Storing and Cooking Potatoes



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storing potatoes

I was washing some potatoes this morning so I could dehydrate them and, boy, were they dirty. A couple of them had clods of dirt covering one side of the potato. When I washed it off, the part that had been covered in the dirt was a different color than the rest of the potato. Most of the potato was getting a greenish tint but the part under the dirt still looked fresh and nice.

This experience reminded me that there is a proper way to store potatoes. When the experts tell you this is the way to store your fruits and vegetables, there is a reason for it.

Potatoes must be stored in a cool, dry and dark place.

Not storing potatoes properly causes them to spoil faster, grow “eyes”, and turn green. You can still use them when they turn green but they say it is best to not eat the peel.

Now I understand why, years ago, when people stored their potatoes for the winter, they would sometimes cover the potatoes in dirt in their cellars. It made the potatoes keep better for the winter. That little clod of dirt sure did make a difference on my potato.

Don’t store your potatoes in the refrigerator. The extra cold temperatures cause a reaction in the starch of the potatoes. This reaction can make your mashed potatoes become gummy and gooey rather than light and fluffy.

Speaking of mashed potatoes, I usually add 1-2 tsp. of sugar for every four potatoes when I mash them. I get more compliments on my potatoes and most people don’t have a clue what my secret is. (I guess the whole world knows now.)  :) :)

When preparing to make mashed potatoes, don’t spend ages cutting the potatoes into small cubes before you boil them. Just cut them in fourths lengthwise and they will cook just as quickly as when they’re cubed.

Don’t like lumpy potatoes? (I know some of you do like lumps and that’s ok…) I use my hand mixer to beat my potatoes. The mixer makes it much less work, it’s faster and the mashed potatoes turn out beautifully smooth, light and fluffy. First, mash them slightly and then slowly add your milk until you get the right consistency.

It’s hard telling what I will write about tomorrow. Maybe I will go peel some carrots and discover some deep meaningful insight about my carrots. :-) ;-)

      -Jill

 



Photo By: rfduck

Comments

  1. MISTY says

    this is very interesting. never heard of doing this before. when you dehydrate them does it change there texture? i would like to try cubed ones for mashed potatoes.

  2. Bea says

    Dear Jill, I love potatoes but I didn’t know adding sugar would add flavor. That is so interesting. Thanks. Do you know that there are 2 recipes from your cookbook that I have been making very week now for months. The one is the Mexican Chicken and the other is the Chicken with the Italian dressing poured on top and baked. Those recipes are SO good. Now when I make the potatoes I will add the sugar. Also, I wanted to tell you that in your penny-pinching Mama book (which I re-read all the time) you talked about having a limited number of clothes and not really caring if people saw you in the same clothes twice or more. I wanted to tell you that is a very French way of looking at clothes and life. I had to tell you. I just found out that in France people may wear the same outfit for more then one day in a row and think nothing of it. In fact, they think it’s kind of silly that we have to wear a different outfit every day. When you think about it it is really silly. If you want to read the frugal blog from France it is at http://www.simplelifeinfrance.com It’s nice to get a frugal perspective from another Country.

  3. Janice says

    I think you SHOULD write an e-book about Potatoes. I’d certainly buy it! My family LOVES potatoes, and is always looking for new ideas!

    Thanks -

    Janice

  4. jill says

    Misty, it doesn’t change the texture. That is why I was so shocked when I tasted them. I would never had known they had been dehydrated and if you could see how weird they look when they are dehydrated you would see why I was surprised.

    I have never tried them cubed for mashed potatoes before but I figure it doesn’t hurt to experiment and to try different things. What do you have to loose but one potato and you may gain a lot.

    Anyone who is thinking about dehydrating when you first try it don’t give up. It is like anything else the more you do it the easier it gets and you learn so many short cuts. Really check out the website I mentioned because it is super good.

    Jill

  5. jill says

    Bea, I will look at that web site. It sounds interesting.I lived overseas when I was young and it had a big impact on the way I look at things and our way of life here.

    When I hear things too like your French story I always think of an old movie The Unsinkable Molly Brown (boy am I dating myself). It’s a true story about a poor woman who became rich in Colorado but the rich society won’t accept her there so she went to Europe and what they thought was uncouth in the States the Europeans thought was great.

