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FAQs About Potatoes

Top 15 Potato Questions

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Why soak the potatoes in cold water before cooking?

Soaking potatoes in water helps remove excess starch.  Excess starch can inhibit the potatoes from cooking evenly as well as creating a gummy or sticky texture on the outside of your potatoes.  Cold water is used because hot water would react with the starch activating it, making it harder to separate from the potatoes.

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Do you boil the water before adding the potatoes?

For most potato dishes it’s important to add the potatoes to cold water and allow the water to come to a boil with the potatoes in the water.

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How long should I parboil potatoes before grilling?

The time required for par cooking potatoes really depends on a variety of factors. How big are the potatoes? Are the potatoes cut or diced? What temperature are you planning on grilling the potatoes at? Is your grill properly calibrated to the correct temperature? Are you going to be cooking anything else on the grill at the same time as cooking the potatoes?  A general rule of thumb is to parboil potatoes until they are fork-tender but not falling apart, this can range anywhere from 15 minutes for small potatoes to 25-30 minutes for large whole potatoes. The best way to tell if the potatoes are done is to either taste a small portion or use the tip of a paring knife to check for resistance, if the knife goes in easy the potato is most likely cooked.  For baked potatoes, the best method for testing doneness is an internal thermometer. 205 °F to 215 °F is desired for a fluffy baked potato. Par cooking methods can range from boiling to steaming, to microwaving, to pressure cooking. All these methods will vary in the speed and efficiency in which they will cook potatoes.

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How to reheat scalloped potatoes.

For easy reheating of scalloped potatoes, individual portions can be reheated in the oven at 300-325 °F for 20-30 minutes or in the microwave or in the oven at 50% power for 3-5 minutes.  While the oven method yields the best results, the microwave is the fastest.  Larger portions can be reheated too, the best method for reheating large portions is in a low-temperature oven (300-325 °F) for about 60-90 minutes depending on the size. The low temperature ensures that the cream does not separate.

 

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How long can potatoes sit in water before boiling for mashed potatoes?

Potatoes can be peeled prepped and cut into water up to 2 days before boiling for mash.

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What kind of meat goes well with scalloped potatoes?

Scalloped potatoes are rich and filling. Lean proteins and other veggies pair nicely, try grilled ham, pan-seared fish, roast chicken, broiled lobster, or even a filet of beef tenderloin.  If no animal proteins are desired a lovely side salad with a sharp vinaigrette works great.

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Should I rinse potatoes before boiling?

Rinsing potatoes helps remove excess starch, so it is recommended to rinse the potatoes before cooking. To ensure even more starch is out of the way, it’s recommended that they are quickly rinsed after boiling.  We recommend using hot water for this step, whereas before cooking, you will use cold water.

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Can you freeze au gratin potatoes?

Au gratin potatoes are best frozen in individual portion sizes for easy reheating. Large portions of au gratin potatoes can also be frozen, to reheat a low temp oven 300-325 F for 75 minutes usually yields great results. To get the top golden again, it’s a good idea to top with some freshly shredded cheese during the last 5-10 minutes of reheating.

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Can potato salad be made the day before?

Yes, a potato salad gets even better if left to sit overnight in the refrigerator. The flavors combine, and the potatoes absorb more of the seasoning/dressing, making for a more flavorful experience.

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Why are my roasted potatoes soggy?

Roasted potatoes can become soggy if the water content in the potato isn’t fully cooked. Different potatoes have different water content percentages. Also, be mindful of the oil. Potatoes can react like sponges; too much oil can make your potatoes appear to be soggy. Try placing oil in a spray bottle or using an aerosol to apply the oil to the potatoes. Lastly, ensure that the potatoes are dry before you add the oil. Excess moisture will increase the cooking time of potatoes and may result in soggy spuds.

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Can you freeze scalloped potatoes?

