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Dehydrating Potatoes

Sometimes, you run across a deal that you just can't pass up:

Box of potatoes; dehydrated potatoes.
If potatoes go on sale, stock up and dehydrate them.

We were grocery shopping one Sunday, and needed to pick up potatoes, which are normally around $2.50 for a 10 pound bag...but then I spied this 25 pound box of potatoes for $2.99, reduced for quick sale.  I'm not sure why they needed to sell them quickly, but we snatched them up!

And then we had 25 pounds of potatoes.  That's a lot of taters.

So, we've made lots of Homemade Potato Chips, Pizza Twice Baked Potatoes, mashed potatoes, pan fried potatoes, baked potatoes...but we still have a lot left!

If you have so many potatoes that you don't know what to do with them, dehydrate them before they start growing eyes.  I dehydrated a lot of ours, making potato slices (for scalloped potatoes) and potato granules (for instant mashed potatoes).

Dehydrated Potato Slices

1.  Peel and rinse the potatoes.
  • The amount of potatoes you use will depend on how many trays you have for your dehydrator or how many cookie sheets can fit in your oven.  I found that my Nesco dehydrator could fit approximately one potato per tray.
2.  Thinly slice the potatoes.
  • Potatoes should be cut into 1/8" slices.  A mandolin or food processor makes this task much easier.
3.  Blanch the potato slices for 5 minutes.
  •  Bring a pot of plain water to a boil.  Place your potato slices in a blanching basket (if you don't have a basket, you'll have to just drop the slices into the pot and remove with a slotted spoon).  Drop the basket of slices into the boiling water.  Wait for the reboil, and then begin timing the five minutes.
Blanching potatotes for dehydrating.
Blanch potatoes before dehydrating.

4.  Place blanched potatoes in ice water.
  • Once the five minutes is up, remove the basket of slices and immediately drop them into a sink-full of ice water.  Allow the slices to completely cool.
5.  Remove slices and drain.
  • Place the slices in a colander and allow to drain.
6.  Dehydrate the potato slices.
  • Once the slices are mostly dry, arrange them on your dehydrator tray (or cookie sheet if using the oven).  Set your dehydrator for 130 degrees F and let it rip!  My potatoes were in the dehydrator overnight, and by morning, they were done.  The slices will be stiff and slightly translucent.

Potatoes ready to be dehydrated.
Blanched potatoes in the dehydrator.
  • If you are going to be using an oven, lightly grease cookie sheets, and arrange the slices onto the sheets.  Turn your oven to its lowest temperature, and place the cookie sheets inside.  Dehydration time will vary.  It is a wise idea to check the slices every half hour or so, and turn the slices several times during the drying time.  The slices are done when they are stiff and slightly translucent.
7.  Cool and store.
  • Allow the slices to cool, and store in an airtight container.  Jars work well for storage, but you can also use plastic containers or Ziploc bags.  Store the slices in a cool, dark place.

Dehydrated Potato Granules

1.  Peel and rinse the potatoes.
  • The amount of potatoes required will depend on how many trays you are going to be using.  If you are using a dehydrator, I found that about 4 potatoes per fruit leather tray worked well.  
2.  Quarter and boil the potatoes.
  • Cut each potato into 4 pieces and place the pieces in a pot.  Add water to just cover the potatoes, and bring to a boil.  Cover the pot, reduce heat to low, and allow the potatoes to simmer until tender--approximately 20 minutes.
3.  Drain potatoes.
  • Once the potatoes are tender, drain in a colander and allow them to dry somewhat.
4.  Mash the potatoes.
  • Return the potatoes to the pot, and mash them well.  Do not add anything to them--we are mashing only plain potatoes.  Mash the potatoes until they are smooth and lump-free.

Potatoes being mashed.
Mash cooked potatoes to make dehydrated potato granules.

5.  Dehydrate the potatoes.
  • If you are using a food dehydrator, spread the mashed potatoes in a fruit leather tray.  Dehydrate at 130 degrees F until dry (I did mine overnight, and they were done by morning).
  • If you are drying in an oven, lightly grease a jellyroll pan, and spread the mashed potatoes in the pan.  Be careful you don't layer it in too thickly, or it will take forever to dry out--try not to go thicker than 1/4".  Put your oven on its lowest temperature, and leave the potatoes to dehydrate until they are dry all the way through.  They are dehydrated when you can bend the potatoes and a piece snaps off. 

A thin layer of mashed potatoes spread in a dehydrator tray.
Spread the mashed potatoes in a thin layer.  Lightly grease the tray for easier removal.

6.  Grind the dried potatoes.
  • Remove the dried potatoes from the fruit leather tray or jellyroll pan and break the sheet of potatoes into chunks.  Place a few chunks at a time in your blender, and pulse, breaking up the chunks into small granules.  It is important that your potatoes are dried out all the way, because if they are not, they wont break apart like they should in the blender (and there is danger of spoilage during storage).
7.  Store the granules.
  • Once you have blended all your potato chunks into granules, you can store them.  Glass jars work well for this, but you can also use plastic containers or Ziploc bags.  Store the granules in a cool, dark place.
8.  To rehydrate the potatoes:
  •   For 4 Servings:

    Bring 1 cup water or milk (or a combination of the two), 1 tablespoon butter, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a boil. Add 1/2 cup potato granules, stir, cover, and remove from heat. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, or until the granules have softened. Whip the potatoes with a fork, whisk, or beaters, adding additional milk and butter if desired.

    For thicker potatoes, decrease liquids, for thinner, increase liquids.

    Of course, you can also just rehydrate the potatoes with boiling water and skip the salt, milk, and butter if you'd like them plain.

Dehydrated potatoes are great for camping and those who travel a lot.  They are also nice to have around as an "emergency" food, in the case of natural disaster or other emergency.  Dehydrated potatoes are also a handy "convenience" food to have around for when you need to throw together a quick, fuss-free dinner.

Keep an eye out for future posts including recipes to use your dehydrated potato stash:

Potato and Cheese Crusted Perch

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