    Jill

  6. jill says

    Janice,Tawra says everything I write turns out to be a book because I am so long winded. Ha!HA! Leave it to your kids to tell you how it is.

    Jill

  7. Bea says

    I will have to look for that movie, Jill, in my library. They have lots of old movies. I like old movies and get them for 50 cents each to buy when they replace their videos with DVDS, so I collect old movies. It’s better than the junk on tv and better than spending 9 dollars to watch a movie at the theatre. Also, it’s so cool you lived abroad at one time. I find that experiencing other cultures helps you have a broader perspective on things. You can learn much from reading about other cultures too if you can’t afford to go there. Once I took a trip to Mexico and saw real poverty. People living in one room shacks on dirt roads with chickens running around. It helped to change my idea of poor. Some people don’t even having running water or electricity. I think you will like that French frugal website. It has some interesting info on it. When I went on it I left a comment and told them about your blog, so your will have some Europeans visting your website if they don’t already do that.

  8. Alison says

    Thank you for the tip about keeping potatoes in a cool dark place…no wonder mine were growing eyes (I had them in a bowl on the kitchen table next to a sunny window!)

  9. says

    I love Debbie Reynolds in any movie so Molly Brown is a favourite.
    I found classic cinema online so now I can watch a lot of the old movies when I feel like watching them. Catching up on the thin man movies this week.
    I am going to try slicing potatoes to dehydrate. Then if I can find a good seasoning milk mixture for scalloped potatoes I will be in heaven.
    One thing to remember when cooking potatoes is to not let pregnant women eat them if they are green sunburned. There is some toxin that is bad for them. My grandmother told me that fact and I haven’t seen anything to say it is an old wives tale.
    In China my son was shopping and a few of his students asked if they could come along so he agreed as it would help their english. The girls did not know how to shop for food since their mothers never showed them how. They thought my son would poison himself since he bought potatoes that had eyes just starting in them. Over there you do not eat potatoes if they have buds or eyes. He told them he cut the eyes out but they were telling him the entire potatoe should be thrown out.
    I never add sweetener of any sort to the fruit leather I make. I find the fruit sweet enough on its own.
    I went to the site and found lots of interesting things to try. So I may pull the dehydrator out of storage.
    I hate kitchens with little counter space.
    learn a lot here just wish my kitchen was like the tardis of Dr. Who’s.

  10. jill says

    Yes onions should be stored in a cool dark place and away from potatoes because they will absorb the moisture from the potatoes.

    One way to store them that has been used for a long time is to drop an onion into the toe of a panty hose, then tie a knot right above it, add another onion, knot etc and keep this hanging someplace cool and dark. You just cut off an onion at the knot each time you need one.

    Yellow onions store the longest.

    Jill

  11. says

    Jill I have only seen his kitchen once with the doctor who wore that beautiful scarf and had the curly hair.
    I sort of meant I wish my kitchen was never ending in space the way the phone booth was.
    Wouldn’t that be great for pack rats.
    I am always looking for space but all I find is more stuff to take up what little I do have.
    Right now I am attempting to find knitted barbie doll outfit patterns. Which is as hard as finding hens teeth.
    Oh well she won’t be into barbies big time for about 2 years.

  12. jill says

    Grandma I wish I had the pattern my mom used for my Barbie tops I would send it to you. She made the most beautiful ones for me – about a half dozen. That was back in the Dark Ages when I was young.

    It was one of those gifts I will never forget. For Christmas she and my grandma gave me a large flat box which had about 20 or more outfits they had made for my Barbie. I loved them and still have them today. They were unbelievable seamstress’s and the detail on the outfits was like none I have ever seen before.