Yes. Scalloped potatoes can be frozen and reheated later. The best way to freeze them is in individual portions for easy reheating in the microwave or the oven. Larger portions can be frozen; the best method for reheating large portions is in a low-temperature oven (300-325 °F) for about 60-90 minutes, depending on the size. The low temperature ensures that the cream doesn’t separate.

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Are potato chips highly processed?

Potato chips are minimally processed and typically made with three ingredients found in the most homes – potatoes, vegetable oil and salt.

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Are all the nutrients in the skin of the potato?

No. The notion that all the nutrients are in the skin is a myth. While the skin does contain approximately half of the total dietary fiber, most (> 50%) of the nutrients are found within the potato itself. For more information, please click here.

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Why does my potato salad get watery?

Potatoes can retain moisture. To prevent this, drain the potatoes very well in a colander or pot. Allow all the steam to escape the potatoes before mixing them with the dressing and other ingredients. Steaming the potatoes instead of boiling them is a good way to ensure that excess moisture isn’t trapped inside. Click here for the classic American potato salad recipe.

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Will consuming potatoes with green patches make me sick?

  • Green spots or patches on potatoes (known as “greening”) are a natural result of chlorophyll production in the tuber from being exposed to light. Chlorophyll is not toxic; however, its presence indicates an increase in the production of solanine. Solanine is a glycoalkaloid that can cause gastrointestinal symptoms (e.g., nausea, vomiting and diarrhea), but
    only if consumed in very large amounts.
  • Click here to learn more Greening Fact Check

Potato Nutrition Questions

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Can you eat potatoes if you’re trying to lose weight?

You can include potatoes as part of a weight loss program. It’s calories that count, not eliminating certain foods.  Among a study of participants, those who ate potatoes as part of a calorie reduced eating plan still lost weight.

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Are there differences in nutrient content between fresh, frozen, and instant (dehydrated) potatoes?

Processed potatoes deliver the same nutrients as fresh potatoes (such as potassium, vitamin C, and fiber), but the amounts will vary depending on the form. Click here to find out more about the nutrient content in potato forms.

 

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Are fries healthy?

Just like other forms of white potatoes, fries deliver essential nutrients that many Americans don’t get enough of each day, particularly, potassium and vitamin C.

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How do white potatoes and sweet potatoes compare when it comes to their nutrition?

Both sweet and white potatoes provide an excellent source of vitamin C, are good sources of potassium and B6, and provide similar amounts of protein (2g and 3g respectively).  Click here to see the nutrition comparison of White Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes.

 

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Are potatoes fattening?

Potatoes are naturally fat-free.

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Can a person live on only potatoes?

Yes, potatoes provide all of the nutrients required to live a healthy and active life.  There are numerous accounts of people going on potato only diets any where from two months to a full year with resulting improvements in health markers and often weight loss. The protein in potatoes is complete and readily available, however it does not occur in significant quantities, so for growing children or those desiring to add muscle mass it is recommended to add lean proteins like non-fat milk or seafood.

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Do potatoes have a high glycemic index (GI)?

The GI of potatoes is highly variable and depends on various factors, including the potato type, origin, processing, and preparation.

 

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Should people with diabetes avoid foods like potatoes?

According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), starchy vegetables such as potatoes can be included in the diet of a person with diabetes. The total amount of carbohydrate consumed at any given meal or snack is what is most important.

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Are all the nutrients in the skin of the potato?

No. The notion that all the nutrients are in the skin is a myth. While the skin does contain approximately half of the total dietary fiber, most (> 50%) of the nutrients are found within the potato itself. For more information, please click here.

Cooking Potatoes Questions

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How do I freeze fresh potatoes?

Fresh potatoes can be frozen; however, you need to take a few extra steps to ensure their quality will hold up in the freezing process.  First, cook/blanch the potatoes. Blanching means to par-cook and rapidly cool an ingredient.

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How to make roasted potatoes in the air fryer.

