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Mezame potatoes are petite, elongated, and spherical, averaging only 2 ounces in weight. Its smooth golden-brown skin contains shallow eyes that cover a deep yellow and viscous flesh. Mezame potatoes offer a nutty, sweet and creamy taste similar to that of chestnuts and sweet potatoes.
Mezame potatoes are available from the late summer to early spring.
The Mezame potato, botanically classified as Solanum tuberosum ‘Mezame,’ is a relatively new potato on the Japanese market. Also known as the Inca No Mezame, the Mezame potato is a hybrid variety bred specifically to thrive in the cold climate of Japan and is traded at a high price because of its unique sweet, nutty taste.
Mezame potatoes are a good source of vitamin C, vitamin B1, potassium, and niacin.
Mezame potatoes are best suited for cooked applications such as grilling, roasting, baking, or frying. Additionally, they can be added to soups, curry, stews, croquette, potato salads, Niku Jyaga and baked goods. Mezame potatoes pair well with burrata cheese, pork, poultry, shiitake, and caramelized onions. It is important to wrap them in a newspaper or put in a paper bag and store them in the refrigerator to avoid germination. If they do sprout buds, make sure to remove them with a knife before cooking.
The name Mezame potato pays homage to the origin of its parent potato hailing from the Southern Andes, the name translating literally to “the awakening of Inca.”
The Mezame potato was first created in 1987 at the Hokkaido Agricultural Experiment Station. In 2001, it was registered as a new breed in Japan. The Mezame is a hybrid variety created from a cross between the Katahdin variety and varieties of potatoes native to the South American Andean region. Today, as a result of their short dormant period, their small size, and low productivity, their production has been limited to Japan and are harvested predominately in Hokkaido, an island off the coast of Japan that produces over 80% of the country’s potatoes.