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Subject: Hash Browns
Newsgroups: rec.food.cooking

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From: "bt" <A.Sobell[at]btinternet.com>
Date: Wed, 23 Aug 2000 13:41:13 GMT
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Folks, I am a man living alone and I have tried making my own hash browns,
by shredding potatoes rather than buying packets of shredded potatoes at the
store. Unfortunately, mine are soggy and do not brown like they should.  How
do I get rid of the moisture in the shredded potatoes to get them like those
I buy in the store?  Can anyone help me,please?

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From: Stan Horwitz <stan[at]typhoon.ocis.temple.edu>
Date: 23 Aug 2000 14:06:02 GMT
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Wrap the shredded potatoes in paper towels and squeeze them. This
will get out some of the moisture. It also helps to use a very very
hot pan and only add a small amount of potatoes at a time to the
pan as you cook them. This way, the potatoes will not cool off the
oil in the pan too much.

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From: T A R T <tart[at]ihugg.com.nz>
Date: Thu, 24 Aug 2000 03:35:20 +1200
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I put the shredded potato in a muslin bag, and then I hang it somewhere so
that the water can fall out. Give it a good squeeze before using it, and it
turns out quite well.

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From: Smee <ziln[at]hotmail.com>
Date: Wed, 23 Aug 2000 08:37:10 -0700
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T A R T wrote:
> I put the shredded potato in a muslin bag, and then I hang it somewhere so
> that the water can fall out. Give it a good squeeze before using it, and it
> turns out quite well.

Shredded potato turns black when exposed to the air. How do you prevent this
while waiting for the water to drain out?

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From: zxcvbob <bob[at]area51online.net>
Date: Wed, 23 Aug 2000 11:46:30 -0500
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Smee wrote:
> Shredded potato turns black when exposed to the air. How do you prevent this
> while waiting for the water to drain out?

Disolve a half a Campden tablet (available from winemaking supply
shops) in a quart of water and shred the potatoes into that.  Let then
soak a bit, then scoop them out and drain and do that towel thing. 
I've never done this with potatoes, but I use campden to keep peeled
and sliced apples from turning brown.  After a brief soak in campden
solution, the apples will keep for about a week in the refrigerator
without browning.  Actually, they'll never brown, they just spoil
after about a week.  

The shredded potatoes that I looked at at the store a couple of months
ago were treated with sulfites to prevent discoloring, so I'm pretty
sure this will work.

Best regards,
Bob

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From: Rachel Gordon <rgord07[at]banet.net>
Date: Wed, 23 Aug 2000 15:44:53 -0400
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zxcvbob wrote:
> Smee wrote:
> > Shredded potato turns black when exposed to the air. How do you prevent this
> > while waiting for the water to drain out?
>
> Disolve a half a Campden tablet (available from winemaking supply

Not something I've done -- and I haven't had hash browns in a long time -- but
have you tried lemon juice?

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From: "hahabogus \(Alan\)" <hahabogus[at]hotmail.com.invalid>
Date: Wed, 23 Aug 2000 15:56:03 -0500
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I've always used day old quartered boiled tatters,that I grate just before
frying.  Left in the fridge overnight seems to dry them enough.

Very nice with a little chopped onion,celery garlic and bell pepper and
maybe mushrooms ; as well as some seasoning (pepper (both red and black) and
some celery seed and a pinch of coarse salt and some fresh parsley if you
got it).  Pan fried over low to low-medium heat till potatoes are browned.

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From: Jack Schidt <jack.schidt[at]nospam.att.net>
Date: Wed, 23 Aug 2000 20:29:44 GMT
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zxcvbob <bob@area51online.net> wrote:
> Disolve a half a Campden tablet (available from winemaking

careful that they aren't bisulfates, which will raise holy
hell with asthmatics.

I'd use a towel to dry off the shredded potatoes, not being
chemical friendly.  Then again, I don't eat hash browns, but
prefer the kingly home fries.

Jack Spud

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From: Brian Huntley <brian_huntley[at]my-deja.com>
Date: Wed, 23 Aug 2000 20:34:13 GMT
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zxcvbob <bob@area51online.net> wrote:
> Disolve a half a Campden tablet (available from winemaking supply

Er, isn't Campden a sulphite itself, Bob?

