Dehydrating Potatoes

Discussion in 'Back to Basics' started by Equilibrium, Jan 4, 2011.

  1. Equilibrium

    Equilibrium Monkey++

    I need help... a light went on in my head recently that lifestyle "changes" were inevitable. I'd like to be better prepared.... live more sustainably.... reduce my dependencies....grow more of my own food....etc. I joined another forum that wasn't a good "fit" for me. They have some quality members however they're like a little clique and they speak at you not to you if that makes sense. This was a post I made that was all but ignored, "I am beginning to learn how to dehydrate. The newest edition of the publication sold by Excaliber, 'Preserve It Naturally', suggests steam blanching potatoes for 4-6 minutes. 'The Dehydrator Bible' suggests blanching for 5 minutes with no mention of boiling v. steaming. I have dehydrated 14 different vegetables successfully... I think.... except potatoes. All that I have read states the best way to reduce the micro organisms responsible for food spoilage is by blanching and that we should begin timing once the produce is brought to a gentle boil. I've tried this 3 times and my potatoes are reduced to mush when transferred to the cold water. While this may be fine for flakes to make mashed potatoes, I'm more interested in slices for casseroles and au gratin dishes and cubes for soups. Would anyone be in a position to share with me where I'm going wrong?". The one reply I received was a cut and paste of a previously posted "Tater drying method I and II" post from another one of their threads that I'd already read. I sure would appreciate if someone whose dehydrated potatoes before.... could offer some guidance based on 1st hand experience. I'm sure I'm going wrong somewhere that someone more experienced might be able to spot. Many thanks in advance.
  2. magnus392

    magnus392 Field Marshall Mags Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    As a foodie I have to ask how small are you cutting the potatoes? If it is a fine slice or dice it is as simple as over cooking. Also blanching veg means having the water at a decent boil and tossing in your food, then remove (after an amount of time) immediately to ice water bath. I would suggest a larger dice, or thicker slice, uniformity will be the key to cooking all of the potato to that just right stage for dehydrating which I would put at just before fork tender.
  3. Equilibrium

    Equilibrium Monkey++

    I have been cutting the slices to 1/4". I did have the water at a decent boil when the slices were added. I began "timing" once the water was brought back to a boil which took about 10 minutes. I stirred the slices every few minutes until the water began boiling then set my timer to 5 minutes. In reading your comments about "fork tender", do you think it's possible I was trying to blanch too many at once? My best guess is I was blanching about 3-4 lbs at once and that took the water a long time to be brought back to a boil which is when I started timing so I'm thinking you're right and this is over cooking. Still think I should try a thicker slice or maybe reducing the blanching time to 1 minute after the water is brought back to a boil? BTW, thanks for trying to help me.
  4. Disciple

    Disciple Monkey+

    Watch Dehydrate 2stores video's on youtube. She says sliced works better than diced and steam blanching, so you can gain uniformity with thickness in your slices purchase a mandolin slicer and to keep them from browning till your ready to dehydrate keep them in a clean 5 gallon bucket in ice water to keep them from turning brown.
  5. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    I thought you were supposed to cut the potatoes AFTER you dipped in hot water (and then in cold water), just prior to dehydrating. Am I wrong?
  6. kckndrgn

    kckndrgn Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member | Videos

    She boils, then refrigerates overnight, then slices, then dehydrates. Looks like she's cooking completely, not just blanching
  7. Equilibrium

    Equilibrium Monkey++

    Disciple> steaming is superior IMHO. Problem is I've been processing over 12 lbs in one sitting and the steamer basket is small and.... I get distracted when the phone rings or the dogs have to go out and.... I ended up steaming too long. Oopsie.... they fell apart just like they did when I let the water come to a full boil then started timing. Broker> I think how we process is a personal preference situation as long as it works for us and we're happy with the end product.... it works. One thing though, if they're fully cooked... I don't know that there would be any reason to dip them in cold water. The cold water is more to stop the scalding process to reduce destruction of "good" enzymes that occurs when temps are maintained too high for too long. kckndrgn> You described another way of prepping potatoes for dehydration. My understanding and.... please know I'm pretty new to all this... is our goal is to blanch to inhibit the cellular activity that normally causes spoilage and by that I mean remove/reduce naturally occurring microbial enzymes responsible for growth and maturation since those very same enzymes are also responsible for food spoilage. They're the catalysts. I'm blanching instead of fully cooking because I want to destroy as many oxidizing enzymes as possible without unduly compromising the nutritional value of the food. This is a food safety issue to me with the added benefit of increasing nutrition while extending the shelf life of what I'm putting up.... with the exception of squash, pumpkins, and sweet potatoes which I've learned are supposed to be fully cooked before being dehydrated or frozen and onions and peppers that don't require blanching at all. I'm pretty sure that blanching for too long or.... fully cooking most veggies....will destroy some of the "good" enzymes that contribute to the nutritional value of my food... food that I'm trying to preserve by dehydrating at lower temps as opposed to preserving by using hot water baths or high pressure canning.
  8. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Yeah, I don't know. To me, it's kind of like chopping up a good steak just before grilling. The steak tastes better and holds up well when intact, but if cut apart it turns into a cheesesteak hoagie -which is a "win-win" but it is not ribeye, no sir. ;) Obviously it must be cut into slices before dehydrating (just wanted to include that).

