Thursday, May 26, 2011
Dehydrating Hash Browns
I have a good friend who I talk to on a regular basis. One of the first things she asks whenever we talk is, “What are you canning today?” or “What project have you got going on now?” She and I share ideas and discuss new things we have tried.
I was telling her last week about our potato abundance this year. We live in “potato country” where we can buy fresh potatoes from the farmers in 50 pound bags during harvest every fall. We buy several bags for family or friends and for ourselves which we store in our basement where it is cool. This year we ended up with a couple of large bags left. It has been a cooler spring than normal so they have not started to sprout as much as usual.
For those of you who are not familiar with fresh potatoes, the potatoes we buy are very large, beautiful russets that stay firm and fresh until the weather starts to warm up and then they start to sprout. When the sprouts start to grow, the potatoes start to become soft and are not as easy to use.
I was telling my friend that when the sprouting starts, I have to either use the potatoes quickly or spread them out on newspaper or in boxes and keep the sprouts broken off until I can use the potatoes up. I mentioned that it was going to be hard for my husband and me to eat over 100 pounds of potatoes before they go bad.
Her reply was, “You need to dry those potatoes! With all the flooding and disasters around the country this year, who knows what kind of a harvest of potatoes or any food for that matter, there will be next fall? I realized that she was right. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of this before. So I started the process of making homemade dried hash brown potatoes.
These potatoes are easy to dry and store well in a small amount of space. I am so excited to get the rest of these potatoes dried and stored as part of my food storage. I can’t believe I didn’t even consider drying these potatoes before. I’m grateful to my friend for the suggestion and also to have the potatoes available to do this. Things don’t look very good weather-wise and so many people are in such a sad situation with the tornados, devastation and with many entire farms being underwater without much hope for a crop of any kind. Take advantage of any abundance you may have now and prepare for the time when you or someone you know is in need.
Here are the easy directions for making homemade dehydrated hash brown potatoes.
1. Peel the potatoes and put them in a large pot of cold water. 2. Grate them using a grater, the grater attachment on a food processor, salad shooter or other appliance you use for grating.
3. Using a colander or large strainer, rinse the grated potatoes well until the water runs clear and no starch remains.
4. Immerse grated potatoes into boiling water for 3-4 minutes.
5. Immediately drain water from potatoes and put potatoes in a pan and cover with cold water.
6. Add 1 c. lemon juice; stir the lemon juice into the potatoes and water.
7. Let potatoes sit in lemon water for 45 minutes. The lemon juice with not affect the taste of the potatoes.
8. Drain off the potatoes.
9. Spread grated potatoes on dehydrator sheets. Dry several hours or until crispy.
10. Store potatoes in sealed containers. For long term storage, seal with oxygen absorbers in Mylar bags or #10 dry pack cans.
11. To rehydrate: Use 2 c. dried hash browns; cover with boiling water and let set 15-20 minutes. (Optional: add dried onion flakes in with your potatoes to rehydrate and make “taters and onion” hash browns.
12. Cook for hash browns, add to soups or casseroles of your choice.