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I Heard That A Potato, Freshly Harvested In The Fall In Idaho Can Heal Itself In Storage. Is That True?

Q:

Seriously, can a potato, freshly harvested in the fall in Idaho heal itself in storage. Is that possibly true? How long does it take? What are signs that this has happened?

A:

Suberization is a miracle, it is where a potato with cuts and bruises from harvest quite often is able to repair itself in storage at the beginning of the season. It typically takes 2-4 weeks in an ideal storage, which means bringing the temperature from the heat in the field down gradually to 50 degrees F while changing the dry heat in the fields in August to mid-October (Idaho potatoes are only harvested once a year) to a moist environment, some 95% humidity. Still, after several months the potatoes will continue to breath and perspire in storage and can lose upwards of 7% or more of its total weight.

That loss of water or weight at the end of a season contributes to one of the most asked Dr. Potato questions for restaurants and fast food places that make their own fresh fries on premise. "We are not doing anything different but the potatoes at the end of the season turn out beautifully light golden brown while new crop is dark, the potatoes are caramelizing before fully cooked." The old crop has less water content, the new crop often has excess starch and sugars and the potatoes are still adjusting to storage temp changes. A partial solution for new crop, cut the potato strips and place in running water till it runs clear and not cloudy. Blanch in oil a little longer at lower temps and always do a two fry process, blanch and then let sit for at last thirty minutes out of the fryer before finish frying.

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