The Carola potato has a classic potato form, round to ovate with a slightly irregular shape. Medium sized the Carola has a smooth, pale burlap to yellow-hued skin that is often lightly freckled. The Carola potato has a dense, waxy flesh and holds its shape well when cooked, similar to that of the Yukon gold potato. The flesh of cooked Carola potato is creamy yellow and offers a smooth, fluffy, fine-grained and moist texture. Renowned for its superior flavor it is equal parts buttery and earthy with a nutty sweetness. The Carola potato is entirely edible, the skin a mere coat of protection for its flesh.
The Carola potato, botanically a part of Solanum tuberosum and a member of the Solanaceae family, is a midseason, yellow fleshed type potato. Experiencing a brief period of popularity in 1980’s Europe, the Carola potato has struggled to reach wide commercial success in the potato market largely in part due to the existence of the yukon gold potato. While the Carola potato may be the best tasting yellow fleshed variety on the market, the yukon gold has a leg up as it produces a higher yield, a characteristic which plays a major role in the success of commercial varieties.
As a yellow-fleshed potato, the Carola offers a healthy dose of vitamin C. Carola potatoes also contain fiber, potassium, iron, calcium, carotenoids, and antioxidants.
The Carola potato’s firm texture holds up well to grilling and roasting. Their sturdy texture also makes them an ideal salad potato. Carola potatoes are known to be a superb baking and mashing potato, offering a flavor that needs little alteration aside from a little bit of salt, pepper and butter or cream. Carola potatoes can also be used to make fries or potato hash. Boiled or steamed and pureed they can be used to add flavor and viscosity to soups and stews. Sliced into thin rounds, they make an excellent scalloped or casserole potato. The buttery flavor of Carola potatoes pairs well with red onion, tomato, radish, thyme, parsley, chives, grainy mustard, vinegar, melting and blue cheeses, bacon, chicken livers, and hardboiled egg. An excellent storage potato the Carola will maintain its high-quality flavor, moisture, and texture for several months when stored in a cool, dry and dark place such as a root cellar.
The Carola potato is believed to be a German hybrid of either the weima potato or the ober arnbacher fruhe potato bread by Walter Wallmüller of Saatzuchtwirtschaft and released in 1979. It is believed to have originally made its way to the United States via immigrants coming into New York and the Midwest. The Carola potato has a small, but growing market in the United States sold as a “specialty potato” and is most often cultivated in home gardens and on small farms. The best place to find the Carola potato outside of a seed catalog is at your local farmers’ market or specialty grocer. A mid-season potato the Carola is typically ready for harvest within 110 days of planting. Carola potato plants require well-drained, loose soil and consistent watering. They also require ample sun exposure, at least 6 hours a day.