Why Are My Homegrown Potatoes Going To Mush? (Resolved)

Potatoes are the staple of every successful homesteader.  They provide the backbone to a wide variety of meals, and when the right selection of varieties is grown, they can see us through up to 10 months of the year.  However, one question I am being asked more and more frequently is ‘Why are my homegrown potatoes going to mush?’

The main reason homegrown potatoes go to mush when boiled is that the wrong variety is being grown.  Some potato varieties are best roasted, others should be baked and some are perfect for boiling.  Growing the correct variety of potatoes for boiling reduces the chances of the potato turning to mush.

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Why Do Some Potato Varieties Go To Mush When Boiling?

There are literally hundreds of different varieties of potatoes on the market.  From the small, knobbly Anya to the large Yukon Gold, there is a potato for every occasion. There are even blue varieties such as Violetta.

Potato varieties are classified by their Dry Matter State (DM).  The lower the DM, the waxier the potato and the higher the DM the more floury the potato

Low DM potatoes can be boiled for far longer before they begin to turn mushy.  A potato with a high DM can turn to mush within minutes of being placed into boiling water.

One solution I have found to prevent my homegrown potatoes from going to mush is to steam the potatoes rather than boil them.  Steaming doesn’t seem to cause the potato to break down anywhere near as quickly as boiling does.

Which Potatoes Are Least Likely To Turn To Mush?

There are a number of potato varieties we can grow that are fantastic for boiling.  In my experience, potatoes such as Baby GemAnya, and Charlotte all boil really well without turning to mush, as do Maris Peer and Pink Fir.

Baby Gem

Baby Gem potatoes are a type of small salad potato that has red skin and creamy white flesh.  Baby Gem potatoes are firm and hold their shape together well during cooking.

Anya

Anya’s are small golden-brown potatoes with creamy white flesh. Anya potatoes are said to be especially well suited to boiling, roasting, and steaming.  I always think Anya potatoes have a nutty flavor.  They are a firm favorite with my family.

Charlotte

Charlotte’s are another small potato with creamy white flesh, although they have pale yellow skin.  These are another potato that is particularly suited to boiling, roasting, and steaming.

Do Growing Conditions Affect Potatoes Going To Mush?

I have never found that growing conditions affect whether or not my potatoes go mushy when cooked. 

Anecdotally, there is evidence across various forums, that if a potato crop doesn’t receive enough water when the tubers are forming, the potatoes are more likely to go mushy when boiling.

There are also many claims that growing potatoes in compost makes them less likely to go mushy.

I have grown potatoes in light soils and heavy clay soils and I have grown them during really dry summers and very wet summers.  As far as I can tell, variety is the key to growing potatoes that do not go to mush when cooked.


Arya Patel

Arya Patel is HomesteadSavvy.com’s fruit and vegetable editor. Arya has been homesteading for well over a decade and over that time she has grown countless varieties of fruits and vegetables. She aims to become completely self-sufficient over the next 5 years.
Fruit & Vegetable Editor