Pink potato among 16 new kinds of spuds touted by Ottawa

Bright pink and purple are the hot new fashion colours for Spring 2016, if you're a potato. The federal government has licensed colourful new breeds for sale in the marketplace, hinting that a rainbow of spuds won't be a dud.

Rainbow of tubers set to carve slice out of traditional marketplace

The new pink potato, unveiled this week in events across Canada. (Clara Baillot/ICI Radio-Canada)

Bright pink and purple are the hot new fashion colours for Spring 2016, for potatoes. 

Every year the federal government releases new kinds of potatoes to the marketplace: the spuds that eventually end up sprouting in our gardens, turning golden in our deep fryers and mushed under our mashers.

This year, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) has released 16 new kinds of potatoes, including one that may be better than the current standard French fry potato, the Russet Burbank.

There's even a pink potato among the new tubers.

The potatoes were unearthed Wednesday at events in Guelph, Ont., Frederiction, N.B. and Lethbridge, Alta. 

Potatoes with appeal

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. 

Pink is 'good'

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. 


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