Pinto Gold
Courtesy of Gregory Porter

The Pinto Gold Is a New Potato Developed by the University of Maine

You say poe-tay-toe, I say poe-tah-toe, we all say, ooh, it's pretty

Keep an eye out for the newest potato on the market, the Pinto Gold. It looks kind of like a dappled pony, and it may become your favorite new potato for roasting. The oblong potato was developed by the University of Maine, and it is a high-yielding, yellow-fleshed specialty variety with a distinctive appearance — its skin is marked with red and yellow patches.

“It’s unique and it’s very tasty,” said Gregory Porter, who leads the University of Maine’s potato breeding program, in a phone interview.

Porter named the potato “gold” for its yellow flesh and “pinto” for both its patchy coloration and oblong length, thinking of the speckling on pinto beans. (“Pinto” is Spanish for “painted,” and in addition to the spotted bean, also refers to horses with coats that are a mix of white and another color.)

He raves about the Pinto Gold and its suitability for roasting.

“It’s got a very nice, mild potato flavor, and kind of moist texture,” Porter told The Daily Meal. “It produces a small potato that you can easily cut into halves or quarters, the right size for roasting, and the red and yellow skin and yellow flesh makes for an attractive dish.”

Porter says that while the Pinto Gold is not really a French fry variety due to its smallish size, he sliced and pan-fried the spuds twice over a recent weekend with delicious results.

“Just slice them thin and fry them up with olive oil and a little salt and pepper,” he said. “They’re really good.”

The Pinto Gold grows best in cool, northern growing areas, where it’s been shown to produce a high yield of small potatoes with good to moderate bruise resistance.

The new potato’s history dates back to 2006, when two potato cultivars were combined in a USDA potato-breeding program in Idaho and later sent to Maine to grow. Organic growers have been trying them out since 2012. Although they’re unlikely to see mass production, Porter says the Pinto Gold’s coloration and size make it a nice fit for farmers markets, roadside stands, and some restaurants.

While it’s not the only two-colored potato out there, the Pinto Gold does have an unusual look.

“Generally you select for a single skin color,” Porter says. But the lively coloration and the taste have proven popular in early sales. “The response from the community was great. (Buyers) would take some and then come back to get more.”

This is the fourth potato variety released by the University of Maine since 2014. The other three varieties are mainly used for French fries and potato chips, Porter says. But we recommend you use your taters for these 50 delicious potato recipes.

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