A Lincolnshire-based potato growing business has rolled out a new poignantly named roasting spud ahead of the Christmas surge, and it cooks 25% faster than other varieties.
The new potato – named after the eponymous cartoon clownfish in Finding Nemo due to its unusual markings – has been developed by potato experts and one of the UK’s largest suppliers, Branston in Lincolnshire.
It is a phureja hybrid variety, combining the fast-growing nature of original Peruvian potatoes with the hardiness of modern European alternatives.
It has a bi-coloured appearance due to its distinctive pink skin and creamy yellow patches, as well as a golden yellow flesh with a more uniform cell structure, making it cook much quicker.
Not only does it reduce cooking time by 25%, it also has environmental benefits of requiring less water and fertiliser than usual potatoes.
The potatoes will be sold exclusively at supermarket chain Tesco for this festive season, costing £2 for a three kilo pack. Demand for roasting potatoes soars around 500% in the Christmas buildup, so they are arriving at an ideal time.
Branston agronomy director, Dr David Nelson, who is known in the industry as Dr Potato, said that the Nemo variety had the hallmarks of becoming a true world beater.
Dr Nelson said: “It has been a real labour of love working on this project for the last six years as we were looking at a variety that would not only taste superb but would also save on roasting time.
“Nemo is a natural hybrid that has been developed through carefully crossing an exceptionally wonderful tasting fast-cooking Peruvian variety called Inca Bella and a popular, red-skinned salad variety called Franceline which grows well in the UK climate.
“As this is a new potato we only have a limited amount this year but enough to cover the all-important Christmas period when roasting potatoes are at their most popular.”
Tesco potato buyer Hannah Moseley said: “Just about everyone who has tasted the new Nemo variety consider it to be the best roasting potato ever – even better than the King Edward or Maris Piper.
“Not only do they taste wonderfully rich and buttery but they are also light and fluffy on the inside with a beautiful golden crispness on the outside – basically perfect roasties. But an added bonus is that they roast about 10 minutes quicker than European varieties.
“We have a limited amount this year for the all-important Christmas period but will then have to wait until more are grown which will be around September next year.”