Forget the greens, Irish parents are urging their offspring to eat their blues.
The blue potato is proving a hit across Ireland since it was recently introduced to the market by a Dublin family which has been growing vegetables for 200 years.
The Keogh family, which trades as Cream of the Crop, grew the lesser known variety to mark the international year of the potato.
Little did they guess what an impact blue mash would have on the Irish imagination.
"We were overwhelmed by the response," said Tom Keogh, general manager of Peter Keogh &Sons.
"It is a very, very old variety of potato. We got some of the seed last year and grew it as part of our heritage range."
The potato is a deep indigo blue and makes colourful mash and chips. The firm aimed to appeal to children - by selling them something with a little novelty interest.
The blue colour comes from the presence of anthocyanin, which is an antioxidant. Mr Keogh pointed out that the potatoes had health benefits too.
"They have a deep flavour," he said, "but I'm surprised too at the backlash against the idea of eating blue food."
Despite Ireland's long association with the potato, Mr Keogh said that its popularity is waning and overall sales fell by 14% last year.
By introducing new, lesser known varieties, potato growers hope to rekindle interest in the humble spud.
From Greg Atkinson
Purple or “blue” potatoes are smooth textured and excellent for mashing. Peel the potatoes and cut them into uniform small dice, so that they cook rapidly and evenly. Use just enough water to barely cover the potatoes, and when you drain them, just before mashing, save the cooking liquid and pour some back into the mash to make a smoother purée. The outrageous color is especially effective with dark or red meats and brilliant green vegetables. It’s nice to know that anthocyanins, the pigments that make some vegetables purple, are healthy antioxidants. Use this same technique to make mashed parsnips.
Makes about 6 cups, serving 6
3 pounds organic purple potatoes
1 tablespoon kosher salt
About 6 cups water
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch bits
1. Peel the potatoes and cut them into 1-inch cubes. Put the cubed potatoes and salt in a heavy, 1-gallon stockpot and cover them with the water. Cook the potatoes until they are fork-tender and just beginning to fall apart, about 15 minutes.
2. Drain the potatoes through a colander over a bowl or another pot to save the cooking liquid. Force the cooked potatoes through a ricer, or, if no ricer available, put the drained potatoes back in the pot in which they were cooked and mash them with a potato masher or a whisk. Whisk in the butter and just enough of the reserved cooking liquid to render the mashed potatoes smooth and creamy.
3. Covered and placed over the lowest possible heat, the potatoes can be held for up to 20 minutes before serving. If they are going to be held for more than a few minutes, make a ring of aluminum foil and put it between the burner and the pot of potatoes to keep them from burning on the bottom. Serve the mashed potatoes hot.
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