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Mystery of the Grey Baked Potatoes

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  • Maria Rost Rublee
    Hi, everyone, I had asked for people to fill out a survey on baked potato crockpot cooking a while ago. I apologize for the delay in getting a summary back to
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 4, 2001
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      Hi, everyone, I had asked for people to fill out a survey on baked potato
      crockpot cooking a while ago. I apologize for the delay in getting a
      summary back to everyone!

      Basically, the problem was that some people seemed to get grey and/or
      black potatoes when they cooked them in crockpot, even though they were
      following the same directions as everyone else. I thought if we tried to
      account for all the different variables that might affect how the potatoes
      cooked, we could come up with an answer.

      Unfortunately, there didn't seem to be any pattern. People who cooked the
      baked potatoes that turned out grey did the same things and used the same
      type of potatoes as those whose potatoes turned out great. I think the
      best explanation is listed below in the message from Deirdre. Perhaps
      someone who has gotten grey/black potatoes in the past can try the cream
      of tartar solution and let us know how it turns out!


      ---------- Forwarded message ----------
      Date: Tue, 23 Jan 2001 11:36:11 -0800
      From: Deirdre Williamson Allen <dewilli2@...>
      To: slowcooker@egroups.com
      Subject: [slowcooker] Black spots on potatoes

      I just got the February issue of Martha Stewart Living, and I was pleased to
      find in the "Ask Martha" section a question about the pototoes. Here it is:
      Q: Can you tell me why potatoes sometimes turn black in spots when I
      cook them in water?
      A: Ironically, one of the qualities that make potatoes nutritious can
      also make them look unappetizing. Potatoes are naturally rich in iron, a
      mineral that, when the tubers are cooked and their cellular structure begins
      to break down, sometimes reacts with other chemicals (phenolic compounds) to
      cause discoloration. Ranging from a dingy gray to black, the discoloration
      usually occurs near the stem end of the potato, which is why this
      phenomenon is called stem-end blackening. It isn't clear why some potatoes
      are more susceptible to this than others--blackening deosn't always
      occur--but fortunately, there's a simple preventative: Add a small amount of
      acid, such as cream of tartar, to the water; it will bind with the iron and
      counteract discoloration. Stir 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar into the water
      about midway through cooking, or add about 1/2 teaspoon per pound of
      potatoes right before mashing.

      Well, I thought that was pretty cool. I hope that answers our questions
      about the potatoes turning black! Have a great day...
      Deirdre Williamson Allen

      For the immediate future, and perhaps for a long way ahead, the continuity
      of our culture may have to be maintained by a very small number of people.
      -T. S. Eliot, in The Criterion (1939)

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