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From: zxcvbob <bob[at]area51online.net>
Date: Wed, 23 Aug 2000 16:56:51 -0500
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Brian Huntley wrote:
> zxcvbob <bob@area51online.net> wrote:
> > Disolve a half a Campden tablet (available from winemaking supply
> Er, isn't Campden a sulphite itself, Bob?

Uhh, yes.  That was the point.

Bob

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From: "bill" <sutera[at]iqmail.net>
Date: Wed, 23 Aug 2000 14:59:41 -0500
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just rinse the spuds with cold water let drain...

only putting small amounts in at a time help too.

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From: Elaine Parrish <esp[at]ebicom.net>
Date: Wed, 23 Aug 2000 18:52:05 -0500
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bt wrote:
>  How
>do I get rid of the moisture in the shredded potatoes to get them like those
>I buy in the store? 

I don't know if I can answer your question or not, because I never
bought shredded potatoes at the store. I have bought those pattie
thingies like you get at McD's. I deep fry those. 

I make several different items that I call hash browns -- although they
may not be :)

I peel and grate the potatoes and there is always a lot of water
content. I pick up a handful and squeeze them. This gets the water out
and packs the shreds together. I have a cast iron skillet with about
a half inch of oil heating. When a drop of water dropped in the oil
sizzles, it's ready. I drop the squeezed mound of shreds into the oil
cook on one side and turn over. You'll have to adjust the heat as you
go. The thicker the mound of shreds the longer it has to cook --
also the more soft the inside. 

Sometimes I want them very thin and crispy and sometimes I want them
more chewy.

I also follow the same method up to the point of putting the shreds
in the skillet. Instead of making indy mounds, I cover the bottom of
the skillet with a thick layer, fry more slowly, and stir and turn
the potatoes until they are done. Usually, I turn the heat up in the
end to brown the spuds.

I don't fix hash browns as often because I prefer what Gram called 
skillet fries. Peel potatoes and cube. Drop into hot oil deep enough to 
cover the potatoes at least half way. They will crust over on the
down side quickly; turn over and crust that side. Turn heat to medium
or even a little less (so that oil is still bubbling). Let cook about
15 minutes. The finished product can be a soft potato cube inside and out
or a soft potato cube with a browned, firm outside.   

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From: Bob Pastorio <Pastorio[at]rica.net>
Date: Thu, 24 Aug 2000 00:57:28 -0400
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bt wrote:
>  How
>do I get rid of the moisture in the shredded potatoes to get them like those
>I buy in the store? 

Ok, I'll give away a secret that I developed in a restaurant I used to
have.  Don't tell anyone.  It's just you and me talking here.  We're
starting with 3 medium potatoes.

Peel and shred the spuds.  Rinse them in hot water and dump them into
a colander to drain.  Press gently on them to get out a bit more
water.  Meanwhile, start a non-stick skillet on medium heat.  When
it's hot, pour in about 1/4 inch of oil and let that get hot, too. 
Dump the spud shreds into the oil and press and spread them into an
even cake.  Let them get hot and cook for about 5 minutes.  Take 1/4
cup of tepid water and stir two tablespoons of corn starch into it. 
Pour the starch and water mixture over the potatoes and let it soak
into and through them.  Soon, like 5 or 10 minutes, a crust will form
on the bottom and you'll be able to turn it over.  If the potatoes
don't hold together, add a little more water-starch mixture after
turning.

I've done it with chicken stock and, once, tomato juice instead of
water.  Very interesting.

The starch forms a nice crust if you have the right amount.  Not
enough and it just sticks to a few strands of potato.  Too much and it
forms a chewy crust.  You have to adjust it to suit your tastes.

Happy spuds...

Pastorio

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From: Madwen <madwen[at]mailbag.spammenot.com>
Date: Thu, 24 Aug 2000 14:13:06 -0500
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Bob Pastorio wrote:
> Peel and shred the spuds.  Rinse them in hot water and dump them into
> a colander to drain.  Press gently on them to get out a bit more
> water.  Meanwhile, start a non-stick skillet on medium heat.  When
> it's hot, pour in about 1/4 inch of oil and let that get hot, too. 
> Dump the spud shreds into the oil and press and spread them into an
> even cake.  Let them get hot and cook for about 5 minutes.  Take 1/4
> cup of tepid water and stir two tablespoons of corn starch.....

