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Are potatoes cleaner these days?

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This may seem like a random question, but are potatoes cleaner than they were, say 20-30 years ago? I seem to remember when I was a little kid, potatoes were really dirty, taking a fair amount of scrubbing for my mom to get rid of the soil. But now they seem like they're clean after a little rinse and a rub. (I usually get fingerlings, yukon gold, and russets) Is it just me? I know this is a weird question, but I'm very curious!

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  1. TOTALLY!
    How funny, even in 1990 when I got my first apartment, I was still scrubbing the heck outta my potatoes...just recently, I began to realize that I don't even bother scrubbing, when washing them, if I bake em. If I get a bag from TJ's they are spotless...hmmm?

    1. You might be right about the commercial potatoes--they probably go through some sort of wash. But I just bought organic Yukon Golds from our farmers market and they are really dirty!

      Incidentally, on the topic of potatoes, there is a chapter in "The Botany of Desire" by Michael Pollan about the pervasiveness of GMO potatoes. I just finished reading it, which is what motivated me to start buying organic potatoes!

      2 Replies
      1. re: coney with everything

        Isn't that book wonderfully eye-opening? The chapter on potatoes was definitely frightening to read, especially the part where MP talks about the mega farmer having his own little plot of organic potatoes by his back door.... he wouldn't eat the ones he grew for the market. Horrors!

        1. re: coney with everything

          I was going to say the same thing. I've been buying potatoes from the greenmarket this year (trying to get as much there as possible) and they *really* need a good scrub before cooking. I was a little surprised too since I had been used to regular commercial potatoes which had hardly any dirt. But I like the dirt -- it reminds me of where they come from and potatoes are supposed to smell like the earth.

        2. I think commercial potatoes are power-washed these days.