Breeding, Research, Trends, Varieties

Canada releases new pink potato

This year, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) has released 16 new kinds of potatoes, with bright pink and purple being touted as the hot new fashion colours for potatoes in Spring 2016. The potatoes were unearthed Wednesday 10 Feb., at events in Guelph, Ont., Frederiction, N.B. and Lethbridge, Alta. According to AAFC, the current crop of potatoes was narrowed down from over 120,000 hybrid seedlings. Those seedlings were grown, tested, bred with other varieties, measured and tested again to isolate the genes that make these new potatoes more appealing. 

Researchers are trying to breed potatoes that produce better yields, are more resistant to pests and diseases or are easier to process. They’re also looking for better nutritional value and desirable cooking qualities – potatoes are given boil, bake, French fry and chip scores, too. According to the agency, the pink potato has a “good” boil score but only a “fair” bake score. During boil tests, potatoes are ranked by AAFC on appearance, texture, off-flavour, sloughing and discolouration. Bake tests look at the same, but don’t consider sloughing. A bake score of less than 55 or a boil score of less than 50 is considered unacceptable. In case you were wondering, the new pink potato, AR2016-07, has an overall mean bake score of 64. Another Canadian innovation, the Yukon Gold East potato, has an overall mean bake score of 83.

Editor & Publisher: Lukie Pieterse

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