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Subject: Dirty potatoes
Newsgroups: rec.food.cooking

============================

From: Julie Bove 
Date: Tue, 28 Aug 2007 00:50:42 GMT
--------
When I was a kid, 40some years ago, I remember that the potatoes we bought 
were pretty dirty.  Always had to scrub them with a brush before fixing them 
to eat.  But in more recently years, I've noticed that most all of the 
potatoes I've gotten have been so clean that they only seem to need a quick 
rinse in the sink.  Only have to pull out the brush every once in a while. 
Until tonight.

I get a box of organic produce weekly from a local farm.  Most of the time 
even their potatoes are pretty clean.  But the paper bag of baby reds I put 
in tonight's soup were so dirty I had a hard time getting them clean.  They 
were just encased in thick dirt that turned to mud and splattered my shirt 
as I tried to clean them.  And I scrubbed them so much to get the mud off 
that most of the peel came along with it.

Now I realize the growers or vendors or someone along the food chain is 
probably using some method of cleaning that I'd most likely not want to know 
the particulars of.  Or maybe I would...  But my question is:  When was the 
last time you got some really dirty potatoes?  Unless of course you grow 
them yourself! 

============================

From: Bobo Bonobo® 
Date: Mon, 27 Aug 2007 18:09:19 -0700
--------
You're complaining a bit, but wasn't it worth it?  I've never bought
potatoes that were that dirty, but I've dug them in my garden and had
to wash them.  After your hard work, were you pleased with the taste?

--Bryan

============================

From: Julie Bove 
Date: Tue, 28 Aug 2007 01:50:20 GMT
--------
Bobo Bonobo® wrote:
> You're complaining a bit, but wasn't it worth it?  I've never bought
> potatoes that were that dirty, but I've dug them in my garden and had
> to wash them.  After your hard work, were you pleased with the taste?

The soup is very good.  I do grow some of my own veggies, but potatoes 
aren't one of them.  I grow in containers.  I just found it odd that these 
potatoes were so very caked in dirt when I've been getting really clean ones 
for years. 

============================

From: Dee Dee 
Date: Mon, 27 Aug 2007 21:34:11 -0400
--------
Julie Bove wrote:
>  But my question is:  When was the
> last time you got some really dirty potatoes?  Unless of course you grow 
> them yourself!

Julie, I just posted 3 pictures of the produce at our farmer's market.  One 
I did not post was one of potatoes, which I had bought previously.  When I 
asked her if she ever washed the potatoes, I could tell by her reaction that 
she thought I had wished she had washed them;  she replied that it was 
better not to wash them.

I hope I explained to her that I was thankful that she had not washed them. 
I  bought them the previous time to last Saturday.  They were delicious.
I'll miss the produce this winter, I'm going to have to ask them how long 
they'll be there.  But there are orchards -- of course with limited foods.

============================

From: Julie Bove 
Date: Tue, 28 Aug 2007 01:52:09 GMT
--------
Dee Dee wrote:
> I hope I explained to her that I was thankful that she had not washed 
> them. I  bought them the previous time to last Saturday.  They were delicious.
> I'll miss the produce this winter, I'm going to have to ask them how long 
> they'll be there.  But there are orchards -- of course with limited foods.

Yes, I realize it is best not to wash them.  However I think most growers 
make some attempt to remove at least some of the dirt before selling.  These 
could have been brushed off by hand or something.  I was paying by the pound 
so I was paying for that dirt along with the potatoes. 

============================

From: Sheldon 
Date: Mon, 27 Aug 2007 19:30:25 -0700
--------
Julie Bove wrote:
> Yes, I realize it is best not to wash them.

That's nonsense.  The farmer's market seller either lied or is
ignorant.  Potatoes grow underground, they're wet all the time.  All
the big potato growers wash their potatoes right in the field as soon
as they're dug, they need to be clean to receive a USDA grade.
Whoever was selling dirt encrusted potatoes was either too lazy to
clean the spuds when harvested or enjoyed a bigger profit selling
dirt.

============================

From: Julie Bove 
Date: Tue, 28 Aug 2007 03:11:59 GMT
--------
Sheldon wrote:
> That's nonsense.  The farmer's market seller either lied or is
> ignorant.  Potatoes grow underground, they're wet all the time.  All
> the big potato growers wash their potatoes right in the field as soon
> as they're dug, they need to be clean to receive a USDA grade.
> Whoever was selling dirt encrusted potatoes was either too lazy to
> clean the spuds when harvested or enjoyed a bigger profit selling
> dirt.

