How to Keep Peeled Potatoes From Turning Brown
Keeping peeled potatoes is relatively easy, especially when compared to storing other types of vegetables. They need to be kept in a cool dry place, at a temperature ideally between 8-12 ºC (46-53 ºF). If stored like this, we can keep them for up to 7 weeks. However, once we peel the protective skin off a potato, we can quickly see things start to deteriorate. This is because the peeled potato starts to turn a brown color which looks very unappetizing.
At oneHOWTO, we explain how to keep peeled potatoes from turning brown. We show you what you can do to preserve them and also find out what we shouldn't do.
Can peeled potatoes be preserved?
The answer is yes, you can keep potatoes after you peel them. However, you have to keep in mind that they will not last the same as they do with the skins on. Once in the fridge, they can last up to 72 hours. We shouldn't peel potatoes until we need to use them, but because they can be a hassle many people pre-peel before they start cooking. Ideally we shouldn't peel them any more than a day in advance of cooking.
You can cook potatoes in a variety of ways, whether drying, mashing, boiling or pretty much any method of cooking you choose. You can even steam them in a steamer. They can be eaten warm or cold, but only if they have been well preserved. You cannot, however, eat them raw. This is because raw potatoes are difficult to digest and they also contain small amounts of a toxin called solanine which is removed through cooking.
When potatoes start to turn brown, it doesn't mean they aren't safe to eat. This oxidization process shouldn't be harmful. However, it can make it difficult to tell if they are spoiled. Check our article on how to tell if potatoes are bad to know more.
How to preserve raw peeled potatoes
The best way to preserve raw peeled potatoes is in the fridge in cold water. If we put them in the refrigerator directly without water they will oxidize. This happens when they are exposed to the oxygen in air and is the reason for why peeled potatoes turn brown.
How long can potatoes sit in water?
In principle, potatoes sitting in water can last three to four days before cooking. However, the sooner we cook and eat them, the better. This is because the potatoes will absorb water while they wait. This can cause problems depending on the type of cooking you want to do. This is particularly a problem with frying where excess water is problematic.
As a tip, you can add a few drops of fresh lemon juice or vinegar to the water. These ingredients are acidic and will help to prevent the potatoes from oxidization and turning brown without changing the flavor (if used in moderation).
Another way is to store the peeled potatoes in plastic. To prevent oxidization, the potatoes will need to be prevented from coming in contact with the air. We can do this by wrapping them tight in plastic wrap or in an airtight bag. However, even some air can make them turn brown a little. You can seal them better by doing the following:
- Put the potatoes in the airtight plastic bag and leave the bag open about an inch.
- Fill a bowl or deep casserole dish with enough water to be able to cover the entire bag.
- Lower the bag into the water until it reaches just below the open section.
- Seal the bag, remove from the water and dry before storing.
This is a hack to use which is almost like a vacuum sealer. However, it is not as good as effective as a vacuum sealer, so don't expect them to last the same amount of time.
How to preserve cooked peeled potatoes
If your leftover potatoes are already cooked, let them cool and dry completely. When they are no longer hot, store them in the fridge in an airtight container before they turn brown. You can leave them in a dish and cover with some paper towel, but they won't last as long.
You can cook potatoes either skin on or skin off, it depends what you are using them for. Just as with raw potatoes, potatoes cooked with the skin on should last longer than those with skin off.
How to preserve peeled potatoes for frying
Although it is true that it is not recommended we eat them very often, we all crave fries from time to time. They are the perfect accompaniment to any number of meals, including burgers, steaks and steamed mussels. However, they can take some work.
One solution us to have ready-to-fry potato fries which we can keep in the freezer and use when we want. Commercial fries are often processed and nowhere near as tasty as the homemade option. Although we generally shouldn't freeze potatoes, here is a method to best preserve peeled potatoes in the freezer:
- The first thing you will do is peel and cut the potatoes in the way you like best (squares, sticks, wedges, etc.). This is the same as what you do when you go to fry them normally.
- Once peeled and cut, cook them for three minutes in a pot of boiling water (known as par boiling).
- When you take them out, let them cool and drain to dry.
- They do not need to be completely cold. When they are at room temperature, store them in an airtight bag or in a container that is tightly closed and is suitable for the freezer.
- After being frozen, you can take out these potatoes whenever you want and fry them immediately.
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