Potatoes - Varieties used for Chips

Potatoes used for chips (french fries) tend to be high dry matter so that they fry well.

The main varieties used in Europe and the UK for preparing potato chips are:

BINTJE, a white Dutch potato dating from 1910. This is used a great deal in Europe for chipping, and it resists disintegration on cooking. It is used particularly for making frozen chips for the catering trade.

DUNDROD, a white first early from Northern Ireland, introduced 1987. It is sometimes used early in the season for chips.

MARIS PIPER is by some margin the chip shop favourite; a white, firm, dry potato too familiar to need much comment here. The flavour and texture of its chips is excellent.

RUSSET BURBANK is the main chipping potato in the United States, and it is used for making the French Fries in McDonald's outlets. This is a white potato with a brownish skin; an early maincrop from 1875.

SATURNA (Netherlands, 1974) is an excellent European yellow skinned frying potato a little lower yielding than some of the alternatives.

SPEY (introduced 1998) is an introduction by the SCRI (Scottish Crop Research Institute). It is mainly white skinned, but with red eyes. It is not so high in dry matter as some other chipping varieities but it has excellent flavour and is also OK for growing in gardens.

VICTORIA (introduced 2000) is a new yellow skinned Dutch variety suitable for chipping. There was a famous variety in the 1800s (raised by William Paterson) with the same name, but the two are not related. Someone told me that the new 'Victoria' is actually named after Victoria Beckham.

Notice that there are no red-skinned potatoes here. These tend to have higher glucose levels, which means that they generally form browner chips. At the present time these are unfashionable. Perhaps we'll get back to them in the future.

Nigel Deacon / Diversity website / 2010

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