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Spuds

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Larry Greenly

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Spuds

by Larry Greenly » Fri Aug 07, 2020 1:23 am

I was arguing/discussing with a couple of people who store their potatoes in the refrigerator. I stated that storing potatoes in a cold refrigerator will convert the starches to reducing sugars, which can then generate acrylamide under high heat, as in french frying, etc.

They looked at me like I was crazy. Yes, I am a bit, but what about your thoughts on storage?

I also warned against storing tomatoes in the refrigerator; they turn mealy and flavorless.

I'm sure Paul can show you the chemical reactions.
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Barb Downunder

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Re: Spuds

by Barb Downunder » Fri Aug 07, 2020 4:04 am

Not sure of the chemistry but I always store my spuds in a bag at room temperature like wise tomatoes are in a basket on the bench, along with other fruits.
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Re: Spuds

by Dale Williams » Fri Aug 07, 2020 9:28 am

Yes, potatoes at cool room temperature (if long term basement/cellar, but not fridge).
Tomatoes only in fridge as last resort if really bursting
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Re: Spuds

by Peter May » Fri Aug 07, 2020 11:11 am

The people Larry was talking with didn't find problems with their storage.

As I understand it, potatoes and tomatoes are in the same family, yet while fridge storage supposedly creates sugar in potatoes, it doesn't in the related tomatoes - where perhaps extra sweetness would be a bonus?

Potatoes and tomatoes is all encompassing. Does the effect apply to all varieties, all sizes, all colours of each?

Is a fridge per se bad? Does it matter what temperature the fridge is, or where in the fridge they're stored? Or for how long?

I keep tomatoes in my fridge, unless I am trying to ripen them in which case they go on the kitchen window sill. Baby sized potatoes go in fridge salad crisper drawer, as do large roasting potatoes if there is room.

I don't cook french fries/chips. I've not noticed any problems/issues.
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Re: Spuds

by Jenise » Fri Aug 07, 2020 11:13 am

Potatoes never in the fridge for the reason you name with one exception, when I buy a small net bag of white "creamers" as they call them up here at my local market. They keep them in the refrigerated area next to the lettuce and radishes, so I follow suit. Russets and others will turn to glue if boiled for mashed potatoes.

Tomatoes I refrigerate unless I want them to ripen further. They do not turn mealy and tasteless. Like wine, they have less flavor when cold but once back to room temp the flavor's there.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Spuds

by Larry Greenly » Fri Aug 07, 2020 12:35 pm

Throwing out some more raw meat: I'll moderate my tomato stance. If they're fully ripe, it's okay in fridge and then let them warm up.

As food scientist Harold McGee says in his book On Food and Cooking (which I own): “Tomatoes came originally from a warm climate, and should be stored at room temperature.” As in, on the countertop. He notes that anything other than fully ripe tomatoes really suffer after refrigeration in every way—flavor development, coloration, and mealy texture."

And the same goes for cherry tomatoes—those small, sweet ones born to brighten up any summer salad. However, the key phrase to pay attention to here is “anything other than fully ripe tomatoes.” Temperatures below 55° F (like the inside of your refrigerator) halt unripe tomatoes’ flavor-producing enzyme activity. McGee notes that while fully ripe fresh tomatoes are still susceptible to flavor loss when placed in the refrigerator, some of that enzyme activity can come back if they are allowed to recover for a day or two at room temperature before eating.

From https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/storing-food-safely-potatoes

Storing food safely - potatoes
Uncooked potatoes are best kept somewhere cool and dry, but don't keep them in the fridge. Putting potatoes in the fridge can increase the amount of sugar they contain, and lead to higher levels of a chemical called acrylamide when the potatoes are baked, fried or roasted at high temperatures.

Acrylamide is a chemical found in starchy foods that have been cooked at high temperatures. These include crisps, chips, bread and crispbreads. It was first discovered by scientists in Sweden in 2002.

