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Spud probe as gardeners report mash turning to mush

3 January 2012
Spud probe as gardeners report mash turning to mush

A probe has been launched into home-grown spuds after gardeners reported that mash was turning to mush.
Grow-your-own enthusiasts said that varieties such as ‘King Edward’ have broken up and turned to mush before they were completely cooked.
Suffolk-based kitchen garden seedsmen DT Brown said it had received calls from a handful of customers who were concerned that something was wrong with the flesh of their potatoes.
DT Brown general manager Tom Jeffries said: “The variety ‘King Edward’ is a reasonably floury type with a high level of dry matter. But more early sunshine than normal in some parts of the UK has resulted in an even higher level of dry matter, and led to boiled potatoes becoming soup.
“I had the same problem on my own ‘King Edward’ and have resorted to steaming them to prevent this break-up,” Tim added.
DT Brown is urging customers to continue growing spuds, but to bear in mind that crop texture can vary from year to year.
It has also received reports of the same problem in the normally waxy-textured ‘Charlotte’ and ever-popular ‘Maris Piper’.
Amateur Gardening editor Tim Rumball said he’d experienced the same problem with spuds grown on his Bournemouth allotment.
Tim said: “I’ve had a real problem with the flesh of my potatoes turning floury when cooked. I first noticed this four years ago with my favourite 'Charlotte' second-earlies, which are usually semi-waxy, and It has occurred more or less each year since.
“This year has been really bad. All six of the varieties I've grown – even the usually bullet-proof 'Pink Fir Apple' – turn to mush if boiled vigorously. Gently steaming the tubers avoids the worst of the problem. The floury tubers bake, roast and chip beautifully.
“Nothing has changed in the way I grow the plants, so the problem has to be either a change in the environment, or the result of an unidentified plant sickness,” Tim summed up.