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Thread: Can I peel/slice potatoes ahead of time?

  1. #1
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    Oct 2000
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    Can I peel/slice potatoes ahead of time?

    I really want to make the Pommes Anna for dinner tonight, but with a 7 week-old baby in the house, I never know how much time I'll get to cook dinner. I would love to peel and slice my potatoes earlier today, and then finish the recipe later. Will my potatoes turn brown and nasty if I do that? If so, is there any way to keep them from doing it?

    Thanks!
    Anne

    When you start to cook, as when you begin to live, you think that the point is to improve the technique until you end up with something perfect, and that the reason you haven’t been able to break the cycle of desire and disillusion is that you haven’t yet mastered the rules. Then you grow up, and you learn that that’s the game.

    Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker

  2. #2
    You can peel/chop them and then soak them in water in the fridge. I think if you leave them out or just put them in the fridge without water they may turn brown.

  3. #3
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    Yes, they will turn brown and nasty. I avoid this by stirring 1/8 to 1/4 tsp citric acid (you can buy it in a health food store in bulk) into the potatoes. Lemon juice would work, but you would need a fair amount and it might change the taste.

    I know some people have luck soaking the potatoes in ice water but I have not tried that. Anyone else?
    For you to be here now, trillions of drifting atoms had somehow to assemble in an intricate and intriguingly obliging manner to create you. It's an arrangement so specialized and particular that it has never been tried before and will only exist this once.

    --Bill Bryson, "A Short History of Nearly Everything"

  4. #4
    The ice water trick does work -- as would ascorbic acid OR lemon juice.

    Sometimes I even add a smidge of lemon to the water I soak the potatoes in... it's never enough to change the flavor and it helps the potatoes to maintain a more appetizing color.

  5. #5
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    Peel, slice, submerge in cold water and refrigerate. My grandmother had a cook that would peel and slice potatoes for the whole week and keep them covered in water in a big soup pot in the bottom of the fridge....never a brown potato!

    Jen

  6. #6
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    You guys are awesome! I'm off to peel some potatoes!
    Anne

    When you start to cook, as when you begin to live, you think that the point is to improve the technique until you end up with something perfect, and that the reason you haven’t been able to break the cycle of desire and disillusion is that you haven’t yet mastered the rules. Then you grow up, and you learn that that’s the game.

    Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker

  7. #7
    With this dish, I wouldn't put them in water sliced - it will wash off the starch which helps the potatoes stick together and form the "cake" appearance. You could peel them and put them in water but don't slice them until you're ready to put the dish together. Once they're sliced you can put it together fairly quickly since there's no sauce to make, no cheese to grate, etc.

  8. #8
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    Yes

    I peel potatoes 'ahead of time' often and place them in a tupperware-like container in the fridge completely covered with cold water to prevent browning. I cube or slice them ahead for certain recipes.
    For mashing- I drain and then cook either peeled cubes, or whole pot. in water and mash, etc.
    For sliced/scalloped/augratin dishes- I drain the peeled, sliced potatoes, pat them 'dry' with paper towels, and use them for layered potato recipes.
    If I don't use them the next day or two, I drain and add fresh water to them and find a recipe to use them in.
    Zinnia

  9. #9
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    Apr 2001
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    ok...here's another question: what happens if you peel/cube sweet potatoes or yams ahead of time? do they get brown like regular potatoes?

  10. #10
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    Zinnia- thanks for the tip on the potatoes. Sometimes I get carried away and peel too many and I feel like I have to cook all of them at once. Guess I can hold some over. Vicky

  11. #11
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    Funny, I was going to post this same question. I diced some potatoes about an hour ahead of time .... I ended up leaving them on the cutting board and covering with plastic wrap ... they still turned brown, but guess what? I transfered the brown potatoes to a bowl of ice water and they came out as fresh and white as can be. I was making lentil soup, so I didn't worry too much about the starch issue. From now on I will stick with the water method. This allowed me to prep all my ingredients but make the soup at the last minute so the potaotes were not mushy.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
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    Irvine, CA
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    Pommes Anna

    I made these the other nite and peeled and sliced them about 2 hours ahead of putting it together. I soaked in reg. cool tap water, dried them a bit, and went ahead They were fabulous and very attractive. YUM!
    Barbara

  13. #13
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    Your question reminded me of my husbands late grandmother. She told me once that when she was a young homemaker, she'd peel potatoes first thing after everyone left the house for school and work. She'd soak them in water in a pot on the stove. Then she'd go to her friends house next door for coffee and shopping. Sometimes she said she would barely get home before everyone else, but it looked as though she'd been getting dinner ready!Thanks for reminding me of such a wonderful lady.

  14. #14
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    Oct 2001
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    That's great news!

    Thanks for these tips ladies - these are wonderful.
    In the beginning, God created man, but seeing him so feeble, He gave him a dog

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