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Making potato latkes -- how do YOU remove the excess liquid?

I spent a few minutes reading through past posts on this subject and haven't found quite what I'm looking for. I'd like to know the easiest, least messy way to remove that excess liquid from the potato/onion mixture. In the past I've wrapped the mixture in a dish towel and squeezed it out, but that leaves me with an onion-scented dish towel that I really don't want to put into my washer. I've seen a suggestion for using a salad spinner. Has anyone used this method? Does it really work? I also saw a suggestion for squeezing the mixture through cheesecloth, and that sounds good, but I'm wondering if cheesecloth would really hold up, or if it'd burst open, leaving me with a potato/onion mess to clean up.

So... how do you do it? With all the kitchen gadgetry out there, has anyone yet invented a Latke De-liquifier? Thanks!

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  1. There is a latke masterclass over on Serious Eats - might be worth a look.

    1 Reply
    1. re: alexjames

      I can't thank you enough! I never even knew about Serious Eats until I saw your post. I'm not sure I found the "master class," but I did find "The Complete, No-Nonsense, Slightly Neurotic Guide to Making Great Latkes" and the cheesecloth bundle method shown is positively brilliant!

    2. I read (somewhere) that you can put your raw grated potato into a potato ricer and squeeze out excess water. >Dont squeeze so hard that you force potato through the holes....only enough pressure to drain off excess liquid !< Haven't tried it myself, as yet....but it makes good sense to me. Also, I use dry granulated onion powder for flavor (in addition to pepper and salt).

      4 Replies
      1. re: Lisbet

        This is what I do and it works very well. Don't worry about squeezing too hard -- it's almost impossible to force raw potato through the holes unless you are Chuck Norris.

        1. re: acgold7

          Chuck Norris doesn't squeeze grated potatoes. He just stares at them and they wet themselves.

          1. re: Lisbet

            I love this method and also use a potato ricer for recipes I have that call for thawed, drained frozen spinach. Works like a charm!

          2. I use a large strainer and pour potato mixture into it and press several times with back of spoon over a bowl .

            Let liquid sit in bowl for 20+minutes
            pour off liquid and white potato starch settles on bottom of bowl

            3 Replies
            1. re: jpr54_1

              This is what I do, too. I use a strainer with a wide, flat bottom that hooks onto a bowl. The large surface area speeds up the draining of the starch. This method works especially well when the potatoes are grated. If they are shredded (for example, using the shredding disk of a food processor), wringing in cheesecloth may be more efficient. I mince my onion separately (I prefer it finely minced, rather than grated) and add it to the batter after the potato starch liquid has been drained.

              1. re: jpr54_1

                the strainer/colander sounds like a good idea ..... if you have a bowl that just fits inside of the strainer/colander - you can press down on the potato mixture easily.

                1. re: gordon wing

                  That's the method I use. I put a bowl under the colander to catch the starch (which stays in the bowl when you drain off the water) and then put a bowl on top and weight it down and let it sit for a while.

              2. cheese cloth: squeeze well, let rest two minutes , squeeze again. Make sure to mix the starch back in . never fails and the potatoes do not discolor.
                Also, I like to put potatoes the long way in the FP tube for longer strands.

                1. I put the raw shredded potatoes in a fine white dough cloth (a regular dish towel would do) and wring it over the sink. Done.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: paprikas

                    Exactly. The key is to wring out just the potatoes, BEFORE you mix them with onion or anything else. Then the cloth is perfectly washable (though it will stain brown - which is why I have a dedicated latke towel that I bring out every year for this purpose.)

                    1. re: BobB

                      But the onion gives off a lot of liquid, too, especially after you've added salt to the mixture.

                      1. re: CindyJ

                        I wring the onions too if I grate them. If I mince them I add them after wringing. With onions included potatoes don't discolor themselves or the towel, though I use cheesecloth and discard.