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Potato Preparation

How to Bake Idaho® Potatoes

Selection

Potato Count Approximate Weight
140 count 5–6 oz.
120 count 6–7 oz.
100 count 7–9 oz.
90 count 8–11 oz.
80 count 9–12 oz.

Product Identification

Look for these signs of Idaho® potato quality:

  • Grown in Idaho® seal on the bag
  • Oval shape
  • Net-textured skin
  • Few eyes
  • Russet brown skin
  • Shallow eyes

Washing Tips

  • Soak and scrub to remove dirt but not break the skin
  • Place potatoes in the swirling water of a pot washer tank
  • Drain into a colander
  • Special brushes can be installed inside a vegetable peeler

Preparation

  • Pierce the skin with a fork to prevent possible bursting in oven.
  • To prevent excessive shrinkage on the steam table or in holding warmers, the skin may be coated lightly with a vegetable oil. This will, however, prevent the skin from becoming crispy.
  • For extra flavor, strained bacon drippings or infused olive oil flavors can be used for the coating.
  • Foil covering before baking holds in the moisture and steams the potato. After baking, it still traps in the steam to soften the crispy skin. Remember that the skins are good to eat because of the added nutrients in the skin and directly under them.

Baking

  • Always place washed potatoes on a baking sheet in a single layer.
  Convection Conventional Microwave
Equipment 18" x 26" tray   18" x 26" tray
Potato Count 80–140 80–140 80–140
Oven Temperature 375°F 425°F High
Time 45 min. 60 min. *

Holding

  • A baked potato should be held at 180° for no longer than 45 minutes before serving to ensure the best quality.

Storage

  • Fresh potatoes should be held in a cool place—45°. Do not refrigerate. The potato starch turns to sugar and the potato becomes sweet at temperature below 42°. Excessive light will turn the outer skins greenish and cause a bitter flavor. Excessive heat (above 50°) will cause shrinkage of the outer skin. Store with the carton lid to prevent greening.

Chilled Food Systems

  • If it is necessary to cut a baked potato in half for service, place the cut side down on the plate to prevent drying and darkening of the surface. Dip surface in a mixture of water and concentrated lemon juice (1 tablespoon to 1 gallon water) to help prevent oxidation. A pat of butter may be added by piercing the top before heating.

Serving

  • For best results, do not wrap in foil.
  • With a fork or potato popper, pierce the skin in the form of a cross. Do not cut with a knife. It flattens the surface, seals the cells so they won’t absorb dairy products (e.g., butter, sour cream), and prevents the potato from being fluffy.
  • “Blossom” or open the potato as close to service as possible by pressing the ends toward the center, lifting and fluffing the meat of the potato.

Topping Tips

  • Flavored sour cream, yogurt, cottage cheese (whipped), cheeses, sautéed pepper and onion, mushrooms and herbs, herbed or seasoned butters, gravies.

 

How to Prepare French Fries from Fresh Idaho® Potatoes

Selection

Idaho Fresh Whole Potatoes Institutional Pack Forms Available

  Packing Product Description
Unpeeled Potatoes 50-lb bag
50-lb box
U.S. Grade No. 1
Idaho® potatoes fresh, whole;
packed 60 to 120 count*
Peeled Potatoes 30-lb bags U.S. Grade No. 1 Idaho®
potatoes fresh, whole;
packaged loose in assorted sizes

*For ease in handling 10- to 14-oz. potatoes are recommended.

Storage and Handling

Fresh Unpeeled

Fresh potatoes need to be stored in a dark, cool area, preferably 45°F. They should never be refrigerated. To allow proper air circulation, remove carton lid. Temperatures below 35°F cause potato starch to turn to sugar. Darkness keeps outer skins from turning green and prevents development of a bitter flavor. Outer skins may begin to shrink in environments warmer than 50°F.

Commercially Peeled

Unopened bags of peeled potatoes must be stored at refrigerator temperature (35°F to 40°F). They may be held in unopened bags up to 14 days. Once bag is opened, peeled potatoes should be used within a week.

Preparation

Fresh Unpeeled

  • Scrub thoroughly to remove dirt but not break the skin. Leaving skins on will add flavor and nutrition to fries.

