Mystery of the Grey Baked Potatoes
- 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@...>
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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