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Prepping Mashed Potatoes

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HunterJay Nov 7, 2007 09:44 AM

Is there any harm in peeling and cutting up Potatoes hours or even a day before I boil them? I usually do it a few hours before hand and soak them in water (more for to have a place to put them than for any other reason) but I'm having a bigger than usual T-day this year and would like to prep them earlier, if there will be no compromise in quality.

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  1. danhole Nov 7, 2007 09:55 AM

    I think that would be fine as long as they are totally submerged in water. I actually make my mashed potatoes the day before, and on Thanksgiving, I pop them in the microwave with a bit of butter. They come out nice and fluffy, and taste even better than if I did it on that day.

    3 Replies
    1. re: danhole
      v
      valerie Nov 7, 2007 10:05 AM

      Although not for Thanksgiving, I have made Barefoot Contessa's Parmesan Smashed Potatoes many times and I, too, often make them the day before, put in a casserole dish, and reheat in the oven for dinner. I would have never done this, but Ina has a blurb in the cookbook about doing it, so I tried it with great success. I have no idea if it matters, but these mashed potatoes are very creamy, which I like.

      I'm making more traditional mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving, and I was actually contemplating doing it the same way -- making Wednesday, reheating Thursday.

      1. re: valerie
        danhole Nov 7, 2007 10:43 AM

        My oven is usually too full to put the mashed potatoes in there, but the microwave is empty! If your potatoes go in creamy they will come out creamy.

        1. re: danhole
          v
          valerie Nov 7, 2007 11:08 AM

          They have butter, half & half, sour cream and parmesan cheese. So good. Making a similar version, but with roasted garlic rather than parmesan cheese. Not really sure why, but don't really think that cheese belongs on the Thanksgiving table.

          Oh, and we moved into a house (from an apt) this summer and this is my first time entertaining with a double wall oven!

    2. Megiac Nov 7, 2007 09:57 AM

      I think it would probably be fine if in water, but if I were you I'd do a test run this week with one or two potatoes just to make sure that is the case.

      1. d
        Diane in Bexley Nov 7, 2007 12:17 PM

        I have let potatoes sit peeled, covered in plenty of cold water for as much as 8 hours and no problem. I do advise that if you are stretched for time, make your mashed potatoes in advance, using 6 oz. or so of cream cheese to 5 lb. potatoes, adding usual butter & milk. This seems to be my trick for successfully re-heating the potatoes in the MW or oven. If you put in some parsley or roasted shallots & garlic, that will override any "re-heated" taste as well.

        1. Will Owen Nov 7, 2007 12:25 PM

          I've kept peeled potatoes sealed in water-filled zip-locks for days - I think a week might be pushing it, but anything less than that is fine. The only thing you must NOT do is boil them and try to keep them! I was mashing potatoes one night, and just as they finished boiling I discovered the milk had gone bad, so I drained them and ran down the street to the store. It wasn't more than twenty minutes, but they came out dreadful and gluey.

          I have done my mashed potatoes either the previous day or earlier on the same day, and with sufficient butterfat in the mix they reheat very nicely in the oven - half an hour at 250º, starting from room temperature. I have not had similar luck with the microwave oven, but then mine has never been a particularly good one.

          1. h
            HungryLetsEat Nov 7, 2007 12:26 PM

            Kind of a tangent to the original post, but could I make my mashed potatoes early in the AM and keep them warm in a crockpot until dinner time? (We usually eat around 1PM) Or would it be better to make, allow to cool and then reheat?

            2 Replies
            1. re: HungryLetsEat
              Will Owen Nov 7, 2007 12:30 PM

              Cool and reheat. Holding potatoes gets them tasting stale. If it's only going to be four or five hours, I would not even refrigerate them. Put them into an ovenproof server, Corningware or similar, and cover and set in a cool place, then reheat in a 250º oven as suggested above.

              1. re: HungryLetsEat
                King of Northern Blvd Nov 7, 2007 04:12 PM

                I tried to hold mashed potatoes in a crock pot once as an experiment and I ended up making glue. It was gross. I will add though that they were red potatoes and not russets which I usually use.

              2. Karl S Nov 7, 2007 12:40 PM

                A better way: don't chop, don't peel. Steam them hole. Pop them into a potato ricer with the peel, and the peel stays in the hopper.

                This way you get way less moisture in the potato, and that makes for better mashed potatoes. Mix with butter before adding the milk or other liquid.

                1. s
                  smartie Nov 7, 2007 12:40 PM

                  no problem peeling and cutting potatoes the day before, cover in water, cover the bowl and put in the fridge. Always done it when hosting a big dinner. All restaurants do it too.

                  1. l
                    lhb78 Nov 7, 2007 01:06 PM

                    Whatever you do to save time... don't do what my husband's family does! They make the potatoes in advance, keep them on the back burner, and (the worst part) continually whip them over the course of several hours until dinner is served. This produces a product with the consistency of paste. Oh, and they hardly use any butter or cream...

                    1. chef chicklet Nov 7, 2007 04:29 PM

                      I have peeled and placed cut up and whole potatoes in cold water, and lemon juice. I would take the juice of a half lemon for about 6 large russets. The same is done for fries.
                      They come out no different at all.
                      I've not let them sit in water overnight, but at I know that they have for about 4-5 hours at Thanksgiving, because that's how I get myself prepared. I also write a time table down, cross it off as the jobs completed,
                      I'm rather fussy about my mashed potatoes, so just for my own peace of mind, I don't do them in advance. Sounds like others say it's okay to do though//

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