How to Keep Potatoes from Sticking
In this brief article, we will discuss how to keep potatoes from sticking. If you’ve ever roasted vegetables, especially potatoes, you’ll know that they often stick to the surface of the pan. And when you pry them off, they lose their crispy outer skins.
How to Keep Potatoes from Sticking?
To keep potatoes from sticking, it is necessary to reduce the sugars on the surface of the potatoes, by rinsing or blanching the potatoes, followed by drying them.
A simple method to avoid sticking is rinsing potato slices or sticks with water or blanching them in 5 L of hot water at 85° C for 3.5 min. Then, wipe with a paper towel to eliminate excess water and loose material adhering to the surface prior to frying (1).
How to blanch Potatoes?
To blanch potatoes, use water blanching or steam blanching and follow the instructions (4):
- Use one gallon of water for each pound of cut potatoes in a large cooking pot
- Place the potato slices in a blanching basket or wire basket which can fit in the cooking pot
- Cook water to the boiling point, introduce the basket containing the potato slices in the water and cover the pot. The water should return to boiling within 1 minute
- Boil for 3 minutes, remove the basket from the pot and cool
- Dry the cut blanched potatoes on a paper sheet
- Use a pot with a tight lid and a basket that holds the food at least three inches above the bottom of the pot
- Put an inch or two of water in the pot and bring the water to a boil
- Put the cut potatoes in the basket in a single layer so that steam reaches the entire content of the basket
- Cover the pot and steam for 5 minutes. Steam blanching takes about 1½ times longer than water blanching
- Remove the basket from the pot and cool
- Dry the cut blanched potatoes on a paper sheet
What are the benefits of blanching Potatoes?
The benefits of blanching potatoes prior to frying are related to the removal of the sugars and proteins on the surface of the potatoes, thus reducing the browning of the fried potatoes. The effects of blanching potatoes are (5,6):
- Blanching inactivates enzymes responsible for enzymatic browning, peroxidase and polyphenol oxidase
- Blanching gelatinize the starch on the surface of the potatoes, reducing the oil absorption during deep-frying
- The lower oil absorption of fried potatoes improve the texture, making the fried potatoes crispier
- Blanching reduces the amount of sugar and amino acids on the surface of the potato slices, reducing the browning through Maillard reaction
- By reducing the Maillard reaction, blanching reduces the formation of acrylamide during frying. Acrylamide is considered as a neurotoxic compound and is classified as a probable human carcinogen
- A lower oil uptake during frying added to a lower formation of acrylamide result in a healthier option of fried potatoes
Why do Potatoes stick to each other?
Potatoes stick to each other because of the starch, which has a great affinity to water, absorbs water molecules and increases in moisture, leading to agglomeration (2).
According to studies, a higher moisture content in starch products causes a greater tendency to stick during baking (2).
In addition, the Maillard reaction, occurring between sugars and amino acids on the surface of the potatoes, generates compounds which have a sticking characteristic.
Potatoes, like other food containing carbohydrates and proteins, are susceptible to Maillard reaction, or nonenzymatic browning that occurs in foods during heating. The Maillard reaction products can be sticky and increase stickiness of the food being prepared.
How can you reduce the sticking of Potatoes?
To reduce the sticking of potatoes in addition to blanching and drying the potatoes prior to baking or frying them, it is helpful to choose the right variety. As mentioned earlier in this article, the starch amount released on the surface of the potatoes is one of the main factors leading to their adhering to each other (2)
Buy waxy, low-starch potatoes; starchy varieties are more prone to sticking. Fingerlings, red, and new potatoes are perfect for roasting. The carbohydrate (starch and sugar) composition of potatoes plays an important role in determining variety usage.
Starch content is directly related to specific gravity or dry matter in tubers. Typically, 60-80% of the dry matter is present as starch. Therefore, high-gravity or high-solids tubers contain high levels of starch (3).
In this brief article, we discussed how to keep potatoes from sticking. With just a few modifications to your current method, you can easily roast or fry potatoes without them sticking to the surface.
If you have any more questions or comments please let us know.
- Pedreschi, Franco, and Pedro Moyano. Oil uptake and texture development in fried potato slices. J Food Eng, 2005, 70, 557-563.
- Huber, Regina, and Regine Schoenlechner. Waffle production: influence of batter ingredients on sticking of fresh egg waffles at baking plates—Part I: effect of starch and sugar components. Food Sci Nutr, 2017, 5, 504-512.
- Potato Variety Selection. Oregon State University.
- Andress, E.L. and Harrison, J. A. Blanching. National Center for Home Food Preservation.
- Mestdagh, Frédéric, et al. Optimization of the blanching process to reduce acrylamide in fried potatoes. LWT-Food Sci Technol, 2008, 41, 1648-1654.
- Zhang, Yachuan, et al. Effects of blanching treatments on acrylamide, asparagine, reducing sugars and colour in potato chips. J food sci technol, 2018, 55, 4028-4041.