Saturday, 11 December 2010

Alaska Sweetheart Potatoes

Alaska Sweetheart Potatoes
This is going to be the winter of the potatoes. Not only did we grow 7 kinds ourselves, we picked up another 14 varieties to try from Pinehaven Farm. This is one of the ones we grew ourselves; the seed came from Eagle Creek Seed Potatoes in Alberta.

As you can see, the most notable feature of Alaska Sweetheart is the pink tone to the flesh, which matches the vibrant pink of the skin. There isn't much information out there about the history of this potato. People claim it was bred in Alaska, and it's clearly grown there. However, I don't find any references to it prior to the early 1990's and no information on its breeding.

While I like these potatoes, I have to admit I could be seduced away from them by pink potatoes with more intensely coloured flesh. For some reason, while the "blue" (purple) potatoes often have very strong colouring, the reds or pinks tend to be rather pale. I sliced several potatoes before I got one that I thought was intense enough in colouring to be a good sample. You do get the odd one that's even stronger a pink than this one, but many will be a bit paler.

Alaska Sweetheart is a mid-to-late maturing potato, ready in 80 to 90 days. It has a reputation as a shy producer, and we did get less of them than of some other varieties. I can find no information on disease resistance, and fortunately we have had no problems in the garden to test them.

The potatoes are in general on the small side, and rather floury than waxy. They roast very nicely, but are also good boiled, mashed or fried (and in soup!) They are a bit soft, perhaps, for potato salad but it wouldn't be impossible. The flavour is a nice balanced and mild potato flavour. To help them keep their bright colour when cooked, steam them over water with a bit of vinegar in it. The vinegar won't be noticeable.

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