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Nicola potatoes are uniform tubers with an elongated, oval to oblong shape. The skin is smooth, thin, and light brown to yellow, with a few shallow eyes scattered across the surface. Underneath the skin, the flesh is firm, dense, and golden yellow. Nicola potatoes have a mild, nutty, and earthy flavor with a waxy consistency that develops into a smooth, fine-grained finish when cooked. The tubers also retain their shape when heated due to their low starch and high moisture content.
Nicola potatoes are available year-round, with multiple harvests in the late winter through spring and in the late summer through fall.
Nicola potatoes, botanically classified as Solanum tuberosum, are a mid-season variety that belongs to the Solanaceae or nightshade family. The tubers are considered a relatively new cultivar, having been developed in the late 1960s in Germany, and are highly favored by specialty growers and home gardeners for their growth characteristics. Nicola potatoes are somewhat resistant to disease, produce high yields, are consistent each season, and are aesthetically smooth and clean, which makes them appealing for sale in local markets. The variety is considered an every day, table potato and can be used in a wide variety of cooked applications.
Nicola potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin B6 and C and are a good source of fiber, manganese, potassium, copper, and phosphorus. The tubers are also considered to have a low glycemic index, which means the flesh contains slowly digested carbohydrates that can help regulate insulin levels and prevent a spike in blood sugar.
Nicola potatoes are best suited for cooked applications such as boiling, baking, and roasting. The tubers are most well-known for retaining their shape once cooked, which makes them favorable for use in hot and cold salads. Nicola potatoes can also be cubed and tossed into soups, roasted and smashed, made into gnocchi, sliced and baked into a gratin, boiled and mashed, or quartered and roasted. In Europe, the potatoes have become a popular variety to grow for the Christmas season and are served with roasts and soups. Nicola potatoes pair well with meats such as brisket, poultry, sausage, fish, and pork, herbs such as dill, rosemary, thyme, and sage, squash, arugula, ginger, walnuts, aioli, cranberries, and apples. The tubers will keep 2-4 weeks when stored whole and unwashed in a cool and dark place with good air circulation.
Nicola potatoes were awarded “potato of the year” in 2016 as a part of a marketing campaign to promote diverse varieties in Germany. It has been reported that the German commercial market features about ten varieties of potatoes even though the country is home to over 150 registered varieties. In an effort to draw attention to local varieties and preserve the diverse selection, the “potato of the year” campaign provides visibility and recognition for valuable cultivars. Nicola potatoes were selected for their exceptional cultivation traits and quality flavor. In order to be awarded, the cultivar had to be approved by different organizations that belong to the “potato of the year” group, and these organizations range from breeders, to museums, to farming associations.
Nicola potatoes were created in the late 1960s by Dr. Hans-Juergen Fitschen of Europlant, which is a seed breeding company located in Luneburg, Germany. Developed from a cross between a wild potato variety and clivia, Nicola potatoes were officially registered in Germany in 1973 and quickly spread to the Netherlands for commercial cultivation. The cultivar is now widely available for cultivation and has become highly grown around the world. Nicola potatoes can be found at local markets in the Netherlands, Germany, the United Kingdom, southern Europe, northern Africa, the United States, and Canada. They are also available through online seed catalogs for home garden use.