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What is a Potato Agglomerate?

Q:

Can you please tell me what a "potato flake, granule or agglomerate" is?

A:

Instant potatoes typically fall into three categories, potato flakes, granules and agglomerates. All are made just like you would do at home, but on a really really large scale. The potatoes are washed, steamed to loosen the peel, then heated to fully cook and take out moist of the moisture. The flakes are made by using rollers to crush the potatoes to dry them out and rid them of water. The dehydrating creates a thin, almost newspaper sheet that is broken up into a finer texture. Idahoan® brand is an example of this. There are usually less expensive in grocery stores, but now come in a myriad of styles with buttery flavor, garlic, etc. These work well for home usage because the person fixing them usually measures carefully and fixes them for immediate use. With flakes, once the potato cells are crushed they can only absorb liquids in cooking once without starting to get gluey. The granules or agglomerates are more like a grain of sand that is tumbled with various flavorings (such as dairy) and spices. These are used a lot in foodservice, standing up to extended serving periods, and withstanding less exact additions of liquid by workers who may measure slightly different than the next person fixing the multiple servings.  All the potato processors have improved the final product, so if you have not tried these in a while it’s time to try again. All the dry potatoes are stable for long periods of time in the original containers and make a perfect go-to side or back up item in your pantry.