Potatoes are an incredibly versatile staple in many kitchens, suitable for an array of delicious dishes. However, potatoes are grown in the ground, so they often come with a fair share of dirt on their skin – my kids refuse to eat the skin on my allotment baked potatoes because they saw the amount of soil on them.
Cleaning potatoes properly is vital for the taste and your health, as the skin is often eaten and can harbour bacteria or pesticides. So, what’s the best way to clean potatoes? Let’s delve into it.
Step 1: Choose the Right Tools
To clean potatoes effectively, you don’t need any specialized equipment. Here’s what you’ll need:
- A vegetable brush: These brushes are specially designed to clean fruits and vegetables. They have firm but non-scratch bristles that can remove dirt without damaging the potato’s skin. If you don’t have a vegetable brush, a clean, new toothbrush can be an alternative.
- Cold water: Cold water is preferable as warm water can start to cook the potato.
- A clean towel or paper towels: These are for drying the potatoes after washing.
Step 2: Rinse the Potatoes
First, rinse the potatoes under running cold water to remove any loose dirt or debris. This preliminary rinse will make the scrubbing process easier and more effective.
Step 3: Scrub the Potatoes
Now, take your vegetable brush and gently scrub the potato under running water. Make sure to clean all areas where dirt may be lodged, including any indentations or eyes. Apply just enough pressure to remove dirt but not peel the skin.
Step 4: Rinse Again
After you’ve scrubbed each potato, give it another quick rinse to wash away any remaining dirt. Ensure that the water runs clear off the potato, indicating that it’s clean.
Step 5: Dry the Potatoes
Once clean, it’s important to dry the potatoes properly, especially if you’re planning to store them or if you’re going to roast them (wet potatoes won’t crisp up well in the oven). Use a clean towel or paper towels to pat dry the potatoes.
- Inspect the potatoes: Before cleaning, inspect the potatoes for any signs of decay, sprouts, or green patches. These should be removed before cooking.
- Don’t soak the potatoes: Potatoes shouldn’t be left to soak in water before they’re cooked as they can absorb water, which may affect their texture and how they cook.
- Consider organic potatoes: If you’re concerned about pesticide residues, opt for organic potatoes.
In conclusion, cleaning potatoes is a straightforward task, but it’s an essential step in meal preparation involving this popular tuber. With the right tools and techniques, you can ensure your potatoes are clean, safe, and ready for cooking your favorite potato dishes.
Brian Sheridan has an allotment in Edgbaston and is a competitive grower. Brian is also a keen photographer and loves cooking. Brian and his wife Mary will also be running a stall at Edgebaston artisan market this year, selling products made from the allotment, including his award-winning relish!