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Danshaku potatoes are small to medium in size and are round to oblong in shape. The light brown to tan skin is thick and rough with a few, deep-set eyes scattered across the surface. The flesh is cream-colored to pale white, firm, and moist. Danshaku potatoes are a floury potato with a high starch content. When cooked, they are mealy and have a strong flavor with a hint of nuttiness.
Danshaku potatoes are available year-round, with peak season in late spring to early summer.
Danshaku potatoes, botanically classified as Solanum tuberosum ‘Danshaku,’ are members of the Solanaceae, or nightshade family. Also known as the Irish Cobbler potato, Danshaku potatoes are a popular general, all-purpose potato in Japan and account for around sixty percent of the country’s potato production. The potatoes were initially associated with European cuisine, but as western-style cuisine became more popular, Danshaku potatoes were widely accepted and are used today in both sweet and savory preparations.
Danshaku potatoes are an excellent source of vitamins C and B6. They also contain potassium, fiber, magnesium, and antioxidants.
Danshaku potatoes are best suited for cooked applications such as mashing, boiling, and roasting. They are often used to make Japanese potato croquettes, boiled for stews and soups, and used for mashed potatoes. Danshaku potatoes pair well with onions, sausage, bacon, beef, chicken, and chives. They will keep for a couple of weeks at room temperature when stored in a dry, cool, dark place. If they have been peeled, they will last for 3-5 days when submerged in water in the refrigerator.
In post-World War II Japan, when food shortages were common, the Danshaku potato was used as an easy source of nutrients and carbohydrates. Since the 1970s, Westernized styles of cuisine and yoshoku, a branch of Japanese fusion food heavily influenced by Western flavors, have become prevalent in Japan allowing Danshaku potatoes to rise in popularity. Today, potatoes are found throughout the country, and the Danshaku potato is used in various culinary applications, even appearing as an ice cream flavor.
Dutch traders first introduced the potato to Japan in the 17th century. At the time, it was grown as an ornamental plant, but in the early 1900s, Baron Ryukichi Kawata, a senior executive of an agricultural company, planted the western Irish Cobbler variety to increase potato production in Japan. The Japanese then renamed the potato in honor of Kawata, calling it Danshaku, which means “baron” in Japanese. Danshaku potatoes remain popular in Japan today and are grown primarily in Hokkaido, where the cool climate is ideal for potato cultivation.
Recipes that include Danshaku Potatoes. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Shizuoka Gourmet||Korokke Croquettes with Danshaku Potatoes|