Talk about delicious! Ahhhh....
I let a number of volunteer potatoes plants grow this year in my paths and my cabbage bed. I guess I missed some spuds last fall and they sprouted this spring. This week, the plants began shading the cabbage too much and I pulled them out. The prize was a few tiny little baby red potatoes on the roots.
These were so young and tender that the skins almost rubbed off when I washed them.
I boiled them 3 minutes, then threw them in the pan to roast next to the steak kebabs. I can't even describe how good they were!
When are potatoes ripe? I was asked about how early you can harvest potatoes. And what about unripe, green potatoes? Aren't they poisonous?
Oh my. Big question.
It turns out that green potatoes ARE toxic (if you eat an entire large green one, you'll probably feel sick). But the green is not from being unripe, but is produced when potatoes are exposed to sunlight. This causes them to make chlorophyll, which is green but not poisonous, and solanine, which is toxic but not green.
So any age or size potato can be green/toxic if it grows above ground, but baby potatoes of any age are fine to eat.
I've read that you can start to harvest potatoes 2-3 weeks after the plants finish blooming. (I pulled these baby potatoes before the plants had even budded and they were yummy.) Early potatoes will be small.
Potatoes will be fully grown when the plants die back. Die back timing depends on the variety. Last year my fingerlings died back in mid July. Last year, I harvested some potatoes then, some in the early fall and still more in the spring after the ground thawed. All were delicious.
It seems to me that you can never dig all of the potatoes in a bed and there'll always be a new crop of volunteers the next year.
potatoes (Solanum tuberosum)