When cooked, Negra potatoes have a floury and dry consistency with a mildly sweet, earthy flavor.
Negra potatoes are available year-round.
Negra potatoes, botanically classified as Solanum tuberosum, is a generic descriptor used for naturally dark-skinned potatoes that belong to the Solanaceae family. Also known as the Papa Negra, Papa Mariva, Papa Tomasa Negra, and the Canary Black potato, Negra potatoes are grown along the coast and mountains of Peru, in other regions of South America, and on the Canary Islands. These tubers are somewhat rare, but they are highly favored for their deep hues, light flavor, and are used in a wide variety of culinary applications alongside cooked meats.
Negra potatoes contain potassium, iron, fiber, magnesium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and copper.
Negra potatoes are best suited for cooked applications such as boiling, frying, roasting, steaming, and mashing. The tubers are often roasted and served alone as a simple side dish with cooked meats, sliced and incorporated into salads with eggs and a spicy cheese sauce, mashed, or fried into crispy wedges. Negra potatoes are also popularly used in papa rellena, or Peruvian stuffed potatoes, where mashed potatoes are wrapped around a ground beef filling, molded into the shape of a potato, and fried. Negra potatoes pair well with oregano, cilantro, red onion, garlic, peppers, tomatoes, corn, quinoa, beans, and meats such as beef, pork, poultry, and fish. The tubers will keep 2-4 weeks when stored in a cool, dry, and dark place with good air circulation.
Negra potatoes are known as Canary Black potatoes on the Canary Islands and are one the most prized potatoes to use in the dish papas arrugadas, also known as wrinkled or crumpled potatoes. In the dish, Negra potatoes are boiled in salted water or actual sea water causing moisture to be removed from the tuber, creating a salty crust and a wrinkled texture. These potatoes are traditionally served with a spicy red salsa, known as mojo picon, or a green salsa with parsley and cilantro, known as mojo verde, and are consumed with fish, cooked meats, or as an appetizer.
Negra potatoes are native to South America, specifically Peru, and have been cultivated for thousands of years. Today these tubers have remained largely localized to regions along the Andes Mountains in South America, but they have also been found on the Canary Islands at local markets, especially on the island of Tenerife.