Fresh Peeled

  • For removing skins, potatoes can be easily peeled in commercially available automatic vegetable peelers.
  • A solution of water and acid, such as white wine vinegar or concentrated lemon juice,* should be used to treat potatoes after peeling to prevent browning. Once treated, potatoes will hold up to 24 hours before frying.

    *1 tablespoon lemon juice to 1 gallon water

  • Chilling French fries up to 2 hours before frying will increase crispness. Remove excess liquid before frying to avoid spattering.

Commercially Peeled

  • Wash thoroughly or soak in clear water before using.
  • Keep chilled for crispness.

Oil Care

  • Keep the oil fresh and equipment spotlessly clean.
  • Drain and filter the fat frequently, adding new oil daily.
  • Strain out burnt pieces of food from baskets.
  • Replace oil completely if it starts to smoke, forms bubbles along the side, or becomes excessively dark. This indicates that the oil is breaking down and will result in fries that have poor color, poor flavor, and a greasy texture.

Frying

  • Be sure to find the right temperature for your frying conditions. This varies with the type of equipment, amount of oil, temperature setting, heat recovery, amount of food fried, and the thickness of the cut.
  • Remember, the lower the fat temperature, the longer the cooking time and the greater the fat absorption.
  • Use a timer and a fat thermometer for best results.
  • Always cook in small batches, filling the baskets only half full.

Time, Temperature and Yield

Time, Temperature and Weight Yield Chart for One-Step Frying of Fresh Idaho® Peeled & Unpeeled Potatoes

Original Form of Potato/Cut Oil Temperature Time Raw Weight *Average Total Yield Alter Frying
Whole, Unpeeled 1/4" Fries 350°F 3½ min. 4 lb. 2 lb. 12 oz.
Jacket-Fries with skin on 350°F 3½ min. 4 lb. 2 lb. 10 oz.
Shoestring
Fries
350°F 3 min. 4 lb. 3 lb.
Whole, Peeled 1/4" Fries 350°F 3½ min. 4 lb. 1 lb. 4 oz.
Round
Fries
350°F 3½ min. 4 lb. 1 lb. 10 oz.
Shoestring
Fries
350°F 4 min. 4 lb. 1 lb. 12 oz.

*Weight loss is due to loss of moisture in potatoes.

Purchasing

Average Quantity of Fresh Idaho Potatoes* Required to Prepare and to Yield 4-Ounce Servings of French Fries

Form of Potato 25 Servings 50 Servings 100 Servings
Whole, unpeeled 1/4" fries 10¼ lb. 21 lb. 41 ½ lb.
Jacket fries 9¼ lb. 18½ lb. 37 lb.
Shoestring fries 9½ lb. 19 lb. 37½ lb.
Whole, peeled 1/4" fries 20 lb. 40 lb. 80 lb.
Round fries 15¼ lb. 30½ lb. 61 lb.
Shoestring fries 14¼ lb. 28½ lb. 57 lb.

*Weight designated is as purchased.

Holding

Holding Fresh French Fried Potatoes

Holding Equipment Time Temperature Approximate Weight of Fries and Holding Container
Warming Cabinet 5–10 min. 300°F 1¼ lb. in perforated full pan inside deep full pan
Heat Lamp 10 min. 100°–120°F 1¼ lb. per full pan
Steam Table 5–10 min.   ¾ lb. per half pan

Serving Tips

  • Golden brown color indicates fries are done. Drain before serving, then salt or season. French fries can be served with dips as hors d’oeuvres. Sprinkle with any shake-on seasoning (herb, lemon, pepper, barbecue, etc.) or with grated cheese.
  • Individual serving sizes range from 3 to 5 oz. in fast food establishments. Restaurants usually serve 4½ to 5 oz.; healthcare facilities 2½ to 3 oz.; college dining 3½ to 4 oz.; and school lunch programs 3 to 3½ oz.

Specific Gravity in Potatoes

The high water content of some non-Idaho® russet potatoes can result in a mushy, steamed texture, as well as lower yield when preparing French fries. Idaho® potatoes, with an average of 21 percent potato solids, ensure superior texture, great flavor, and a crisp, golden appearance.

Perform this simple experiment to pretest your potatoes for optimum moisture content before you fry them.

