(POSTED: December 1, 2004)
'Spud Island' Potatoes...
Why Prince Edward Island Potatoes?
Because Prince Edward Island potatoes taste great!
Just as connoisseurs of fine wine say they can taste the soil in which the grapes are grown, the Prince Edward Island potato has a flavour that is unique because of the Island's rich red soil. If you could visualize the perfect place for growing potatoes, it would be Prince Edward Island. The Island's rich sandy soil, clean air and water, and its long cold winters that naturally cleanse the soil, provide the perfect environment for growing high quality potatoes. In addition, experience and adaptation of the latest growing, storing and shipping techniques have given Prince Edward Island growers the ability to deliver excellent quality potatoes.
Everyone loves Prince Edward Island potatoes and they are in demand around the world. Prince Edward Island is small, but its quality potatoes can hold their own in competition with the world's best.
P.E.I. farmers have been producing potatoes for the world since 1790. Today, potatoes are P.E.I.’s primary cash crop. Potatoes account for more than one-third of the total farm cash receipts in the province, which is more than the combined value of all other Island crops. Prince Edward Island enjoys the reputation as Canada’s leading potato province, responsible for almost one-third of Canadian production.
Prince Edward Island potatoes are grown for three specific markets: seed, table potatoes, and processing. Seed potatoes are sold to commercial potato growers and home gardeners to produce next year's crop; table potatoes in the retail and food service sectors; and processing potatoes are manufactured into French fries, potato chips, and other processed potato products.
Almost 50% of the potatoes grown on P.E.I. are used by the processing industry. Most are processed into frozen potato products, which are available across Canada and are exported to close to 30 countries around the world. The two world-class French fry processors in the province are Cavendish Farms and McCain Foods. Frozen potato products from P.E.I. are available across Canada and are exported. A company called Small Fry Snack Foods Ltd. produces potato chips which are distributed in Eastern Canada and in select export markets. A dehydration plant, owned by AgraWest Ltd., produces potato granules for further processing into many additional products.
In addition to the important Canadian market, seed and table potatoes are shipped to over 20 countries annually. Some customer countries are Venezuela, Italy, Ukraine, Portugal, and Thailand. While markets vary from year to year, over the past few years about 50% of our table potatoes have been sold in Canada, 20% have been marketed in the United States, and approximately 30% are sold to other countries.
It is no surprise that P.E.I. has the nickname Spud Island!
Choosing the Right PEI Potato
The key to choosing the right potato variety for your taste is knowing the relationship between the appearance of the potato and its intended use. Consider the size, shape and colour of the potato.
VARIETY SHAPE SKIN FLESH BAKE BOIL FRIES CHIPS
Russet Burbank long russet white X X X
Century Russet long russet white X X
Frontier Russet oblong russet white X X
Goldrush long russet white X X X
Shepody long smooth white X X X
Kennebec oblong smooth white X X X
Superior oval flaked white X X
Norchip round white white X X
Red Pontiac round red white X X
Yukon Gold round yellow yellow X X X XNew Potatoes are young, newly harvested potatoes of any variety.They have thin, feathery skins and are best boiled and eaten with the skins on. They should be stored in the refrigerator and used within one week.
Handling and Storing PEI Potatoes
Handle Prince Edward Island Potatoes gently. Remember, like other fruits and vegetables, they are perishable. Potatoes seem hardy and indestructible but they bruise easily if dropped or when something heavy is placed on them.
When you bring potatoes home, take them out of the plastic bag and put them in a paper bag. This protects them from light and lets them breathe.
Store potatoes in a cool, dark, well-ventilated area at temperatures between 7-1O°C (45-5O°F). Your kitchen cupboard may be much too warm; an outside wall or dark closet elsewhere in your home will be cooler and more suitable for storing potatoes. Never refrigerate potatoes unless they are "New" potatoes. Cold temperatures can cause dark spots and an unpleasant, sweet flavour when cooked, while warm temperatures encourage sprouting, shrivelling and loss of nutrients and moisture.
Preparing PEI Potatoes
Prince Edward Island Potatoes are convenient and versatile. Before cooking, wash gently with a vegetable brush using cool water.
Potatoes contribute many nutrients to our diets. To keep the nutrient content high:
Cook potatoes with skins on whenever possible.
If peeling, use a vegetable parer or sharp knife and keep the peeling very thin since some of the nutrients are found close to the skin.
Cook whole or in large pieces for the shortest time possible.
Use low heat and a small amount of water.
Save leftover cooking liquid for gravy, soups, stews or baked goods.
One medium raw potato:
150 g (1/3 lb.)
250 ml (1 cup) sliced or diced
175 ml (1/4 cup) mashed,
grated or shredded potatoes
Canadian and American food recommendations encourage variety and moderation in our food choices. More emphasis is placed on eating more fruits and vegetables and the selection of lower fat alternatives.
Potatoes are a healthy choice!
per 150 g serving (one medium)
Energy 109 Cal
Protein 3.7 g
Fat 0.2 g
Carbohydrate 23 g
Dietary Fibre 2.7 g
Sodium 5 mg
Potassium 729 mg
Percentage of Recommended Daily Intake
Vitamin C 45%
Vitamin B6 14%
Pantothenic Acid 6%