Take the 2-minute tour ×
Seasoned Advice is a question and answer site for professional and amateur chefs. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I've mostly seen people peel a potato after it has been boiled and then cutting it to pieces if required. Given it's muddy exterior, I find it cleaner (and probably takes less heat) to remove the skin with a peeler before boiling. Am I losing anything when I use my method? What do you suggest?

share|improve this question
3  
Muddy? You should at least wash it first... –  Ray May 13 '11 at 17:16
    
Even then, I'm sure there will be some residue left. Mud is not all that easily soluble in water. –  Vulcan Eager May 13 '11 at 18:15
4  
You don't just rinse it, you rub it, or maybe use a brush if it's really dirty or has crevasses. –  Jefromi May 13 '11 at 18:17

8 Answers 8

up vote 6 down vote accepted

A lot of us just eat the peel, but assuming you don't want to...

Certainly it's going to be a lot faster to boil a potato that's already been cut up than to boil a whole one, so between boiling whole and peeling, dicing, then boiling, I'd certainly pick the latter. It doesn't really have much to do with cleanliness, though; a good washing leaves the peel plenty clean and safe (and like I said, I eat it). You're not losing anything with your method, besides the nutritional value of the peel.

I imagine the reason a lot of people boil their potatoes whole is to be able to peel them without a peeler. You could sort of have it both ways. If you partially cut the potato (thick slices, probably), you could boil them in not much longer than it'd take to boil small cubes, then peel the slices by hand, and cut further if necessary. Not sure it'd really save you a ton of time, but if your peeler is dull/broken/missing/stolen, it'd be a decent fallback. (You could probably also partially boil them whole, peel, chop, then finish cooking, but that's starting to sound like it just makes more work.)

share|improve this answer
    
What type of potato do you normally use? I don't mind the skin from a Yukon Gold potato but normally remove the skin of your plain old Idaho potato due to looks and taste. –  duchessofstokesay May 13 '11 at 16:15
2  
@duchess: Depends what's on sale, or what I'm trying to make (baking vs boiling, starchy vs waxy). But I'll happily eat the skin on any potato. –  Jefromi May 13 '11 at 18:16
1  
For mashed potatoes try baking them instead of boiling and using a spoon to scrape out the flesh. Also, make sure they are still warm before being mashed -- keeps them from turning to glue. –  Adam S May 14 '11 at 4:38

Where I live (my household, the households of my family & the households of my friends), people always peel potatoes before boiling them. Most don't use a peeler, but a kind of paring knife (for more information, but not in English: link).

I think this is the case because a lot of people still buy potatoes from farmers, so the potatoes are really really dirty. Washing them could be too much work. Even when the potatoes are store bought, people peel them before boiling. I think it's just a habit.

The only thing I've heard is that it's better to not cut the potato in pieces before boiling, because you lose nutrition. I have no idea whether this is true.

Once in a while, people here do boil potatoes with the skin on, but only if these are 'new potatoes' (the first potatoes of the new season).

share|improve this answer
1  
Same here, in Poland, where boiled potatoes are the staple food. Sometimes potatoes are boiled with skin, though. E.g. when used for a salad. –  Jacek Konieczny Mar 23 '12 at 22:14

Its much better to peel it before boiling............

share|improve this answer
5  
Why do you think so? –  Mien Mar 23 '12 at 15:06

It depends on the result you're after. If you are going to eat it boiled or steamed, just go ahead as you already do.

However, if you want to make mashed potatoes, then it's recommendable to leave the peal on. That way, the potato takes less water and absorbs the milk, butter, nutmeg, or whatever...

share|improve this answer

If I HAVE to boil potatoes, I prefer boiling them whole, with the skin on. This keeps them from getting too water logged and "soggy". This may also help with your "Muddy water" problem, since the inside of the potato is protected by the skin. Give them a good scrub with an old tooth brush, under running water.

If you're making a small quantity, microwaving potatoes works really well.

share|improve this answer
2  
Please don't use your old toothbrush when you're making potatoes for guests. Nass-ty. –  Aaronut May 13 '11 at 19:59
    
Yeah that is unbelievably gross. -1 –  daniel May 13 '11 at 21:51
    
@Aaronut, @daniel what's gross about it, they said old tooth bush, not current one? –  TFD May 14 '11 at 1:04
    
This is exactly why you should boil potatoes whole -- they get to much water in them when peeled and cut first. Keeping the skin on also prevents flavor from seeping out while cooking. Do an A/B test and you will see what I mean. –  Adam S May 14 '11 at 4:36
2  
@daniel You'd eat in very few restaurants if they advertise their cleaning practices at all –  belisarius May 15 '11 at 17:38

Boiling potatoes with the skin on leads to much less absorbtion of water. This is particularly desirable when making mash.

And I'm not sure who upthread said mud isn't water-soluble or why. Do you know what mud is made of? Dirt and water. In what universe would that not be water-soluble?

Scrub your taters, toss 'em in cold water, bring to boil. Peel if needed (personally I love leaving the peel in mash I make at home, nice texture).

share|improve this answer
    
I said that mud isn't "all that easily soluble". I meant that a simple rub-and-rinse is not always enough to get the thing mud free. –  Vulcan Eager May 14 '11 at 5:11
    
@Vulcan: But if you wash them properly, you'll get essentially all of the dirt off. Residue? Perhaps, but they won't be any dirtier than plenty of other plants you eat. –  Jefromi May 14 '11 at 6:24
    
Most other plant parts I eat were grown above the ground. –  Vulcan Eager May 14 '11 at 6:32

I would suggest washing your potatoes. This link has a fine step-by-step. I typically use a brush with a medium-hard bristle, meant for scrubbing vegetables.

share|improve this answer

It's very easy to peel a boiled potato. You just rub it a bit and the skin falls off. I've seen this recommended in recipes for potato salad that use red potatoes. Since the red potatoes are smaller, they are more of a pain to peel, but they do cook relatively fast, so it end ups being easier to boil, peel, cut instead of peel, cut, boil.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.