Simple Test to separate high- and low-specific-gravity potatoes

Potatoes high in solids will sink and those lower in solids will float.

Solids Chart

Specific Gravity Total Solids
1.069 18.2
1.070 18.5
1.071 18.7
1.072 19.0
1.073 19.2
1.074 19.4
1.075 19.7
1.076 19.9
1.077 20.1
1.078 20.3
1.079 20.5
1.080 20.8
1.081 21.0
1.082 21.2
 
Specific Gravity Total Solids
1.083 21.4
1.084 21.7
1.085 21.9
1.086 22.1
1.087 22.3
1.088 22.5
1.089 22.7
1.090 22.9
1.091 23.2
1.092 23.5
1.093 23.8
1.094 24.1
1.095 24.3
1.096 24.5

Ideal solids average for dry, fluffy potatoes

How to Prepare Mashed Potatoes from Fresh, Whole Idaho® Potatoes

Selection

Idaho® potatoes may be used for mashed potato production in the following forms:

Idaho Fresh Whole Potatoes Institutional Pack Forms Available

  Pack Product Description
Unpeeled Potatoes 50-lb. bag
50-lb. box
U.S. Grade No. 1 Idaho® potatoes fresh, whole; packed 60 to 160 count
Peeled Potatoes 30-lb. bag U.S. Grade No. 1 Idaho® potatoes fresh, whole; packaged loose, unsized

Storage

Fresh Unpeeled

  • Fresh potatoes need to be stored in a dark, cool area, preferably 45°F. They should never be refrigerated. Allow proper air circulation. Temperatures below 35°F cause potato starch to turn to sugar. Darkness keeps outer skins from turning green and prevents development of bitter flavor. Outer skins may begin to shrink in environments warmer than 50°F.

Commercially Peeled

  • Unopened bags of peeled potatoes must be stored at refrigerator temperature (35°–45°F) and may be refrigerated up to 14 days. Once bag is opened, prepeeled potatoes should be used within one week.

Preparation

  • Unpeeled potatoes may be peeled prior to cooking or cooked with skins on, rinsed under cool water, and peeled.
  • Commercially peeled potatoes must be rinsed before cooking.

Final Preparation

Heating Times Required to Cook Potatoes from Whole Unpeeled or Peeled Idaho® Potatoes

  25 Servings 50 Servings 100 Servings
Steam-jacket Kettle* 35–40 min. 40 min. 40–45 min.
Pressure Steamer 25–30 min. 30–35 min. 30–35 min.
Rangetop Burners* 60 min. 70 min. 75 min.
Convection Steamer 40–45 min. 40–45 min. 45–50 min.

*Water level should be approximately 4" above potatoes.

Ingredients and Procedure to Prepare Mashed Potatoes from Fresh Whole Idaho® Potatoes

  25 Servings
(½ cup)
50 Servings
(½ cup)
100 Servings
(½ cup)
Potatoes (weight as purchased)
Whole, unpeeled 6 lb. 12 lb. 25 lb.
Whole, peeled 5 lb. 10 lb. 22 lb.
Milk 3–4 cups 1½–2 qt. 3–4 qt.
Margarine or Butter ¼ lb. ½ lb. 1 lb.
Salt 1 ½ Tbsp. 3 Tbsp. ⅛ cup
  1. Cook potatoes until fork tender.
  2. Heat milk to scalding.
  3. Drain potatoes, peel if necessary. Place in mixer.
  4. Pour heated milk into mixer with potatoes. Whip on “low” setting until smooth, 1–2 minutes.
  5. Add margarine or butter and salt. Whip on “high” setting 3–4 minutes.

Yield may vary depending upon amount of milk used and whipping time. The more milk used and the longer the product is whipped, the greater the volume of mashed potatoes. Therefore, a No. 8 scoop (1/2 cup) may hold between 4.5 and 6.5 fluid ounces. A No. 10 scoop (3/8 cup) holds between 3.5 and 4.5 fluid ounces of prepared mashed potato.

Holding

  Holding Time
Steam Table (moist heat) #7* Up to 60 min.
Warming Cabinet (175°–200°F) 50–60 min.
  • Use a deep half steam table pan (13½" x 10½" x 6" deep). Keep covered.
  • If dry-heat table is used, set pan in water bath.

