Cornish farmers grow about 3,500 hectares of potatoes, divided between early potatoes, salad potatoes and main crop potatoes, many of which are sold to the big crisp manufacturers. About 1,000 hectares of potatoes are grown for crisps in Cornwall.
In the spring for just a few weeks, the Cornish early new potatoes are dug up and ready to eat. ‘Cornish earlies’ are small, soft skinned potatoes with a very special flavour; they are highly valued and delicious served with Cornish butter. The taste is rich and sweet, as most of the natural sugar has yet to turn to starch.
Unlike other new potatoes you see on the supermarket shelves which are washed before being packed, Cornish earlies are sold with a bit of soil still on them; washing removes some of the skin and this should be done just before cooking or they will not keep.
Cornish earlies are mostly grown in the far west of the county where the mild winters and the rich soil provide ideal conditions for such a delicate crop. The crop is planted in late December/early January and harvested from the end of April.
Meat from sheep less than one year old is called lamb. Mutton is meat from older sheep, over a year old. It has a stronger flavour than lamb and may be less tender.
The method of cooking any cut of meat is determined by how tender it is likely to be. The tender cuts of lamb, such as leg and loin benefit from fast cooking at a high heat while the tougher cuts, such as shank (knuckles) and neck, are better cooked slowly.