The potatoes can be finished in the air fryer after boiling, draining, and shaking. The limited capacity however in an air fryer makes this a bit of a chore and the exterior of the potatoes can clog up the fry basket on the air fryer. While the air fryer is great for other applications it is not recommended for this preparation method. Try these Air Fryer Roasted Potatoes

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Do you boil the water before adding the potatoes?

For most potato dishes it’s important to add the potatoes to cold water and allow the water to come to a boil with the potatoes in the water.

Continue reading
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Should I rinse potatoes before boiling?

Rinsing potatoes helps remove excess starch, so it is recommended to rinse the potatoes before cooking.

Continue reading

General Potato Questions

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Can a person live on only potatoes?

Yes, potatoes provide all of the nutrients required to live a healthy and active life.  There are numerous accounts of people going on potato only diets any where from two months to a full year with resulting improvements in health markers and often weight loss. The protein in potatoes is complete and readily available, however it does not occur in significant quantities, so for growing children or those desiring to add muscle mass it is recommended to add lean proteins like non-fat milk or seafood.

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Will consuming potatoes with green patches make me sick?

  • Green spots or patches on potatoes (known as “greening”) are a natural result of chlorophyll production in the tuber from being exposed to light. Chlorophyll is not toxic; however, its presence indicates an increase in the production of solanine. Solanine is a glycoalkaloid that can cause gastrointestinal symptoms (e.g., nausea, vomiting and diarrhea), but
    only if consumed in very large amounts.
  • Click here to learn more Greening Fact Check
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What do I do with “green” or “sprouting” potatoes?

Green on the skin of a potato is the build-up of a chemical called Solanine. It is a natural reaction to the potato being exposed to too much light. Solanine produces a bitter taste and, if eaten in large quantities, can cause illness.

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How do I properly store and handle potatoes after purchase?

  • Store potatoes in a cool, well-ventilated place.
  • Keep potatoes out of the light.
  • Cold temperatures, lower than 50 degrees in the refrigerator, cause a potato’s starch to convert to sugar, resulting in a sweet taste and discoloration when cooked.
  • Avoid areas that reach high temperatures (beneath the sink or beside large appliances) or receive too much sunlight (on the countertop).
  • Perforated plastic bags and paper bags offer the best environment for extending the shelf life of potatoes
  • Don’t wash potatoes, or any produce, before storing. Dampness promotes early spoilage

Go to storage and handling.

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What do I look for when purchasing potatoes at the grocery store?

Look for clean, smooth, firm-textured potatoes with no cuts, bruises, or discoloration. Click here to learn about potato storage and handling.

Classic Potato Recipes Questions

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How long do you boil potatoes for mashed potatoes?

Cooking potatoes in water for mashed potatoes can take anywhere between 30 and 45 minutes, but there are a lot of variables that can impact the cooking time.

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Why does my potato salad get watery?

Potatoes can retain moisture. To prevent this, drain the potatoes very well in a colander or pot. Allow all the steam to escape the potatoes before mixing them with the dressing and other ingredients. Steaming the potatoes instead of boiling them is a good way to ensure that excess moisture isn’t trapped inside. Click here for the classic American potato salad recipe.

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What is the difference between au gratin potatoes and scalloped potatoes?

Au Gratin potatoes contain cheese, whereas Scalloped Potatoes do not.

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Can you freeze scalloped potatoes?

Yes. Scalloped potatoes can be frozen and reheated later. The best way to freeze them is in individual portions for easy reheating in the microwave or the oven. Larger portions can be frozen; the best method for reheating large portions is in a low-temperature oven (300-325 °F) for about 60-90 minutes, depending on the size. The low temperature ensures that the cream doesn’t separate.

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Do you cut potatoes before boiling?

Cutting potatoes before boiling does aid in removing excess starch.  Excess starch can make potatoes gummy or gluey.  That said, cutting the potatoes too small can lead to too much water absorbing into the potatoes.  A good rule of thumb is to go with a 2-inch dice on the potatoes before boiling them.

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