Arran Victory potato is cultivated on the Isle of Arran and it was named in celebration of the end of World War I in 1918. Its defining feature is the deep purple-blue hue of its skin and whiter-than-most within. The spectacular skin colour fades on cooking but the flavour is excellent, differing slightly depending on the soil and conditions in which it is grown. It has a special place in Scottish history with a specific region, from one of the Inner Hebridean isles.
It is available from a few heritage potato seed growers and grown in kitchen gardens, but not available in shops. The few seed potato growers about have to make commercial decisions years in advance as to which potato varieties to save. Thankfully the Arran Victory is still around, in very small numbers, but interest is growing due to its flavour. Supermarkets have little interest in heritage varieties and without enthusiasts the Arran Victory would undoubtedly have been lost. It takes time and knowledge to source.
Arran on Scotland’s south west coast has a mild climate, if rather damp, thanks to the Gulf Stream. They can be harvested early and are fairly resistant to disease. They are ready to harvest in 20 weeks, usually early August, and give a good yield. They grow relatively tall so are best given shelter to grow.
Arran Victory is a good ‘all rounder’ but is particularly good steamed, mashed and roasted. It also makes very good chips. The roast potatoes have a crispy coating and fluffy dry centres. They do take a bit of care when boiling, as if left too long they will break down. Some seek them out for Remembrance Day commemorative events.