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Kerrs Pink Potatoes
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Kerr’s Pink potatoes are short, round to oval tubers with an irregular and slightly flattened shape. The skin is semi-rough, firm, and light brown, covered in patches of pink blush with a few, medium-set red-pink eyes scattered across the surface. Underneath the skin, the flesh ranges in color from pale yellow to ivory and is fine-grained, dry, and starchy. When cooked, Kerr’s Pink potatoes have a floury texture creating a soft, fluffy consistency with a mild and earthy flavor.
Kerr’s Pink potatoes are harvested in the late summer through fall.
Kerr’s Pink potatoes, botanically classified as Solanum tuberosum, are a mid-season variety that belongs to the Solanaceae or nightshade family. The irregularly shaped tubers are considered a main crop cultivar, valued for their mild flavor, light pink skin, and extended storage capabilities. Kerr’s Pink potatoes are the second most popular potato variety produced in Ireland, following the rooster potato, and are considered a general-purpose variety utilized in many different culinary applications. Though the variety has seen commercial success in the past years, it is having difficulty adapting to the modern market as many consumers desire more uniform, aesthetically attractive potatoes.
Kerr’s Pink potatoes are a good source of the mineral potassium, which can help regulate fluid levels in the body, and are a source of vitamin C, which is an antioxidant that protects the immune system’s ability to fight against external aggressors. The tubers also contain vitamin B6, folate, and fiber.
Kerr’s Pink potatoes are best suited for cooked applications such as roasting, boiling, steaming, and baking. The round and lopsided tubers are considered an all-purpose variety, allowing them to be used in the majority of general recipes calling for potatoes. The skin is commonly left on during the cooking process to help retain nutrients, and the potatoes are popularly boiled or steamed and then mashed with herbs. In Ireland, a famous potato recipe known as colcannon mixes mashed potatoes with kale or cabbage to create a filling side dish. Kerr’s Pink potatoes are also sliced and baked in creamy casseroles, sliced and cooked into wedges and chips, or cubed and tossed into soups, stews, and chowders. To create a sweet and savory side dish, the tubers can be mashed with apples, cider, milk, sugar, lemon, and spices to create an apple-potato pudding. Kerr’s Pink potatoes pair well with onions, garlic, herbs such as chives, parsley, and dill, celery, spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, green onions, hard-boiled eggs, and meats such as tuna, poultry, beef, and pork. The tubers will keep 1-4 months when stored in a cool, dry, and dark place.
In Ireland, Kerr’s Pink potatoes are commonly sold in pre-packaged bags at the grocery store to market the variety as a general, all-purpose potato. Many locals have traditionally used the bags of Kerr’s Pink potatoes to make boxty, also known as “poor man’s bread.” This traditional potato pancake has been made since the tuber’s introduction to Europe in the 16th century and consists of flour, grated and mashed potatoes, and baking soda. The dough is then cooked on a griddle into a flattened bread-like pancake. In the modern-day, boxty has been reinterpreted with many different variations and is popularly used as a tortilla substitute, stuffed like a crepe, boiled into dumplings, or served as a breakfast item.
Kerr’s Pink potatoes were created in Cornhill, Scotland, in the early 20th century by breeder J. Henry Kerr. The variety is believed to be a cross between smith’s early and fortyfold potatoes and was first released under the name Henry’s Seedling before it was changed to Kerr’s Pink in commercial markets. Kerr’s Pink potatoes were introduced to Ireland approximately ten years after its Scottish release and quickly became one of the most popular varieties found in the country. The variety was so well established in Irish culture that many locals, to this day, claim the cultivar to be an old Irish variety. Kerr’s Pink potatoes are available through specialty growers for commercial markets and can be found in Ireland and in limited quantities throughout the rest of the United Kingdom.