Thursday, March 19, 2015

Salvaging the mildly wrinkled potatoes

I'm down to my last bag of potatoes from my November purchase. I have no idea when I'll find another good buy on potatoes again, so I want to make sure that I use every last one from this bag.


About 25 spuds, of this last bag of potatoes, were found to be in the early stage of wrinkle-dom. They're still good to eat, but I know they should be cooked very soon. Yesterday afternoon, I went ahead and peeled and cooked all 25. I mashed these with plenty of butter and froze all that we wouldn't be eating for dinner last night.

The texture of mashed potatoes changes a bit once you freeze them. However, once thawed, I whip them hard either by hand, or with the mixer, then I use them to top Shepherd's Pie, or, put into a buttered casserole, then sprinkled with cheese and baked for a cheesey-potato casserole, or, as the base for a pot of potato soup.

I have enough leftover mashed potatoes for about 3 more family dinners, all cooked and ready to use, tucked away in my freezer.

That's what I do with leftover mashed potatoes, but what I really want to know, is what do you do with leftover mashed potatoes?

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23 comments:

  1. We rarely make mashed potatoes. We boil potatoes and mash them on our plates as a dinner accompaniment usually 1-2 times/week in the winter. Typically if I see the dreaded wrinkly potato situation coming on, I hurry to use them up in soups. My in-laws gave us lots of potatoes from their garden last fall and I had to make many potato-ey products in a hurry at one point to use them up. Good suggestion for salvaging them!

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    1. Hi Kris,
      Lucky you to receive all those potatoes! Hmm, I'll try just boiling them whole sometime, and see how the tribe likes them -- sure would be easier for me! Thanks for the idea!

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    2. Sorry, I should have been more specific--I peel and cube them first, as they cook up much more quickly.

      I know your funds are tight right now, but around here we can get red skin potatoes for a great price, being as it's close to St. Patty's Day--just a thought, as I find that potatoes are an inexpensive workhorse in the kitchen. :)

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  2. My only tip is ~ stop peeling them! Maybe I'm just lazy but with six kids we go through way to many potatoes to peel them all or waste any. Just scrub them really well, chop, boil and mash. Love the blog! Esther

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    1. Hi Esther,
      You're right, there is a lot of waste when you peel the potatoes before boiling. I'll give your method a try, too ! Thanks! I love all these potato tips.

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  3. I like to cook our potatoes in the microwave using a steamer, which fits usually fewer than 10 potatoes, set at 15 minutes. I dont like the waste with peeling or the loose texture of potatoes after boiling. The skins peel off easily when the potato is cooked, and if the skins don't, I pop it back into the microwave for a few more minutes.
    As for what to do with leftover mashed potatoes? We never had a situation of having too many wrinkled potatoes to use at once, since we buy our potatoes one 5lb bag at a time. I like the idea of freezing them as a butter mixture. I am taking notes though...always interesting frugal problems to ponder reading your blog!

    YHF

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    1. Should have said...I don't like the waste peeling a RAW potato. Skins peel easily off boiled potatoes too, but I find microwaving so much easier, plus no water waste. Because a microwave cooked potato absorbs less water, will it hold up better when frozen?

      YHF

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  4. I like to eat them for breakfast. Fried like hash browns.

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    1. Hi Linda,
      Oh yummy! I love potatoes with breakfast!

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  5. Last fall I scored yams at .19 cents per pound. I think it was a couple of hundred pounds. I still have a fair amount and rally don't want to buy potatoes for over double this amount right now.
    One daughter informed me she does not really like them roasted as much as I do:( We have been having them mashed and I have made lovely yam breads and yam patties.

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    1. I LOVE yams, and that's a fantastic price! I like them cooked like home fries with eggs for breakfast. I also have a wonderful recipe from an old Betty Crocker international cookbook for "Mancha Manteles" which is a sweet potato stew with chicken & fruit - the spices are sort of like a mole sauce... YUM!!

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    2. Wow, Teresa! 19 cents/pound is unheard for yams here! Lucky you! Myself, I like sweet potato fries. A bit of work to deep fry them, but they are so good. Good luck using all of those yams!

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  6. When I was growing up, our potatoes were always getting wrinkly by the end of winter (we'd have them in bushels from the garden), so my mother would soak them in cold water. They would absorb water, the wrinkles would go away, and they were easy to peel. Of course, we would take the sprouts off regularly to help them last longer. While we canned or froze almost everything, I never remember doing that with potatoes.

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    1. Hi live and learn,
      I remembered you mentioning soaking wrinkly potatoes last year or year before. How long did you leave them soaking? I soaked for about 2 or 3 hours without change, but I'll leave some to soak longer and see what happens. I have about 5 potatoes left, just barely wrinkled.

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    2. I haven't done it for a while, but 2-3 hours seems like enough time. I'll ask my mother.

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    3. live and learn,
      I have 5 potatoes left. I'm going to soak these and see how long it takes. Thanks for the information.

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  7. Leftover potatoes are frozen as "frozen assets"-great to use, as you mention, in a Sheppard's pie or if I need just a serving for one or 2. I also re-whip them into shape. Come out perfect!
    Really wrinkly potatoes, I like to peel and use for home fried potatoes with onion, cooked in bacon fat.

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    1. Hi Carol,
      Oh, potatoes fried in bacon fat is sooo good! I mostly have ham fat to use, and I guess that would also be yummy for pan-frying potatoes.

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  8. White chili!!! Basically you saute an onion in butter or oil, with some cumin & oregano, add a chopped red bell pepper & cubed chicken (if you have it,) a can of corn and a pile of diced green chilies to taste. Mix that with about a pound of either great northern or navy beans (I mean a pound of raw beans... but you cook them before adding them.) But the secret ingredient is the leftover mashed potatoes - gives the chili a thick texture and a wonderful creamy taste!

    But I have a question for you... how on earth did you keep the potatoes from sprouting when you store them so long? The organic ones sprout in a week or so - and even the bag of conventional potatoes that I bought in December had sprouted by February. What's your secret?

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    1. Hi cat,
      I've never made a white chili before. This sounds yummy! Thanks for the suggestion!

      So, I do what the experts say not to do. I store my potatoes in the fridge. This halts the sprouting, for the most part. The reason you're not supposed to store them in the fridge is the cold turns the starches to sugars, and potatoes held like this taste sweet. 2 of my family said they like the sweet taste. If it keeps my potatoes longer, then I'll put up with the sweet taste.

      The other thing, I do, is just pick off any sprouts as I see them. As live and learn said she and her family always did. You just go through the batch of potatoes once per week, and rub off any tiny bits of sprouts. This will keep your potatoes, edible, all through winter.

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    2. What my grandmother did with left over mashed potatoes was make potato candy. Hadn't thought of that in years. I do have the recipe here somewhere. Key word being somewhere. We moved and everything is in boxes. But now that you've reminded me. Better get cracking. Thanks for the reminder. Glad I stumbled on this. I think you can probably find the recipe on the web. I'll look, easier than going through those boxes. Della

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  9. It put my yams on cardboard on my basement floor and on wooden shelving units.They had no problems though I did lose a pumpkin and a kombacha squash.I am trying potatoes like this I wonder if they would dry out? What are incomparable veggies, onion and potatoes together? Though they are always in those wooden bins together.
    When I was a child we would keep carrots buried in sand all through out the winter in our basement.

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    1. Teresa, I've read about storage carrots in sand. That's really interesting. When I buy 25-lb bags of carrots, I split the bag up into 5-lb bundles, wrap each bundle in paper towels or paper bags, then over bag in plastic bags. This keeps those carrots edible for about 2-3 months.

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