Interesting.  I didn't know that they were supposed to be cleaned to get the 
USDA grade. 

============================

From: Sheldon 
Date: Tue, 28 Aug 2007 13:42:49 -0700
--------
Julie Bove wrote:
> Interesting.  I didn't know that they were supposed to be cleaned to get the
> USDA grade.

You really don't need to have much IQ to realize that it's not
possible to grade a potato you can't see.  Visual inspection is
actually more important than you may realize... not to mention how can
one accurately weigh potatoes (yes, weighing is part of grading) that
have probably 15pct of their weight in dirt... just as a customer you
definitely got ripped off at the scale.

http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/getfile?dDocName=STELPRDC5068888

============================

From: Steve Wertz 
Date: Mon, 27 Aug 2007 20:50:35 -0500
--------
Julie Bove wrote:
> Now I realize the growers or vendors or someone along the food chain is 
> probably using some method of cleaning that I'd most likely not want to know 
> the particulars of.  Or maybe I would...  

The dirt they grow in has been treated with Teflon.

============================

From: Julie Bove 
Date: Tue, 28 Aug 2007 03:10:20 GMT
--------
Steve Wertz wrote:
> The dirt they grow in has been treated with Teflon.

Eeeeeeeew.  But hey, there's a thought! 

============================

From: Sheldon 
Date: Mon, 27 Aug 2007 19:02:41 -0700
--------
Julie Bove wrote:
> When I was a kid, 40some years ago, I remember that the potatoes we bought
> were pretty dirty.  Always had to scrub them with a brush before fixing them
> to eat.  But in more recently years, I've noticed that most all of the
> potatoes I've gotten have been so clean that they only seem to need a quick
> rinse in the sink.  Only have to pull out the brush every once in a while.
> Until tonight.
>
> I get a box of organic produce weekly from a local farm.  Most of the time
> even their potatoes are pretty clean.  But the paper bag of baby reds I put
> in tonight's soup were so dirty I had a hard time getting them clean.  They
> were just encased in thick dirt that turned to mud and splattered my shirt
> as I tried to clean them.  And I scrubbed them so much to get the mud off
> that most of the peel came along with it.
>
> Now I realize the growers or vendors or someone along the food chain is
> probably using some method of cleaning that I'd most likely not want to know
> the particulars of.  Or maybe I would...  But my question is:  When was the
> last time you got some really dirty potatoes?  Unless of course you grow
> them yourself!

With modern harvesting methods potatoes are washed clean right out of
the ground, before the dirt can dry and harden.  Your dirt encrusted
organic spuds were very likely grown on a small family farm that can't
afford the very expensive modern harvesting equipment.  Bet you didn't
know that a giant tractor can cost a million dollars and more.  Had
you soaked those dirty potatoes in a bucket of water for an hour the
dirt would soften, loosen, and most settle to the bottom so you
wouldn't need to scrub hardly at all.

http://www.dole5aday.com/ReferenceCenter/Encyclopedia/Potatoes/potato_grown.jsp

With the large farming co-ops the harvesters are private enterprises
that are contracted to go farm to farm... working that equipment
constantly is the only way it becomes affordable... fitted with
special lighting bars they actually work all through the night.
Nowadays the large tractors are operated with fancy schmancy GPS
systems, there is no overlap, no wasted space on each run... those
behemoth tractors make five mile passes not wavering a tenth of an
inch... they don't really need a driver, often there is none,
everything fully on cruise control.  My tractor has cruise control but
not GPS... when the grass is tall I set it to creep speed and just
steer through each long pass by lining up to a tree on the horizon,
pretty mindless.  If I move too fast the mower doesn't have enough
time to mulch and makes clumps so creep speed is nice, but without the
cruise control it's difficult to make straight passes at 1 mph, can't
hold my foot on the throttle steadly so long either.  I never use the
cruise control on my car but I like it on my tractor, I can make some
pretty straight rows.

Just last week, heading out to mow my back field:

http://i9.tinypic.com/4ul2arm.jpg

http://i10.tinypic.com/4lg4mzs.jpg

http://i16.tinypic.com/67s6quf.jpg

http://i19.tinypic.com/6g3qlvr.jpg

http://i12.tinypic.com/66xodud.jpg

http://i12.tinypic.com/4mal0mv.jpg

Was hot as hell that day, but AC makes it lovely.

