Have you ever wondered why you need to soak potatoes before cooking? For how long should you soak them? Will you see a real difference in cooking? Is it worth the time? Let’s find out!
First of all, let’s find out why you should soak the potatoes in water and what result you will get. And should I soak them every time? Or only for some specific recipes?
Why Should You Soak Potatoes?
The main reason why you need to soak the potatoes is that the potatoes are very rich in starch and starch may be a strong allergen.
Starch (this is such a polysaccharide) in our stomach turns into glucose, which raises blood sugar levels. For overweight people with diabetes, this reaction can cause a lot of suffering;
Quick Note: The youngest potatoes are – the more starch they contain.
The second reason is that starch feeds on pathogenic flora in the intestines, such as Candida fungus, which often leads to constipation or diarrhea.
Soaking potatoes allows you to get rid of most of the starch, remove nitrates, and make the product less nutritious and more useful.
At the same time, the characteristics of the potatoes are improved: after cooking, mashed potatoes become airy, and not gelatinous;
The third reason. For people suffering from kidney disease and on hemodialysis, eating potatoes that have not been soaked beforehand is categorically contraindicated. An increase in the level of potassium in the body (hyperkalemia) can be dangerous to health and life.
If we are referring to the results you will see in cooking then if you soak the potatoes in cold water, they will not brown too fast, and will have a more evenly cooked and a crispier crust if you will bake them in the oven or the air fryer.
How to Soak Potatoes?
First of all, peel the potatoes from stains and remove completely the problem areas.
You should immediately discard greenish potatoes, as they contain a toxic substance (it is called solanine), which, even in small quantities, can cause inflammation of the stomach lining, and it also contributes to the destruction of blood cells and disruption of the nervous system;
Next, rinse and cut the potatoes into cubes of similar size.
In the end, pour warm water after the potatoes and leave them to soak.
Quick Note: It is important to note that the water must completely cover the contents of the bowl (the potatoes must be placed completely under the water);
Then change the water and repeat the process. Fill with water again, adding a little salt and ascorbic acid. If you use homemade potatoes and you are sure that nitrates were not used when growing them, then you can stop at this point;
Quick Note: It should be noted that the smaller you cut the potatoes, the faster the starch will come out.
How Long to Soak Potatoes?
It all depends on how young the potatoes are, and how thick you cut the potatoes.
If you cut the potatoes into small cubes, it will be enough to soak them for about 15-30 minutes. If you have more time, you can leave them to soak for up to two hours.
This will help the potatoes to become crisp after cooking.
If you need to cook whole potatoes, then it is better to fill the potatoes with clean water in advance and leave the potatoes soaking overnight, since the starch removal time will be up to 10-12 hours.
Quick Note: If you will leave the potatoes soaking overnight, then I will recommend moving them to the fridge.
Can You Soak Potatoes for Too Long?
If you cut the potatoes into small pieces and leave them overnight, they may start losing their structure and flavor. Because of that, keep also in mind the size of the potatoes, their age, and the time you will leave them to soak in water.
What Happens if You Don’t Soak Potatoes Before Frying?
If you are limited on time, you can omit the step with soaking potatoes. The only difference you will see is that they will be richer in starch, and will not be so crispy in the end.
If this is not a problem for you, then skip the soaking step.
What Is the Fastest Way to Remove Starch From a Potato?
If you are limited on time and are looking for the quickest method to remove the starch from potatoes, then cut them into smaller pieces as the smaller you will cut the potatoes, the quicker the starch will be removed from the potatoes. Also, you may consider changing the water a few times.
A Few Notes About Potatoes
It is not a secret that potato skin contains a lot of vitamins and because of that, many people eat boiled potatoes with the skin on them.
I would recommend eating potatoes with skin only if the potatoes were grown in your garden or if you know the provenance of the potatoes as they may contain a lot of nitrates.
If you bought the potatoes from the store, then the skin of the potatoes can be dangerous for you, since the content of harmful substances in the potato skin will be greater.
Soaking is mandatory before making puree for kids (if for adults this is not a strict recommendation, then for kids it is a must).
The first complementary foods should be potatoes from your garden and pre-soaked. Many mothers have noticed that their kids have an allergic reaction if they don’t soak the potatoes.
Thus, the benefits of potatoes increase after soaking. It is better not to rush to prepare the dish, but to prepare everything in advance, thereby taking care of your health and the health of loved ones.
Because of that, I would recommend soaking potatoes whenever you have the occasion and you are not limited in time.
How to Cook Potatoes (Including Soaked Ones)
Regarding to Food Standards Agency, in starchy plant foods, which include potatoes, when heated above 250°F (120°C, acrylamide is formed which is a dangerous carcinogen that leads to hormonal imbalances, cell mutations, and cancer in animals and humans.
The substance is formed as a result of a chemical reaction when you fry or bake potatoes. Therefore, it is preferable to steam the vegetable, stew, or boil.
However, there is good news for fans of chips and french fries! Scientists published the results of a study in the journal Science of Food and Agriculture, which showed that pre-soaked potatoes in water reduced the concentration of acrylamide by 48%.
Provided that the product is cooked to a light golden crust, and not to brown.
Pro Tip: In any case, potatoes must be soaked before cooking.
To keep the benefits and improve the taste of the product, follow a few tips:
When you boil potatoes in their skins, add 1 teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice to the water to keep the skin from bursting;
The vegetable will cook faster if you add a piece of butter to the pan;
Cook mashed potatoes as much as you eat at a time: a third of the vitamins are lost during heat treatment, and when reheated, they do not remain at all;
To reduce the level of nitrates in purchased potatoes, cut the skin into a thick layer.
Homemade or farm potatoes are the opposite – peel as thin as possible and eat with the skin on to benefit from the useful nutrients from their skin;
Useful Potato Properties:
Surprisingly, on a potato diet, you can successfully lose weight, which confirms the experience of Andrew Taylor that ate potatoes for more than 100 days and lost 70 pounds.
If you have no contraindications to the use of potatoes, then you can eat them almost every day, but without any exaggeration.
People with high blood sugar, gout, and young children should reduce servings of potatoes.
In conclusion, it should be said that soaking potatoes is a useful and, in some situations, even a necessary procedure.
People who have health problems (namely problems with the stomach, intestines, blood, and so on) should consider soaking the potatoes every time.
Eating potatoes after soaking them will be a much safer solution than regular consumption. Also, if you are making a potato dish for your small kids then you also should consider soaking the potatoes to avoid some allergic reactions and other health problems.
If you are limited on time, soak the potatoes for at least 15-30 minutes. It already will make a difference.
Soaking potatoes is not a complicated procedure, but it brings a huge number of advantages (at the same time, the potatoes will not even lose their taste, that is, there are no disadvantages here).
Answering Your Questions:
You can’t completely remove the entire potassium from the potato content, but leaving the potatoes soaking in water for up to 3 hours, will reduce a good amount of potassium from the potatoes.
Yes. If you soak potatoes, they will be crispier, they will not stick together, and more importantly, the soaked potatoes will be healthier.
If you soak the potatoes in milk, you will get a richer taste and a creamier texture. Soaking potatoes in milk may be a great option if you plan to make a potato creamy soup or a portion of mashed potatoes.