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Danshaku potatoes are small potatoes with light brown, thick, rough skin. On the inside, the potato is firm, moist, and has a creamy white flesh. Danshaku potatoes are round to oblong in shape, are small to medium in size, and have deep eyes. Danshaku potatoes are a floury potato with a high starch content. When cooked, they are deliciously mealy and have a strong “potato” flavor with a hint of nuttiness to the skin.
Danshaku potatoes are available year-round, but have a peak season in late spring and early summer.
Danshaku potatoes are the standard Japanese potato. They are botanically classified as Solanum tuberosum. Danshaku potatoes are known to be wonderful general-purpose potatoes that may be used in all dishes that call for potatoes. Danshaku potatoes cook quickly, and are ready within 12 to 14 minutes of boiling. They tend to fall apart if cooked for much longer. Danshaku potatoes are also popular in quick-cook, processed potato products, such as the Calbee company’s instant potato soup.
Like other potatoes, Danshaku potatoes are rich in vitamins C and B6. They also contain potassium, fiber, magnesium and antioxidants.
Danshaku potatoes make great mashed potatoes. They are often used to make Japanese potato croquettes, and may be used in stews and soups. Danshaku potatoes may be boiled in their skins and eaten with salt or butter. They make a good roasted potato, but tend to be overly dry when cooked in the oven as a baked potato. Store whole Danshaku potatoes in paper bags or a perforated plastic bag in a dry, cool, dark environment. They will last for 1 to 2 weeks at room temperature. If they have been peeled, submerge the potatoes in water and keep them in the refrigerator, where they will last for 3 to 5 days.
Dutch traders first introduced the potato to Japan in the 17th century. At the time it was largely grown as an ornamental plant, and had no real place in Japanese cuisine, which uses rice as its main starch. But in the early 1900s, Baron Ryukichi Kawata – a senior executive of an agricultural company in Hakodate who had studied in Scotland and who was determined to expand Japan’s agriculture industry – began pushing for large-scale potato production in Japan. In 1908, he imported several varieties of potato plants and experimented with growing them. The Irish Cobbler was one that took to the Japanese climate and early on, the Japanese renamed the potato in honor of Kawata, calling it Danshaku (which means “baron” in Japanese). Kawata died in 1912, and did not get to see how the Danshaku potato fared in Japan. In post-World War II Japan, when food shortages were common, the potato was used as an easy source of nutrients and carbohydrates. Since the 1970s, Westernized styles of cuisine have also become more popular, even leading to a branch of cooking called yoshoku (referring to Japanese fusion food heavily influenced by the West). Today, potatoes are found throughout the country and the Danshaku potato is used in various culinary applications – even appearing as an ice cream flavor.
In the Western world, Danshaku potatoes are referred to as Irish Cobbler potatoes. Although the exact origin of the Irish Cobbler potato is unknown, they were first catalogued in the United States in 1876. Irish Cobbler potatoes were imported to Japan in the early 1900s, and were renamed Danshaku potatoes. Irish Cobbler potaoes in America have fallen out of favor as higher-yielding cultivars have taken their place. But in Japan, Danshaku potatoes remain popular, and Danshaku potatoes account for around 60% of the country’s potato production. Danshaku potatoes are grown primarily in Hokkaido, where the cool climate is ideal for potato cultivation.
Recipes that include Danshaku Potatoes. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Shizuoka Gourmet||Korokke Croquettes with Danshaku Potatoes|