The arrival of Jersey Royal potatoes in the shops is one of the first harbingers of Spring in the UK. The small, sweet delicious potatoes are grown on the island of Jersey in the English Channel just off the coast of France. The island has a mild, temperate, climate, and is perfect for growing the potatoes.
Jersey farmer Hugh de La Haye discovered the Jersey potato back in 1880. The growing of the small potatoes now accounts for two-thirds of the island's agriculture.
Buying and Serving
The potatoes early in the season are sweeter, smaller and tender than the later ones, but both are good.
- They are a rich source of fiber and vitamin C so always buy unwashed potatoes which will retain more nutrients.
- Jersey Royals should always be stored in a cool, dark place and to enjoy them at their best eat as quickly as possible (this is true for all potatoes).
- The potatoes are best cooked with the skins on, again to preserve nutrients and flavor.
- Jerseys need only a quick wash and definitely no scrubbing as this will break the tender skin.
- Steam or boil the potatoes until tender and serve simply with butter and a sprig of mint.
- The season of the outdoor-grown Jersey Royal potatoes is short from the end of March to July, so they should be enjoyed while available.
- When you see the name Jersey Royals, you know that you can trust you are purchasing quality, as, apart from rhubarb, they are the only vegetable to have Protected Destination of Origin (PDO) status, meaning they can only be grown on Jersey.
- They are often referred to as the 'champagne of the potato world' by people who care about where their food comes from. Each bag of Jersey Royals sold can be traced back to the farm on which the potatoes were grown, guaranteeing taste and quality.
- The name Jersey Royals is emblematic of the sun soaked island, the fresh sea breezes and, in some cases, the 'Vraic', or seaweed, which is used by farmers as a natural fertiliser.
Jersey Royals are a great source of vitamin B1 (Thiamin) and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine). They also contain quercetin (flavonoids: flavonols) and rutin (flavonoids: flavonols). 100g of potatoes provide the following: 72 kcals, 1.8 g protein, 0.1 g fat, 17 g carbohydrate, 1.2 g fiber.