The Diamond Jubilee might be fading into memory but it’s still a very royal season.
Potato lovers have until about the end of June to snap up their Jersey Royals – one of the few British vegetables to still have a distinct season.
Portsmouth has a very special role in the distribution of the variety. Up to 1500 tonnes a day are transported from Jersey across to the UK and the majority come through Portsmouth’s port.
Jersey Royals have a substantial flavour and history. What consumers buy now is the result of 130 years of hand planting and traditional techniques.
Grower Tim Ward says: ‘These spuds are nutty with a smooth texture. They are grown on steep south-facing hills (known as côtils) which bask in the Jersey sunshine and are hand-planted and cared for around the clock.’
Jersey Royals are the only vegetable to have Protected Destination of Origin (PDO) status, meaning they can only be grown on Jersey, and each bag can be traced back to the farm on which the potatoes were grown.
The variety results from the sun soaked côtils, fresh sea breezes and, in some cases, the Vraic, or seaweed, which is used by farmers as a natural fertiliser.
Recipes and information are available at jerseyroyals.co.uk
Baked Jersey Royals with a chive and blue cheese glaze
(serves two as a starter)
Six medium Jersey Royals
One egg yolk
100ml double cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Lemon juice to taste
1/3 bunch chopped chives
20 small rocket leaves
100g blue cheese
Olive oil for drizzling
What to do:
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/Gas 4.
2. Sprinkle the Jersey Royals with sea salt and cook in the oven until tender when pricked with a knife (about 30 minutes).
3. Once baked, cut a 6mm deep cross in the top of the warm Jersey Royals and open slightly.
4. Drizzle the Jersey Royals with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
5. Fold the cream, lemon juice, blue cheese, chives and egg yolk in a bowl.
6. Spoon a little of the mixture into each of the Jersey Royals and place under a hot grill until golden.