    Jill

  13. says

    Jill my girlfriends mother used to make her a dress and Barbie ended up with a couple of the same material. She knitted sewed cooked and cleaned and baked. I was jealous of my friend because my mom worked in my dad;s business’ so didn’t have time to do stuff like that.
    I will be 55 in july so I guess I am from the dark ages as well. I can’t find barbie doll outfits unless you buy the doll as well. My friends mother passed away 5 years ago of liver cancer and her daughter doesn’t sew or crochet and she does knit a little. Her mother never taught her. My grandmother made me learn to do all 3 and then a few more but I like to knit best. Hemming sheets was not a fun way to learn to sew but I can hem things really well by hand.
    My husband does the sewing in the house and I make the wooden toys and knick knacks. He also does beading for necklaces. We get strange looks when we walk into hobby shops and lumber yards.
    We have fun anyway and I am slowly adapting the few tops and slacks patterns I have managed to find.
    My baby of 29 has informed me that he and his wife are now trying for a baby so now I get to start baby things. Most will be different from anything they will get from family in China. I am going to have to get them cloth diapers since her parents think the chinese way of no diapers is better. He says yuck to that so that is his first request.
    I enjoy coming here chatting. It fills in time and blocks out the empty nest syndrome which hit me hard and still hasn’t eased off much even after 4 years of my baby leaving and 8 years after my first born left.
    I guess it will go away someday but for now I get lonesome. Don’t let anyone tell you a small town is friendly. 25 years here and no friends just hello how are you type people. Oh well 4 more years here before we have to move. I guess I will survive with the help of my computer and story writing.

  14. Bea says

    Jill, I wanted to tell you that I ordered that Debbie Reynolds movie from my library, “The Unsinkable Molly Brown.” I should have it in a few days. The reviews look good, so I’m looking forward to seeing it.

  15. Dineen says

    Thank you so much for writing about dehydrating potatoes. When large bags of potatoes go on sale, I’ve been unable to take advantage of the great price because my small family wouldn’t be able to use them all before spoiling. (With a diabetic in the family I plan 1/2-1 cup portions infrequently.)

  16. says

    I was raised in a family of 7 and my father was a Fuller Brush salesman. His route was mostly rural in southern Ontario. He had lots of farmers give him or give him great deals on produce.
    He would bring home 400 lbs of potatoes and he had wooden boxes that he layered potatoes with sand or carrots and sand. All winter we would go down to the basement and dig up the potatoes or carrots or what ever was stored that way.
    It has to be extremely cold for storing this way but a garage would work as well.
    I think I might try the dehydrating thing on more items. Especially if they rehydrate the way you say they would be great for our hunting and camping expeditions.
    Besides the have the equipment and I like experimenting.

  17. grizzly bear mom says

    It is safe to cut out the eyes and eat the potatoe. You CAN eat green skinned potatoes, but not a lot or you will get sick.

  18. Jelaine Zastrow says

    Put the cooked potatoes through a ricer, then gently add other ingredients such as butter, milk, sour cram, seasonings to get super tasty, fluffy potatoes. Potatoes can be baked now (or ahead and warmed up) and still work well through the ricer and finished the same as cooked.

  19. Rachel says

    I did an experiment from winter ’10 through summer ’11 with potatoes and onions in plastic storage containers filled with unused cedar shavings, you know the kind you might buy for pet cages. Kept them in a dark storage room in the garage. Amazingly both potatoes and onions held up very well. Not until summer did the eyes on the potatoes and the green stem of the onions start to grow.

  20. vickie says

    You can also peel the whole potato, drop in water, bring to full boil with lid on pot then turn off and don’t have to cut up potato and save on electric bill potato cooks just fine also….fyi just have to plan ahead if you need quick cooked potato

  21. CarolAnne says

    When we have an abundance of potatoes (my in-laws are BIG into gardening) we fill a big soup kettle with cleaned potatoes, cook until just done, then store in the frig. Keep a long time that way, and always have a potato ready to fix many different ways.

  22. Mary Jane says

    grandma, I think you and I are living parallel lives. My youngest moved out about 6 years ago for good. We have four children. I have lived outside of our small northern Canadian town for over 30 years, and you are right; it is hard to make good friends, especially when you were not a career woman with two incomes while you were raising your family. It doesn’t help that I don’t make the 30 mile round trip to town any more often than is financially prudent. I have read your posts and have often thought that we have a lot in common. I am 53. No immediate move in our foreseeable future. I will keep you in my prayers when I feel lonely, too. Like you, I have really enjoyed this site and all that Jill and Tawra do. It feels like I have finally found my “people”.

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