Happy Kitchen Tip Tuesday! Tammy's Recipes took a couple of well-deserved weeks off and I kind of got out of the groove. I've been meaning to post for a while on what I do with questionable potatoes from the garden, as well as providing tips on freezing potatoes. The caveat here is that I only am going to show you my method - it's the only one I use because we like it so well!
After my hubs digs potatoes, I sort them. All the good ones get set out to harden off per Laura at Heavenly Homemaker's directions. The ones that have some green on them and the ones that got cut by the spade are turned into mashed potatoes and frozen.
In the picture at left, you can see a lot of green on some of the potatoes. I make sure to cut all the green off as it is toxic, but the rest of the potato seems fine to eat. I also trim the cut edges, mostly because they got dirty and have sat for a few days by the time I get to them, so they're pretty icky. I also use any potatoes that have bad spots that I can cut away. Similar to tomatoes, I cut and sniff until I don't smell any "ick" - just potato and kind of a fresh dirt smell. :>)
I then slice up the potatoes and use my chop wizard to dice them. (I am not all that good with a knife, and this makes it go SO MUCH faster!) It is a bit noisy - it THUNKS as it cuts - so I sometimes take it in the laundry room to use while Goose is napping. I set up my ironing board at about pelvis high for the best leverage.
After dicing, I put the potatoes in a big pot with a couple of inches of water, cover it and bring it to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Most people cover the potatoes with water, and that's fine, but I tend to boil them over when I do that. This way, the potatoes kind of steam. Make sure you stir, though - they'll stick on the bottom.
After that, I pretty well follow the guidelines for the Pioneer Woman's twice baked potatoes. I use some butter, sour cream, buttermilk, cheese, and bacon bits. One time I stirred in a packet of ranch dressing mix and it was really, really good! So this time, I did a search for homemade ranch dressing, and my favorite one was this one from Recipe Source. I don't do exact measurements, and I don't put in the other stuff, just parsley flakes, dried onion, dill, onion and garlic powder, and instead of the onion and garlic salt, I up the powders and add some seasoned salt. I then stir and have my hubs give it a taste. Remember that you can't take spices out, so start out on the low side.
I then divide the potatoes out into freezer bags and mark them with the amount and what all I put in. Last year, half my potatoes had the yummy ranch and half did not, so sometimes I would thaw one bag of each and mix them together.
These freezer bags are especially handy for thawing since they are reasonably flat and not too thick. If I don't plan ahead well enough, I put them in hot water in the sink and it doesn't take too long for them to thaw. To cook, I like to put them in a casserole dish and bake them, especially if I'm baking the main dish and am already running the oven. I prefer to bake them uncovered so the top can get browned and kind of crusty. Yum!
I'll leave you with a picture of some of the big funky potatoes we managed to grow this year. They look like one big potato with several smaller potatoes attached. After I wash them, I cut off the small potato offshoots and slice them separately, then proceed as noted above.
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