Tuesday, September 6, 2011

One potato, two potato, three potato, four...

Bushels of potatoes. Mostly Kennebecs, some Yukon Golds and some Red Pontiacs. All neatly sorted and stacked in (thrifted) bread racks, ready for cool, dark and humid winter storage.
That just leaves the culls.  A few were culled because they were small.  Past experience says that if we store the smallest potatoes, there'll be nothing left when/if they sprout.  (Mid-winter we sort through the stored potatoes, breaking off any sprouts and removing rotten ones.  Helps keep them through till spring -- or till we eat them all, whichever comes first.)

This was a good year for potatoes so we have only a small dishpan of itty bitty potatoes to deal with.  Those won't last two weeks as I'll scrub a potful at a time, boil in their jackets and put them in the refrigerator for use in a baked dish like Doris' Golden Potatoes or make our favorite late morning breakfast -- home fries (cold boiled potatoes, sliced and fried) paired with garden tomatoes, cucumbers and onions in vinegar, plus farm fresh scrambled eggs with just-picked chives.  Yum!

The other culls are potatoes injured while digging or showing damage from wire worms or other pests.  A few more of those but still not a bad year. 

Some will be used over the next few weeks in the usual manner -- mashed, scalloped, roasted or perhaps as oven fries.  But today I'm filling the Excalibur with 10+ pounds of grated potatoes so we'll have dehydrated hash browns ready to prepare when needed.

Peeling, shredding and blanching that many potatoes is a tedious job but it's pouring rain outside and the heat from the stove burner and the dehydrator are welcome. DS's helping by running the Salad Shooter and even set up one of Susan Wise Bauer's Story of the World audiobooks for us to listen to as we work. Wish Alex Bellos' Here's Looking at Euclid was available as an audiobook, too, since we're using that as a math read-aloud this month but Jim Weiss' narration of Bauer's works are surprisingly soothing on this rainy day.

The difference between the white-fleshed Kennebec and Pontiac Red potatoes as compared to the buttery yellow Yukon Gold potatoes makes for some pretty hash browns when laid out on the dehydrator trays but once they're dried the difference will fade to almost nothing. When I'm ready to use, I'll pour boiling water over top, let them rehydrate for 20 minutes or so then prepare according to whatever recipe I'm following. If I'm following a recipe -- these are really good simply tossed on a hot greased griddle and quickly grilled. Maybe with a few onions added...

Doris' Golden Potatoes

2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, divided
2 cups sour cream (*see note)
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
6 large potatoes, cooked -- approx. 6 cups diced

Cut cooked potatoes into a medium dice.

Combine cheese and 1/4 cup butter in medium saucepan; stir over low heat until cheese is melted. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream, onion, salt and pepper. Add potatoes, mixing gently.

Pour into a greased 2-quart casserole; dot with remaining butter. Bake at 350°F. for 30 minutes.

I like to sub lightly drained kefir for the sour cream and when I'm short on cheddar, I use almost any hard cheese or blend of cheeses including Monterey jack, colby, or Swiss that's on hand.  And leftover ham, diced and tossed with potatoes, and toasted breadcrumbs sprinkled on top before baking make nice additions.

1 comment:

A Brush with Color said...

Wow! You really had a harvest, Carolyn! That's fabulous. I never met a potato I didn't fall in love with...