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This is the time of year that gardeners in our area begin to plant potatoes. Planting potatoes two or three weeks before the last frost date will generally produce satisfactory results, since potatoes are cool weather vegetables.

Potatoes planted after March 31 will still grow, but the yields may be smaller than those that were planted earlier. Potatoes planted now will form tubers before the vines start to wither in the summer heat.

Planting potatoes starts with something called a seed potato, which can be prepared by cutting up a potato that has several buds. These sections are planted about an inch below the surface of the soil. As the potato plants begin to grow, soil is mounded around the plants.

Young or new potatoes are always a treat, but most gardeners wait until the foliage of the potato plants dies back in the fall before digging and storing their crop.

Each spring, we plant several varieties of potatoes. I like red skin, Yukon gold, purple, blue, and fingerling potatoes. We do not eat a lot of potatoes, so we designate a small portion of our garden to potato production.

Our crop will last into the early part of the following year, when the potatoes begin to shrivel and grow shoots.

Last week, I made potato patties with the remainder of the good potatoes from last year’s crop. Potato patties or cakes can be made from shredded, thinly sliced, diced, or mashed potatoes. Many restaurants serve them as a breakfast item.

I chose to pre-cook my potatoes before making them into patties, which hastened the cooking time.

The patties can be served with cheese, chopped chives, and/or sour cream. In Germany, potato patties or cakes are served with applesauce.

Potato Patties

Ingredients:

4 potatoes

4 tablespoons rice flour

1 tablespoon butter, melted

½ teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon pepper

1 egg, beaten

Butter or oil for frying

Preparation:

Wash and peel potatoes. Cook or bake until slightly soft. Cool.

Grate potatoes and put them in a bowl with the remaining ingredients. Mix well.

Make the mixture into flattened patties. (I used an ice cream scoop to make patties of uniform size.)

Fry patties in butter or oil until golden brown. (It took about 3 minutes per side.)

Serve warm.

For questions about recipes or other information, contact Susan Maslowski at mudriverpottery@aol.com or go to metrokanawha.com. Susan also has a Farmer’s Table Facebook page.

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