============================

From: Steve Wertz 
Date: Tue, 28 Aug 2007 02:18:21 GMT
--------
Sheldon wrote:
> Just last week, heading out to mow my back field:

That was pretty boring.

============================

From: Sheldon 
Date: Mon, 27 Aug 2007 19:45:33 -0700
--------
Steve Wertz wrote:
> That was pretty boring.

Maybe it is, but it's better than doing nothing.

Obviously what's most boring of all is your entire soulless life...
why do you bother to wake up each day... you don't ever do anything,
you don't earn the air you breathe.  Those of us who are constructive
at something, anything, can put that air you waste to better use.  How
about we make a bargain, you stop breathing and I'll do things that
are more interesting.

============================

From: Steve Wertz 
Date: Tue, 28 Aug 2007 03:14:10 GMT
--------
Sheldon wrote:
> How
> about we make a bargain, you stop breathing and I'll do things that
> are more interesting.

Something other than posting pictures of your Tonka Toys?

============================

From: Bobo Bonobo® 
Date: Tue, 28 Aug 2007 05:32:22 -0700
--------
Sheldon wrote:
> Obviously what's most boring of all is your entire soulless life...
> why do you bother to wake up each day... you don't ever do anything,
> you don't earn the air you breathe.  Those of us who are constructive
> at something, anything, can put that air you waste to better use.  How
> about we make a bargain, you stop breathing and I'll do things that
> are more interesting.

What I'm wondering about is the gasoline you "waste."
Is mowing your "back field" a hobby?  Is keeping that "back field"
mown really constructive?
Are you contending that Steve's respiration is more a waste of oxygen
than the engine on your tractor?

All that said, your "back field" is pretty.

============================

From: Steve Wertz 
Date: Tue, 28 Aug 2007 19:25:41 GMT
--------
Bobo Bonobo® wrote:
> All that said, your "back field" is pretty.

And if you build it, they will come.

============================

From: blake murphy 
Date: Wed, 29 Aug 2007 19:25:14 GMT
--------
Bobo Bonobo® wrote:
>What I'm wondering about is the gasoline you "waste."
>Is mowing your "back field" a hobby?  Is keeping that "back field"
>mown really constructive?
>Are you contending that Steve's respiration is more a waste of oxygen
>than the engine on your tractor?

but mowing the back field is not sheldon's most important work.  as
far as i can tell, his primary task on earth is calling out lying,
greasy wops.  

============================

From: Julie Bove 
Date: Tue, 28 Aug 2007 03:17:01 GMT
--------
Sheldon wrote:
> With modern harvesting methods potatoes are washed clean right out of
> the ground, before the dirt can dry and harden.  Your dirt encrusted
> organic spuds were very likely grown on a small family farm that can't
> afford the very expensive modern harvesting equipment.  Bet you didn't
> know that a giant tractor can cost a million dollars and more.  Had
> you soaked those dirty potatoes in a bucket of water for an hour the
> dirt would soften, loosen, and most settle to the bottom so you
> wouldn't need to scrub hardly at all.

Yes, they come from a local farm.  But normally their potatoes aren't dirty. 
At least not THAT dirty.  I get a box of assorted stuff each week from them.

Had I known ahead of time they were that dirty, I would have soaked them. 
But stupid me.  They were the last thing I added to the soup and daughter 
was screaming that she was hungry.  No time for soaking.

> With the large farming co-ops the harvesters are private enterprises
> that are contracted to go farm to farm... working that equipment
> constantly is the only way it becomes affordable... fitted with
> special lighting bars they actually work all through the night.
> Nowadays the large tractors are operated with fancy schmancy GPS
> systems, there is no overlap, no wasted space on each run... those
> behemoth tractors make five mile passes not wavering a tenth of an
> inch... they don't really need a driver, often there is none,
> everything fully on cruise control.  My tractor has cruise control but
> not GPS... when the grass is tall I set it to creep speed and just
> steer through each long pass by lining up to a tree on the horizon,
> pretty mindless.  If I move too fast the mower doesn't have enough
> time to mulch and makes clumps so creep speed is nice, but without the
> cruise control it's difficult to make straight passes at 1 mph, can't
> hold my foot on the throttle steadly so long either.  I never use the
> cruise control on my car but I like it on my tractor, I can make some
> pretty straight rows.