Serving

  • Garnish just prior to serving with margarine or butter and parsley.
  • Use No. 8 or No. 10 scoop, yielding 1/2 cup and 3/8 cup servings, respectively. For less stringent portion control, serve with an unslotted spoon.

Chill Plating

  • Prepared mashed potatoes may be pre-plated using a scoop. Rounded top of potatoes should be depressed with underside of scoop and margarine added.

Microwave Oven

Internal Temp. 150–160°F 1000-Watt 1300-Watt
Heating times for plated meals containing approximately 2½ cup mashed potatoes, 2nd vegetable, and entrée 1 min. 45 sec. to 2 min. 1 min. 30 sec.to 1 min. 45 sec.

How to Prepare Hash Browns from Precooked Baked or Steamed Idaho® Potatoes

Selection

Idaho® Fresh Whole Potatoes—Institutional Pack Forms Available

Internal Temp. 150–160°F Pack Product Description
Unpeeled Potatoes 50-lb. bag
50-lb. box
U.S. Grade No 1 Idaho® potatoes, fresh, whole
(packed 60–160 count)
Peeled Potatoes 30-lb. bag U.S. Grade No 1 Idaho® potatoes, fresh, whole
(packaged loose, unsized)

Storage

  • Leftover unpeeled baked Idaho® potatoes and steamed/ boiled potatoes should be covered with plastic wrap or other airtight covering and refrigerated.
  • Unused, cooked Idaho potatoes may be refrigerated (35° to 40°F) for three to five days, depending on length of time before refrigeration.

Preparation

Average Yield of Pre-Cooked Peeled Idaho® Potatoes Required to Prepare and Yield 1/2-cup (approximately 4 oz.) Servings of Hash Browns

  25 ½ cup servings 50 ½ cup servings 100 ½ cup servings
Pre-Cooked Peeled Potatoes 6 lb. 12 lb. 25 lb.

Note: approximate yield of 88% after peeling

  • Baked potato skins may be removed using a paring knife,
  • A commercial food cutter should be used to slice or dice whole, peeled potatoes. Let bowl rotate until most potatoes are in 1/4- to 3/8-inch pieces. Caution: Do not run too long. Potatoes should not be cut into small pieces.

Final Preparation

  • Add all optional ingredients and seasoning before cooking.
  • Preheat grill to 375° and generously grease surface with pan/griddle shortening, vegetable oil, strained bacon fat, margarine, or a combination.
  • Pour potatoes on grill and mix gently to coat all pieces. Spread 1/2" to 3/4" thick on grill surface.
  • Do not flatten potatoes.
  • During cooking process additional fat is necessary to prevent sticking and increase browning of hash browns. This shortening/oil should be added directly to the grill and not poured over potatoes.
  • Mixture should remain loose and be lightly tossed during cooking to allow uniform browning.

Times and Temperatures

At a grill temperature of 375°F, potatoes should be cooked 2–4 minutes each side. Twenty-five servings are easily handled on a standard 31" x 32" food service grill. For large quantities, repeat procedure.

NOTE: Increased grill temperature may cause spattering of fat and burning of potatoes.

Holding

  Temperature Time
Dry Heat Steam Table 5 to 7* 25 to 30 minutes
Warming Cabinet 175°F 15 to 20 minutes

*On a scale of 10

  • Layer hash browns about 1/2" thick in steam table pan 13" x 21" x 2" and hold in dry heat with lid slightly off.
  • In preheated warming cabinet, hash browns should be spread on baking sheet pans 18" x 26" and left uncovered.

Serving

  • Garnish hash browns just prior to serving with paprika, parsley, dollop of sour cream or grated cheese.
  • For portion control service, ready-to-serve hash browns should be placed into measure but not firmly packed.
  • For less stringent portion control, serve with a spatula or spoon.

Variations

  • Prepared hash brown potatoes may be used to prepare Lyonnaise with onions, O’Brien with parsley and chopped pimiento, and Italian with oregano, rosemary and mozzarella cheese.
  • Flavored vinegars, honey, syrups, herbs or seasoned salt, Tabasco, etc., are some regional favorites.

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