Recently I went into our local grocery store and found a HUGE sale on potatoes. This made me excited for a couple of reasons. First, the longest we have lived in one place is Idaho … we still go back each summer. Second, potatoes are so expensive in south Texas compared to Idaho and it frustrates me. Third, I have a dehydrator.
So, I bought two bags, remembering the last time I stocked up I procrastinated and almost lost all the potatoes before we used them. Now, after this VERY simple process I wish I had purchased a few more bags.
I dehydrated apples last week, so my dehydrator was still out (there had been a sale on Gala apples .88/lb.!) and thus it was a great time to process my potatoes. I pulled out this amazing gadget I purchased last year at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. I am sure there are other places to find it, but there are so many wonderful opportunities to use it and make chopping so much easier.
It has several different size blades, but I’ve always used this smaller size. Pay special attention when cleaning … those blades are VERY sharp, more than one family member and now a family friend can attest to the effectiveness of those blades.
I peeled my potatoes, rinsed them and then sliced them to the thickness I wanted, about as thick as one of those squares, so when they go through they will be … well, square.
Be sure to put a big pot of water on to boil. When you get plenty of potatoes chopped put them in a big bowl and rinse in cold water, drain. Once the water is boiling put your potatoes in for 3 min. to blanch. This is to get extra starch out. If you skip this simple process you will end up with brown and black potatoes when dehydrated. Not too appetizing. See all that murky, whitish water in the potatoes? That is what you want to see … all that starch coming out. See how wonderfully chopped those potatoes are? Thanks to my dicer. I am in love with it and use it for onions, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots (be sure to slice these thinly since they are so firm, I broke my first dicer on a carrot), anything I want chopped. It’s the BOMB!
When you drain those potatoes fresh out of the boiled water you want to rinse them in cold water to halt the cooking process, you don’t want mushy potatoes. Be sure your potatoes are drained well and place them on dehydrator racks. When your dehydrator is filled turn it on and forget it. The setting for fruits and vegetables i s 135*. I am sure you could do this in your oven, too. I once did herbs in the oven. I put the herbs on a cookie sheet, closed the oven and turned on the light. I was surprised how hot the oven got just from the light.
If I were dehydrating in the oven, I would turn the oven to the lowest setting and once achieved, turn off the heat and turn on the light. I wouldn’t open the oven to check the process since so much heat is lost opening the door. The light is on, just look through the window.
My potatoes took just over 12 hours. I checked them when I got up in the morning and was surprised they were all dried.
They looked Amazing! I had filled up the trays pretty full. The potatoes were touching, but I didn’t put them on top of each other, I wanted them to dry more evenly. Look how much they shrunk! These had been touching. My 10 lbs. of potatoes used 9 trays to dry.
I poured each tray into a big plastic bowl to make it easier to put in bottles to store.
Look at how much those 10 lbs. had shrunk to. I was actually surprised and amazed to see the end amount. Realizing how simple this process was is when I was bummed I hadn’t bought more potatoes.
We now live in a very humid climate and humidity is the enemy of dehydrated food. It is very important to keep the food dry or it will start rehydrating and spoiling.
That is when I bring out my canning jars and my vacuum sealer. That bowl of potatoes fit into two quart jars! And that is with some head space allowed. If you are not familiar with a vacuum sealer you can easily find them online or at Sam’s, Costco, Walmart, Bed, Bath and Beyond, they are everywhere. What is not everywhere is the canning jar attachment. Be sure your vacuum sealer has an attachment port and you can easily purchase a tube and canning jar attachments. These attachments fit over the lid and jar (be sure you have one for the wide mouth and one for the narrow mouth) and when the machine is turned on all of the air is sucked out of the jar and the lid is left sealed. The great thing is the lids can be reused, unlike when you process food in water. However, this process cannot be used for foods that are processed in water. Only use this for dry foods. I love my vacuum sealer for storing food. I used to throw out my canning jar boxes, but now I store my filled jars in them and they are easy to stack and get to.
My jars are filled and ready to seal in this picture. I was so proud of my potatoes. They looked so beautiful and white, no spots. Now, when I want potatoes in soup I can toss a handful in. I make a yummy shepherd’s pie, not a traditional shepherd’s pie, but a meat, carrot, potato, and onion pie baked in a pie shell. My family likes to eat it with ketchup. Now, my potatoes are ready to rehydrate and put in. Maybe I will dehydrate carrots next. I will also rehydrate these potatoes and cook them in some butter and serve as a side dish.
Of course, I had to try a few. They were crunchy and dry. But, I the first thing I noticed was the dehydrated potato flavor we are used to from commercially dehydrated potatoes was not there. I know what is in my potatoes … NOTHING. There are no additives, no mystery ingredients, no preservatives, just potatoes minus the water.
Now, to find the next sale on potatoes.