Purchasing & Storing Potatoes
When shopping for
potatoes, look for potatoes that are firm and smooth. Avoid potatoes
with wrinkled or wilted skins, soft dark areas, cut surfaces, and
those that are green in appearance.
If you need several potatoes for your
recipe that you are making, choose ones that are similar in size for
When selecting potatoes, choose new potatoes for boiling and
salads. They have thinner skins and are firmer.
Potatoes should be kept in a cool,
dark place with good ventilation. the ideal storage temperature is
45 to 50 degrees F. At these temperature, the potatoes will keep for
several weeks. Do not store potatoes in the refrigerator, as a
temperature below 40 degrees F. will cause the potatoes to develop a
sweet taste. This is due to the conversion of starch to sugar, which
causes potatoes to darken when cooked.
If you store potatoes at room
temperature, use them within a week or so.
It is not recommended that you freeze
cooked potato dishes, as they tend to become watery after reheating. As
the potato is 80% water, this water separates from the starch
causing the reheated potato dish to be watery.
Potato Sprouts are toxic
A sprout of any size can be toxic, but
you'd have to eat many sprouts to get sick. Do not buy if they have
sprouted or have a green tint to the skin. There is no problem with the
potato; just cut off the sprouts, and it's fine for eating.
The same is true for potatoes that
turn a greenish hue. A potato in this condition is "light-struck"
which causes a build-up of a chemical called Solanine.
is a natural reaction to the potato being exposed to too much light.
The green part,
if eaten in large quantity,
can cause illness. If there is slight greening, cut away the green
portions of the potato skin before cooking and eating.
1 1/4 pounds (3 medium
3 cups chopped or sliced raw potatoes
= 2 to 3 cups cooked mashed potatoes
easier to prepare and healthier for you when cooked with their skins on.
Always rinse and scrub the potatoes thoroughly before using.
When you are using cut up potatoes in your
cooking, preserve the color by place them in cold water. Limit the water
soaking time to two (2) hours to retain the water-soluble vitamins. Color
discoloration (pinkish or brownish) happens from the carbohydrates in the
potato reacting with oxygen in the air. Potatoes that do become discolored
in this way are safe to eat and do not need to be thrown. Usually the color
discoloration will disappear with cooking.
Boiled potatoes should be started in cold water
rather than in hot water. this allows for a more even cooking and heat penetration from
outside to inside during the relatively long cooking time required. Potatoes are never
COOLED in cold water, unlike most vegetables. This would make them soggy.
fluffier boil potatoes, simply pour off all the water after they are boiled and cover the
pot with a double thickness of paper towels, then cover with the saucepan lid. In ten
minutes, steam will be absorbed by the towels and your potatoes will be dry and fluffy.
Scrub well and pierce the ends with a fork or
skewer so steam can escape. Never attempt to bake a mature potato without puncturing the
skin - it might explode.
Russet potatoes make the best
Add one tablespoon butter (more or
less if you like) for each two potatoes, and salt to your taste. Beat until the butter is
melted. Then add milk or light cream that has been heated but not brought to a boil (if
you add cold liquid, the potatoes will be cold and gummy). Beat the liquid into the
potatoes to make a smooth, fluffy mixture. Add only enough liquid to make the mixture
smooth, about one tablespoon for each potato. Do not overbeat. they should be soft and
moist, but firm enough to hold their shape.