Author Topic: Supermarket versus allotment potatoes for chipping - a problem with cooking  (Read 551 times)

George the Pigman

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I have an electric deep fat fryer and whenever I use my allotment potatoes to make chips they produce lovely light brown chips. However when I try to use potatoes from any supermarket I end up with very dark brown slightly bitter chips. Frying temperatures, timing and oil are identical. I have heard somewhere this is due to how they store them but it didn't happen until the last few years.
One thing I noticed in our big local supermarket was that recently they have stopped putting on the bags of potatoes whether they were suitable for chipping. They say they are OK for other uses (boiling, roasting, mashing etc) but suddenly chipping has disappeared fro the list (even for Maris Piper and King Edwards which are regarded as good chippers!)
Any else had this problem cooking them or seen this in the shops?

« Last Edit: November 28, 2018, 21:41:54 by George the Pigman »

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ACE

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I think there was something on the Food Factory programme on making crisps which went into getting the right colour, I thing it was down to sugars in different varieties of spuds. Might be worth seeing if you can see the programme on one of the catch up programmes or youtube. Back in time when they used to fry chips in lard a sprinkle of a little bit of sugar in the fryer used to give you lovely looking chips. That was done in a local chippy, I would not try it in the little kitchen fryer. We have an air fryer and it is good when you are on a diet as it makes insipid white chips which you would rather do without.

nodig

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I made lots of perfect crisps with my allotment potatoes (maris piper I think) but I recently tried shop bought potatoes and the crisps went dark and were rubbish.  I think it is down to water content, and dry potatoes (low water content) are best for crisps. The potato variety golden wonder is/was used to make Golden Wonder crisps because of their low water content.  Wet (high water content) potatoes are good in the microwave and probably the oven.

Redalder

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When I cook supermarket potatoes for chips, I first parboil the (chipped) potatoes in plain water until they are just able to be pierced with a pointy knife. Then I drain them in the basket and shake off the drops before frying (I still blanch and then hot fry) in the deep fat fryer. Seems to work most times and I get nice crispy chips with soft centres. Having said that, supermarket potatoes seem pretty poor quality this year.

ACE

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supermarket potatoes seem pretty poor quality this year.
  Considering the weather, I think most English spud crops suffered. We were warned, but like all the scare stories it was taken with a pinch of salt, which brings us nicely back to chips.

Obelixx

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I think it's weather related too.  We grew Charlottes this year and had to water regularly thru the drought.  We had good, healthy crops but only the small ones had the usual waxy texture of salad potatoes.  The medium and larger ones were all floury.

We have yet to harvest the Bintjes which we grew for baking and mashing as we've been waiting for rain to a) fatten them up and b) make the ground soft enough to dig them out.

Don't do deep fried chips.  Can't stand the smell of the fryer.   Prefer roasted - chunked with slivers of garlic, rosemary and a tbs of olive oil.   Yum!

Obxx - Vendée France

Tee Gee

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Quote
Considering the weather, I think most English spud crops suffered

Agreed! Usually my potatoes last me to around March /April  but not this season. I am down to around 6-7 lbs at the moment so if this is projected across the country then I see there being a shortage on the cards for early 2019.

I had similar numbers of potatoes to previous years but the size was very poor. In fact in some cases the potatoes I harvested were smaller than the seed potatoes I planted.

I am not usually a harbinger of such doom & gloom but this is what I think.

Anyone else having similar thoughts?




Obelixx

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I think onion prices will soar too as there's been such a poor commercial crop across Europe this year, not just in the UK.

Have never grown enough spuds to store them and the few Charlottes we haven't yet eaten have all been kept cool and dark but have still sprouted.   Hoping that leaving the Bintjes in the ground will be a good storage technique as we are unlikely to be frozen or flooded.
Obxx - Vendée France

George the Pigman

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The problem with dark chips and supermarket spuds has been happening for the last two years. The fact that, like you, I had a measly potato crop has forced me to buy supermarket spuds far earlier than I ever would (last years crop lasted until Easter). This reminded me of the problem so I thought I would do a post about it to see if there was a reason/solution.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2018, 18:03:16 by George the Pigman »

cambourne7

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Might be storage of the supermarket spuds?

ancellsfarmer

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GEORGE wrote"
One thing I noticed in our big local supermarket was that recently they have stopped putting on the bags of potatoes whether they were suitable for chipping. They say they are OK for other uses (boiling, roasting, mashing etc) but suddenly chipping has disappeared fro the list (even for Maris Piper and King Edwards which are regarded as good chippers!)"
It may be that the 'food police' are prevailing regarding fried(akaJUNK) food, or that the supermarket make far more out of their frozen chips! You decide.
Freelance cultivator qualified within the University of Life.

small

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I don't think it accounts for the chipping problem, but I've noticed that supermarket spuds go green within a few days however dark I keep them. I assume it's because they are washed and exposed, and once the greening process starts then it just carries on. I usually have enough left over pentland javelins to last into about february, this year they were rubbish, small and sparse. I've kept just a few so I can say I'm eating my own spuds on Christmas Day - and they haven't gone green just kept in a paper bag!