Acrylamide causes cancer in animals and so might also harm people's health.
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Re: Spuds

by Paul Winalski » Fri Aug 07, 2020 12:41 pm

Peter May wrote:As I understand it, potatoes and tomatoes are in the same family, yet while fridge storage supposedly creates sugar in potatoes, it doesn't in the related tomatoes - where perhaps extra sweetness would be a bonus?


Tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplants (aubergines) are all members of the nightshade family. But tomatoes and potatoes are very different parts of the plant. The tomato is the plant's fruit. The potato is part of the root system--a storage tuber. Very different.

Acrylamide generation can happen whenever starchy foods are heated over 120 degrees Celsius. It doesn't happen when potatoes are boiled, but it can when they are baked or fried. And the problem applies to other starchy foods, not just potatoes.

-Paul W.
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Re: Spuds

by Jeff Grossman » Fri Aug 07, 2020 3:48 pm

Gosh, I'm still pickin' creosote out of my teeth from last week's grill-fest so damn the acrylamides, full steam ahead!

I buy potatoes when I need them so for a day or two they can sit on the counter.

Tomatoes go on the counter if they need to ripen; otherwise, they can go in the fridge and I'll warm them up before use.

I keep most fruit in the fridge - pomes, pit fruits, berries, melons. The only exception is bananas - they do terribly in the fridge.
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Re: Spuds

by Rahsaan » Fri Aug 07, 2020 4:16 pm

Interesting. I know sweet potatoes get strange when they get too cold but I always put 'regular' potatoes in the refrigerator and somehow managed to enjoy them. In this case it sounds less like a taste issue and more of a health issue?

Otherwise am surprised to see people loading up refrigerators with all kinds of fruit. I try to avoid it as much as possible (except for indestructible apples), especially for my beloved tomatoes!
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Re: Spuds

by Jenise » Fri Aug 07, 2020 4:22 pm

Larry, good on you for looking up Harold. But I still disagree with the part about refrigerated tomatoes becoming mealy. Tomatoes are my #1 favorite food, and at any point in time I will have 1-4 lbs of them on hand during summer. I generally refrigerate them all, and I don't notice them getting mealy. What I would notice, and mind terribly, is them getting softer as they sit on the counter. For my tastes, a terrible development. I keep mine cold to stop further ripening.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Spuds

by Larry Greenly » Fri Aug 07, 2020 6:09 pm

Jenise wrote: I keep mine [tomatoes] cold to stop further ripening.



That's when Harold says it's okay--when tomatoes are fully ripe. Unfortunately, I don't have any tomato vines this year except for one from seed that I planted way late. It's just starting to show a couple of flowers. I'm getting a bunch of cayennes, though, from a potted plant.
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Re: Spuds

by Larry Greenly » Fri Aug 07, 2020 6:13 pm

Jeff Grossman wrote:Gosh, I'm still pickin' creosote out of my teeth from last week's grill-fest so damn the acrylamides, full steam ahead!



Acrylamide is my favorite rub. :mrgreen:
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Re: Spuds

by Paul Winalski » Fri Aug 07, 2020 7:01 pm

Larry Greenly wrote:[That's when Harold says it's okay--when tomatoes are fully ripe.


Which of course is almost never the case with supermarket tomatoes, which are picked green and then force-ripened by exposure to ethylene. They do turn red, but they don't ripen the way they would have done on the vine.

-Paul W.
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Re: Spuds

by Larry Greenly » Fri Aug 07, 2020 7:50 pm

Paul Winalski wrote:
Larry Greenly wrote:[That's when Harold says it's okay--when tomatoes are fully ripe.


Which of course is almost never the case with supermarket tomatoes, which are picked green and then force-ripened by exposure to ethylene. They do turn red, but they don't ripen the way they would have done on the vine.

-Paul W.


You don't like crunchy tomatoes? :mrgreen:
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Re: Spuds

by Jeff Grossman » Fri Aug 07, 2020 8:33 pm

Rahsaan wrote:Otherwise am surprised to see people loading up refrigerators with all kinds of fruit.

