January 13, 2010, 7:34 am

Roast potatoes are one of the most traditional of British side dishes. But really great roast potatoes, ones that are crisp on the outside and soft and fluffy in the middle, need really great potatoes. You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear and you can’t make super roasties from just any old spud.

For the Roasties range Sainsbury’s and Greenvale AP, the UK’s largest supplier of fresh potatoes, have looked at what makes a great roastie. They’ve gone back to the traditional British potato breeds that were popular years ago when home cooking was at its zenith and roast potatoes were staple fodder.

The real ‘Brit Pots’ are heritage breeds that have stood the test of time in terms of taste and versatility. They may have vanished from the supermarket shelves because of their short growing season but they have been kept alive by gourmets and specialist growers alike.

Now Sainsbury’s has decided it’s time for a Brit Pot revival. The heritage breeds that passed Sainsbury’s taste tests include Red Duke of York – a variety with moist yellow flesh and a superb flavour, Red King Edward – a red version of the traditional King Edward which is even better to eat and has white flesh, Edzell Blue – an unusual variety, prized for its excellent taste, beautiful blue skin and white flesh, and British Queen – a 100 year-old variety, well known for its good shape, white skin and white flesh packed with taste. All these varieties are perfect for roasting and are set to regain pride of place on the British dining table.

Greenvale works closely with its growers to ensure only the best and tastiest potatoes make it to the shelves. These special varieties are only grown in small quantities by dedicated and expert farmers so each harvest mimics the profiles of home-grown produce.

Although Sainsbury’s and Greenvale recommend these varieties for roasties they are also suitable for mashing and chipping. The Roasties are available in 1kg packs from Sainsbury’s stores. Because of the short growing period the variety in the bag will vary, according to the time of year, but their great British taste remains unchallenged.

For more information visit the Greenvale AP website at


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