2017 Year of the Rooster


Roosters are red... potatoes are too! Why Ireland loves Rooster potatoes

This Saturday, many of us will be celebrating Chinese New Year. Festivities will last until 2nd February and often involve lighting firecrackers, giving children red envelopes filled with lucky money and watching traditional lion dances.

2017 brings us the Chinese Year of the Rooster, which got us thinking about another kind of Rooster we all love – the potato! The Rooster is Ireland’s most successful variety of potato due to its great taste, bright red appearance and versatility. Rooster can be boiled baked and chipped, its uniform shape makes it easy to peel and its attractive yellow flesh is appealing in any dish.

But how did this bright red spud come to exist? It hasn’t been around for as long as you may think - the Rooster was first bred in 1977 but quickly became incredibly popular with consumers due to its excellent cooking quality. By 2001, ten years after its release, the Rooster accounted for over 35% of the potatoes grown in Ireland and now accounts for over 60%. It seems we just can’t get enough!

It is not just consumers that love the Rooster, but potato growers too, as the variety is so suited to growing in Irish conditions and soil, as well as being robust and growing easily throughout the year.

You might wonder how the Rooster got its slightly unusual name. This was actually thought up in Kilkenny, when the Rooster variety was being trialled by the Phelan family. When sorting potatoes in the yard, a red Rooster passed the breeder Harry Kehoe. The name Rooster was suggested for this new potato variety to his team at Teagasc Potato Breeding in Oakpark, Carlow. They loved the idea and the name stuck straight away!

An early stroke of luck for the development of Rooster was its starring role on the TV series Glenroe. When Miley Byrne announced to the nation that he was planting a new potato variety called Rooster, he described why it was better than the existing varieties.

Nowadays, the popularity of Roosters has also spread to the UK and many people choose it during their weekly shop. Why not give it a try this weekend and celebrate Chinese New Year with a delicious Chinese-inspired dish such as Beijing Spiced Potato & Chicken Roast recipe.

For more delicious potato recipes and information on potato varieties, visit www.potato.ie

Healthy eating is all about enjoying your food and eating the right amounts to maintain a healthy weight.

It means eating some food more often than others, such as fruit and vegetables on a daily basis, but having other things as a weekly treat. Find out more in our 'Eat Well' section.

There are many simple, fresh recipes you can explore with potatoes. 

Hitting the perfect spot between fries and roast potatoes, wedges are a great accompanying dish to a main meal but also works on its own as a fulfilling portion of taste and spud satisfaction. The key notes to hit when cooking up wedges is a good standard of softness and crispiness at the same time. Achieve this with the following hints and tips on spud greatness!