Interesting.  I grew up with farmers on both sides of the family but I was 
always cautioned that there were certain things it was best not to grow and 
potatoes were one of them.  Why?  You could buy them cheaply and it wasn't 
worth the effort.  I know my grandpa planted them some years though because 
my mom told me about growing them.  And I'm pretty sure we grew them at 
least once when I was a kid.

> Was hot as hell that day, but AC makes it lovely.

I wish I had AC, but we don't need it too much here in WA. 

============================

From: Janet B. 
Date: Tue, 28 Aug 2007 06:10:35 -0600
--------
Julie Bove wrote:
> Interesting.  I grew up with farmers on both sides of the family but I was 
> always cautioned that there were certain things it was best not to grow 
> and potatoes were one of them.  Why?  You could buy them cheaply and it 
> wasn't worth the effort.  I know my grandpa planted them some years though 
> because my mom told me about growing them.  And I'm pretty sure we grew 
> them at least once when I was a kid.

It's true that the generic potatoes are cheap to buy but growing at home 
allows you to grow different varieties that may not be available at the 
market or are very expensive to buy.  Also, freshly picked potatoes are more 
flavorful and almost 'sweet.'  I haven't grown potatoes in years because my 
increasingly shady yard doesn't allow me the space for them, but I wish I 
could grow them.  Having potatoes in the garden means you can go out and 
steal the little baby potatoes from the growing plant.  Yummy.

============================

From: Omelet 
Date: Tue, 28 Aug 2007 03:03:19 -0500
--------
Julie Bove wrote:
> Now I realize the growers or vendors or someone along the food chain is 
> probably using some method of cleaning that I'd most likely not want to know 
> the particulars of.  Or maybe I would...  But my question is:  When was the 
> last time you got some really dirty potatoes?  Unless of course you grow 
> them yourself! 

Been so long, I can't remember.
Same for Carrots.

============================

From: Julie Bove 
Date: Tue, 28 Aug 2007 09:22:21 GMT
--------
Omelet wrote:
> Been so long, I can't remember.
> Same for Carrots.

Not sure I remember dirty carrots.  I wonder though...  Why are they 
sometimes sold with the tops on?  Generally the ones I get in my produce box 
have them on.  I assumed they would keep fresher with the tops on.  But I 
read somewhere it is best to remove them.  So I've been doing that and 
indeed the carrots stay fresher.  Sometimes they do have annoying hairy 
roots on them though. 

============================

From: Omelet 
Date: Tue, 28 Aug 2007 04:46:22 -0500
--------
Julie Bove wrote:
> Not sure I remember dirty carrots.  I wonder though...  Why are they 
> sometimes sold with the tops on?  Generally the ones I get in my produce box 
> have them on.  I assumed they would keep fresher with the tops on.  But I 
> read somewhere it is best to remove them.  So I've been doing that and 
> indeed the carrots stay fresher.  Sometimes they do have annoying hairy 
> roots on them though. 

I wish I could find them with the tops on.
Carrot tops would be very good for my cockatoo.

============================

From: JoeSpareBedroom 
Date: Tue, 28 Aug 2007 10:54:48 GMT
--------
Julie Bove wrote:
> Now I realize the growers or vendors or someone along the food chain is 
> probably using some method of cleaning that I'd most likely not want to 
> know the particulars of.  Or maybe I would...  But my question is:  When 
> was the last time you got some really dirty potatoes?  Unless of course 
> you grow them yourself!

Oh well. It was probably harder for the farmer to harvest them than it was 
for you to clean them. Hush. Enjoy. 

============================

From: Janet B. 
Date: Tue, 28 Aug 2007 06:02:08 -0600
--------
Julie Bove wrote:
> Now I realize the growers or vendors or someone along the food chain is 
> probably using some method of cleaning that I'd most likely not want to 
> know the particulars of.  Or maybe I would...  But my question is:  When 
> was the last time you got some really dirty potatoes?  Unless of course 
> you grow them yourself!

When produce is ready, it must be harvested or quality will be lost.  If the 
soil is wet at the time of harvest, the produce will carry more soil. 
Growers can't always have ideal conditions for harvest.

============================

From: Julie Bove 
Date: Wed, 29 Aug 2007 04:02:56 GMT
--------
Janet B. wrote:
> When produce is ready, it must be harvested or quality will be lost.  If 
> the soil is wet at the time of harvest, the produce will carry more soil. 
> Growers can't always have ideal conditions for harvest.

Ah, okay.  Hadn't thought of that. 


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