    Hey, let me know how the potato thing turns out. If you can successfully dehydrate and rehydrate them, I will be interested in making a batch or 20.
  9. Equilibrium

    Equilibrium Monkey++

    The potatoes I've done so far turned out great. They rehydrate well and nobody noticed any loss of flavor or texture for that matter.... as long as you're ok with mashed potatoes since that's all mine have been good for so far. This afternoon I tried magnus392's "fork tender" test using the same 1/4" slice. I dropped the potatoes in rapidly boiling water then waited for them to come back to a boil stirring occasionally then turned the heat down to a gentle boil and just kept sticking a fork in. I think my problem was overcooking. Instead of 5 minutes, it only took 1. When I dropped them in the ice cold water, they didn't disintegrate this time. The time it takes to bring that quantity of taters back to a boil must have been my killer. I suspect re-hydrating them will be no more difficult than re-hydrating the disintegrated taters but if you want, I can make a casserole for dinner tomorrow night to give you the low down. I've got 13 lbs of them in the dehydrator now. One thing I forgot to mention I've been doing.... I discard the very ends of the taters. Those tips never have dehydrated well for me so they're better off tossed in my composter.
  10. Hi there. I just wanted to tell you that I am a newbie to all of this home canning and preserving myself. I was from Houston, Texas a year ago and now I live with my fiance'........ on a ranch....... in deep East Texas........ where horses wander about in the early morning and my significant other brands cattle and owns a hunting preserve. LOL. If anyone has got you beat on feeling LOST in all of the preserving madness, it has GOT to be me! :) However, I have the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving, the Better Home and Gardens CAN IT, as well as my All-American instruction and recipe book and Oster Food Dehydrator user manual. I am attempting to dehydrate potatoes for the first time as we speak. So far, I have dehydrated bananas, strawberries, and lemon, lime, and orange slices (GREAT for a lot of cosmetic stuff as well as making your own cleaning products). My Oster Food Dehydrator says to blanch potatoes in microwave or steam pot for approximately 1/3 to 1/2 of their normal cooking time. Blot dry with paper towels and begin to dehydrate (6-12 hours in my dehydrator, as time varies dependent upon how thick or thin I cut my potatoes... which, if done in this manner, awards me that privilege).

    I must add, that so far I have canned fresh apple slices, a ton of potato cubes, tomatoes (YEAH, my first three projects happened to be high-acid foods and/or a pain in the rear to prep for preserving without a food processor, slicer, scale, etc.), my awesome homemade old-fashioned vegetable beef soup, and apple sauce with a record of only ONE lid that did not seal properly and so far there are no signs of spoilage or anything else wrong with the food I have preserved thus far... so I am going to stick to what I have been following--- all the materials aforementioned.

    Also, I have a TON of materials saved on my computer on canning, dehydrating, freezing, preserving, etc. If you would like, I can email what I have to you or maybe I can upload it all to my Google Sky Drive and share the link with you. I would offer to burn you a disc and mail it, but then I think I might sound like a weirdo, and a weirdo I am not. :) Let me know, and good luck. I hope you find your equilibrium!
  11. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    Welcome to the Monkey Tree @CityGirlToHomesteader We all started out somewhere, along the Prep'en Timeline.... Some of us go back generations, and many are just getting started. What really matters, is to have an "Open Mind" and be willing to Learn, from the experience of others.... We have a family oriented Site, here, with many "Good Folks" to chat with, and learn from. Glad you decided to come along on this adventure in LifeSkill Development...... .......
    chelloveck likes this.
  12. Sapper John

    Sapper John Analog Monkey in a Digital World

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