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Why Are My Potatoes Crunchy After Baking And Crock Pot?

Q:

I cooked potato soup and the cubes were still crunchy. I baked the potatoes for over two hours and then they were in the crock pot all morning but remained hard and crunchy! Some were fine but many remained hard. What could be the answer because there is no way they were undercooked?  

A:

If you've baked potatoes for over two hours and then cooked them in a crockpot all morning, they should have been thoroughly cooked, and they shouldn't have remained hard and crunchy. There are a few possible explanations for this issue:

  1. Potato Variety: Different varieties of potatoes have different textures when cooked. Some potatoes are naturally firmer than others. It's possible that the variety of potatoes you used may have a firmer texture, even when fully cooked. For soups, it's generally recommended to use russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, as they tend to break down and become softer when cooked.
  2. Size and Cut: The size and cut of the potato pieces can also affect their cooking time. Smaller pieces will cook faster and become softer than larger ones. If the potato cubes were too large or unevenly cut, this might result in some pieces remaining crunchy.
  3. Crockpot Temperature: Crockpots can cook at varying temperatures, even on the same setting. If your crockpot is not heating evenly or maintaining a consistent temperature, it might have resulted in uneven cooking.
  4. Insufficient Liquid: If there wasn't enough liquid in the crockpot, it could have caused uneven cooking. Potatoes need to be fully submerged in liquid to cook evenly.
  5. Old Potatoes: Very old or stored potatoes can become starchy and may not soften as well during cooking. It's best to use fresh, firm potatoes.
  6. Acidic Ingredients: If your soup contained highly acidic ingredients (e.g., tomatoes), it could have affected the texture of the potatoes. Acidic ingredients can slow down the softening process of potatoes.
  7. Overcooking: It's also possible that the potatoes were overcooked, which can lead to a somewhat grainy or mealy texture. Potatoes tend to break down and become mushy if they're cooked for an extended period beyond their ideal doneness.

To ensure that your potatoes become soft and tender, consider using the right type of potatoes, ensuring even and appropriately sized cuts, providing sufficient liquid, and avoiding overly long cooking times. If you've ruled out all these factors and still encounter this issue, it might be a good idea to check the calibration of your crockpot's temperature settings or consider using a different cooking method.