George the Pigman

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Well after some extensive Googling I think I have found the source of the problem.
Have a look at this professional article from the US site Potato Grower.
http://www.potatogrower.com/2009/09/sugar-high
It looks like storage of most varieties at too low a temperature (about +4c) leads to high levels of reducing sugars that react with amino acids in the potato and give the dark brown colour. The incentive for the potato wholesalers and supermarkets is the lower the temperature they store them the longer they last which means less spoilage.
Why this has only started happening over the last few years I don't know - perhaps supermarkets have reduced the temperature they store them at to increase profits. That would explain why they no longer say they are suitable for chipping.
That also explains why the good old allotment potatoes that I store in my garage at about 15C never darken on frying  over several months storage.
I wonder what the chip shops use as a source of spuds? Clearly they must be aware of the problem and get them from suppliers that store them at a higher temperature for that purpose.
There is more about it here from a UK site. Apparently for chipping spuds need to be stored at 10C!
https://potatoes.ahdb.org.uk/sites/default/files/publication_upload/Breeding%20for%20storage%20-%20Finlay%20Dale.pdf
Well you live and learn!
Has anyone found a supermarket potato that doesn't go dark brown on deep frying. We get ours mainly from Sainsburys and M&S
« Last Edit: December 01, 2018, 21:24:29 by George the Pigman »

pumpkinlover

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Thank you for the information in the thread it has been very interesting to read.



Obelixx

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It's a win some, lose some then isn't it.   I have the last of my Charlottes stored in a dark place at about 10C and they've all sprouted.
Obxx - Vendée France

Tee Gee

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On reading all these comments I am in many ways glad I have retired from the allotment, I don't think I could cope at my age learning or should that be unlearning all the things I have picked up over the years!....and this is only potatoes!

What else is all this unseasonable weather going to affect? e.g My Flowering cherry is in flower should I use this instead of Holly to decorate the house this Christmas? :drunken_smilie:

ACE

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You know that feeling you get when you dive your hand into the potato sack and your fingers squelch through a rotten one. Then the smell hits you. I was trying to trace an unpleasant odour, found it in a bag of supermarket spuds we got for roasting as mine are too small. Only purchased them 5 days ago, four starting to rot, one completely gone and the rest not really fit for pig food. Buy them loose if you have to buy them, or re-bag in the shop.

galina

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My Flowering cherry is in flower should I use this instead of Holly to decorate the house this Christmas? :drunken_smilie:

Why not actually?   :sunny:

Vinlander

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I made lots of perfect crisps with my allotment potatoes (maris piper I think) but I recently tried shop bought potatoes and the crisps went dark and were rubbish.  I think it is down to water content, and dry potatoes (low water content) are best for crisps. The potato variety golden wonder is/was used to make Golden Wonder crisps because of their low water content.  Wet (high water content) potatoes are good in the microwave and probably the oven.

If I make crisps then it's only worth making beetroot ones - after all potato crisps are almost as cheap as chips* - or rather the extra work justifies the relatively small premium. (* ie. not actually cheap - the retail sector in this country is out of control).

Why are beetroot ones so much more expensive? Raw beets aren't much more expensive than potatoes, and certainly no more difficult to cut - are the b******s tripling their profits by charging us for the extra flavour (that they got nearly free)? We need to know.

Meanwhile DIY is the obvious route.

Cheers.

PS. I forgot to plant beetroot this year so I don't know if it was a bad year for them. The only root veg I succeeded with was celeriac - mainly because it was the only one I knew needed water - the other roots got nothing.

Are celeriac crisps any good?

With a microholding you always get too much or bugger-all. (I'm fed up calling it an allotment garden - it just encourages the tidy-police).

The simple/complex split is more & more important: Simple fertilisers Poor, complex ones Good. Simple (old) poisons predictable, others (new) the opposite.

Obelixx

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Don't buy, make or eat crisps so can't say but I wouldn't waste celeriac on them anyway.  It's lovely as a soup, a purée, chunked and baked or roasted with butter or olive oil, sliced thnly and baked in milk and cream like a gratin dauphinois.  Loads of recipes here - https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/search/recipes?query=celeriac
Obxx - Vendée France

 

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