They are known by names such as “papas antiguas” (meaning “ancient potatoes”) or “papas bonitas” (meaning “pretty potatoes”), amongst other names.
Some varieties have reddish skin. These are mostly farmed in the north of the islands.
A variety known as “papas negras menudas” has dark skin and yellow flesh.
A very pale skinned one is only grown in a small area of the north.
Some say the “bonitas” and the “negras menudas” are the best varieties.
All the varieties produce very small potatoes, with firm, waxy flesh and very good flavour.
To cook any of these potatoes, they are boiled right in their skins in highly-salted water, and served with a green or green sauce called “mojo.”
Papas antiguas were brought to Canary Islands in the 1500s. They used to just be eaten by the farmers and locals.
Now the islanders are promoting them, and are getting government subsidies for both production and marketing.
An association has been formed, the “Asociación Canaria de Las Papas Antiguas de Canarias” (Canary Islands Association of Antique Potatoes.)
The association has applied for EU “Denomination of Origin” for the potatoes.