I buy fruit when it is really ripe. If it sits on the counter it attracts fruit flies and, also, I won't be able to stretch out my purchase over several days.
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Re: Spuds

by Larry Greenly » Fri Aug 07, 2020 10:09 pm

Fruit flies = protein. :mrgreen:

I've been known to set fruit fly traps, usually an empty water bottle with cider vinegar or wine in the bottom.
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Re: Spuds

by John F » Sat Aug 08, 2020 7:10 am

Wow... can’t believe this thread .....I have never in my life put an uncooked potato in the fridge..... I guess my other never did so here we are.

On the tomato front.......I feel like I read or saw a cooking show in my 20s that said NEVER put a raw tomato in the fridge.... like don’t stick your knife in a toaster kind of warning.
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Re: Spuds

by Jenise » Sat Aug 08, 2020 12:53 pm

Larry Greenly wrote:That's when Harold says it's okay--when tomatoes are fully ripe.


One could argue that supermarket tomatoes off season are never fully ripe. Makes no difference to me, in fact I sometimes choose green (like, the color) tomatoes for inclusion in tomato salads, just for variation. And I'm not eating mealy tomatoes!
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Spuds

by Jenise » Sat Aug 08, 2020 12:55 pm

Rahsaan wrote:Otherwise am surprised to see people loading up refrigerators with all kinds of fruit. I try to avoid it as much as possible (except for indestructible apples), especially for my beloved tomatoes!


I cannot STAND fruit flies. Everything goes in the fridge! Except for the Hawaiian papayas--they're in the wine cellar. :)
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Spuds

by Paul Winalski » Sat Aug 08, 2020 1:42 pm

In the summer I have enough fruit flies to open my own genetics lab. I wouldn't mind them except they insist on committing suicide by drowning in my wine glass.

-Paul W.
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Re: Spuds

by Jenise » Sat Aug 08, 2020 2:30 pm

Paul Winalski wrote:In the summer I have enough fruit flies to open my own genetics lab. I wouldn't mind them except they insist on committing suicide by drowning in my wine glass.

-Paul W.


We always have to be careful when drinking outside. We call them 'swimmers'. Strangely I get more swimmers than Bob does. And while I mind them as much as I ever did, I've finally accepted fishing them out and going on with the glass--at first, I would toss the whole thing. Drove Bob nuts. :)
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Spuds

by Rahsaan » Sun Aug 09, 2020 11:35 am

The only time we really get fruit flies is with plantains, which I never purchase fully ripe and require a lot of time. Otherwise, I usually go shopping a few times a week and always have a rotating stash of fruit at various stages of ready-to-eat. For most fruits, the refrigerator deadens the texture and flavor (which I suppose is part of the point, to stop the natural ripening), so I like to avoid that when possible. But of course like everything, it depends.
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Re: Spuds

by Jenise » Sun Aug 09, 2020 11:39 am

Rahsaan, any time we buy fresh raspberries, blackberries, strawberries or blueberries, which invariably come unrefrigerated from local farms (this is the raspberry capital of the country), they're LOADED with fruit flies. Other things bring them too but these especially. I have to immediately wash/use or refrigerate because having bugs in the house seriously drives me nuts.
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Re: Spuds

by Rahsaan » Sun Aug 09, 2020 4:02 pm

Jenise wrote:Rahsaan, any time we buy fresh raspberries, blackberries, strawberries or blueberries, which invariably come unrefrigerated from local farms (this is the raspberry capital of the country), they're LOADED with fruit flies. Other things bring them too but these especially. I have to immediately wash/use or refrigerate because having bugs in the house seriously drives me nuts.


Yeah, berries are some of the most fragile fruits/toughest to preserve without refrigeration. For me it's always a trade-off, because the texture is never as delicate and the flavors are never as vibrant once they go into the refrigerator. But, they can quickly rot and ruin without refrigeration. Oh the dilemmas we face!
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