Sounds like one huge latke. :)

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From: Billy <brawny[at]myrtlewood.net>
Date: Fri, 25 Aug 2000 07:26:30 -0400
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Bob Pastorio wrote:
>Peel and shred the spuds.  Rinse them in hot water and dump them into
>a colander to drain. 
 
>Take 1/4 cup of tepid water and stir two tablespoons of corn starch into it. 
>Pour the starch and water mixture over the potatoes and let it soak
>into and through them. 

Let me understand......  in other words...........you rinsed all the natural
starch off the potato and then added it back to the product again with the
cornstarch...??  

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From: citizenc3[at]my-deja.com
Date: Thu, 24 Aug 2000 22:42:08 GMT
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Shredding tears the cell walls of the potatoes, which releases the
moisture. If you're good with your knife, you can slice and cut your
potatoes into short juliennes, and this will prevent so much moisture
from potatoes. It's rather labor intensive, but then again, so is
shredding a bunch of potatoes.

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From: Nona Myers <nona[at]mikan.com>
Date: Fri, 25 Aug 2000 01:54:52 GMT
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Did not have the original post above, so excuse me for jumping in
here.

I follow the Cook's Illustrated in making hash browns.  Here it
goes:

1 pound high-starch potatoes such as russets, peeled, washed,
dried, grated coarse (using the large-hole side of a box grater),
and _squeezed dry_ in kitchen towel (1 1/2 cups loosely packed
grated potatoes)
1/4 tsp salt
pepper
1 T butter

Toss fully dried grated potatoes with salt and pepper in a bowl.
Heat half the butter in a skillet over medium high heat until it
just starts to brown, then scatter potatoes evenly over entire
pan bottom.  Using a wide spatula, firmly  press potatoes to
flatten; reduce heat to medium and continue cooking until dark
golden brown and crisp, 7 to 8 minutes.

Invert hash browns, browned side up, onto a large plate; add
remaining butter to pan.  Once butter has melted, slide hash
browns back into pan.  Continue to cook over medium heat until
remaining side is dark golden brown and crisp, 5 to 6 minutes
longer.  Slide onto plate and cut into wedges and serve
immediately.

Sounds complicated, but it really isn't.  Also do not grate until
just before cooking because potatoes will turn brown.  

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From: hartmans[at]mediaone.net (Kay Hartman)
Date: Sun, 27 Aug 2000 03:43:20 GMT
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>Folks, I am a man living alone and I have tried making my own hash browns,

Here's what I do.  Place a heavy cast iron frying pan over high heat.
Peel and grate potatoes.  Add a generous pour of oil to the pan.  Corn
oil is nice.  The oil should come halfway up the potatoes once they
are added.  Squeeze the potatoes to remove as much water as you can.
Add the potatoes to the pan.  The oil should be very hot and should
bubble madly when you add the potatoes.  I fill the pan with potatoes.
The pan size should be such that you have 1 to 2 inches of potatoes.
Salt and pepper the potatoes.  Sprinkle with garlic powder.  When the
bottom of the potatoes are golden, turn.  Salt and pepper the
potatoes.  Sprinkle with garlic powder.  When the second side is
golden, place the potatoes on a paper towel.  Squeeze a little with a
spatula to wick the oil into the towel.

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From: christin[at]pitt.edu (Christine Berliner)
Date: Wed, 30 Aug 2000 12:26:55 -0400
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>   How
> do I get rid of the moisture in the shredded potatoes to get them like those
> I buy in the store? 

Some potato types have more water than others. I know, from an
embarrassing experience, that redskins don't make good hash browns. OTOH,
yukon Golds work quite nicely. I'm not a potato expert, so you might have
to try a few kinds.

Also, perhaps using a griddle rather than a skillet will help with
evaporation. Failing that, your biggest skillet, and leave some room for
the moisture to escape (don't make the pile go to the edge of the skillet,
or make several patties with space around.)

Agree with other posters that high heat helps; too lazy to sqeeze; I don't
worry about the discoloration, because they get browned in the end anyway.


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