My husband is a meat-and-potatoes kind of guy. Except not really so much of the meat; just potatoes. As far as he is concerned, potatoes are the staff of life. “Potatoes have probably saved millions of lives,” he told me when I said I was going to sit down to write an article on potatoes in a can.
So, of course, we have to have them in our food storage. How could we not? They are versatile, inexpensive, come in a number of different forms for food storage, and are sold by every food storage company that I know of.
Here’s everything you need to know about the different ways potatoes can be purchased in a #10 can, and how I use them in my home.
Types of Potatoes In A Can
There are four types of potatoes in a can: Dehydrated potatoes, freeze dried potatoes, complete mashed potatoes and potato flakes. You may also find potato beads, dices, slices, and shredded potatoes, depending on the company.
FOLLOW THIS PINTEREST BOARD: If you love potatoes, you’ll love the collection of recipes on my board, “Potatoes Only!“
In their dehydrated form, as slices, these potatoes look and feel like extra thick, brittle potato chips. Once hydrated, however, they can be used just like any other sliced or diced potato in soup, stew, casseroles, and even potato salad. If you’ve ever purchased a pouch of Potatoes au Gratin from a brand such as Betty Crocker or Idahoan, you’re familiar with dehydrated sliced potatoes.
Augason Farms carries dehydrated potatoes in dices, as well as sliced dehydrated potatoes so you can get that authentic potato au gratin. (My favorite au gratin potato recipe can be found here.) You can also get dehydrated potato shreds which are great for hash browns. Some people don’t prefer dehydrated potatoes because the dehydrating process robs the potatoes of some flavor, and it somewhat alters the texture, but in most dishes, you would scarcely know the difference between fresh and dehydrated.
Dehydrated potatoes will be less expensive than freeze dried and, because they shrink up so much in the drying process, you will end up with more potatoes in the container than if they were freeze dried.
Freeze Dried Potatoes
Freeze drying preserves much of the original texture and flavor, and for this reason FD potatoes are a great improvement over the dehydrated kind. They also take less time to reconstitute. Dehydrated potatoes must be left in hot water for 10-15 minutes before cooking, whereas freeze-dried potatoes only require five minutes.
The improved potatoey-ness comes at a price, however: Freeze-dried anything is going to be considerably more expensive than dehydrated foods. Depending on your personal preference, the extra cost may be worth it. Both freeze-dried and dehydrated potatoes will store for upwards of 20+ years, under the right conditions.
Complete Mashed Potatoes
Augason Farms sells these as potato gems, but they may also be potato pearls or beads depending on the company. As the name would suggest, these are just-add-water mashed potatoes, and already include milk and butter flavoring. I love having a can of instant mashed potatoes in my pantry at all times. They’re perfect for a quick side dish for dinner, or as a component of shepherd’s pie. I’ve added sliced green onion, grated cheddar cheese, and seasoning to leftover mashed potatoes and then breaded and fried them.
Potato flakes are similar to instant mashed potatoes. You will have to add extra milk, butter, and salt yourself. Some people say that they taste rather bland, even with added butter. By themselves, potato flakes can only be described as “stodgy.” Furthermore, the high starch content has a tendency to produce a gummy, gluey texture.
This isn’t particularly desirable in mashed potatoes, but is an excellent quality in bread making. All that extra starch helps make the dough extra stretchy, producing a delightfully tender crumb. Potato flakes are especially great for making donuts, because what could be better than making an unhealthy dessert out of your food storage?
This recipe originally calls for white flour, but it will work well with whole wheat flour on the condition that it is from hard white winter wheat. One final word of warning: This recipe makes a LOT of donuts, so don’t start unless you’re committed.
Homemade Potato Donuts
- 1/2 powdered milk
- 3 1/2 C warm water
- 3 Tbsp yeast
- 1 C sugar
- 1 Tbsp salt
- 1/2 C whole egg powder
- 1 1/2 C mashed potatoes (for best results, use plain potato flakes, reconstituted)
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 3/4 C shortening
- 5-7 C flour
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Granulated sugar, for dipping.
1. Reconstitute milk powder in warm water. Dissolve yeast and sugar. Add egg powder and stir until dissolved. Add salt, potatoes, lemon zest, nutmeg, and shortening. Stir in 3 C flour and mix well. Add remaining flour 1/2 C at a time until the dough is stiff, but still pretty sticky.
2. Let rise in a greased bowl until double in size (about 1 1/2 hours). Roll out like biscuits and cut into rounds. If you don’t have a donut cutter, use a wide mouth jar lid, and fingers to make a hole in the middle.
3. Let rise on greased cookie sheets. Deep fry. While still warm, dip one side in sugar. Drain on paper towels. Makes 5 dozen donuts.