Can You Peel and Cut Potatoes Ahead of Time?
If you're here, you'll probably be glad to know that yes, you can peel and cut potatoes the day before you plan to serve them — and that it's super easy! All you have to do is submerge the bare potato pieces in water and refrigerate (more on that later).
Whether you're planning an elaborate Thanksgiving menu or just planning ahead for tomorrow's dinner, this quick and easy potato hack will simplify your meal prep in a big way. Peeled and refrigerated potatoes that aren't soaked will still be safe to eat the next day, but the chemical reaction caused by exposure to oxygen will turn your spuds a weird pinkish/brown color. Not that there's anything necessarily wrong with that, but most people prefer their potatoes white and fluffy. Here's everything you need to know about prepping potatoes in advance:
When to Prep Potatoes Early — And When to Wait
While you can prepare peeled potatoes ahead of time, it's important to realize there are some caveats. For instance, this process works exceptionally well for whole or cubed potatoes — but not so well for shredded or finely cut potatoes. The larger the potato pieces, the longer they can hang out in water. As the pieces get smaller, the less time they can withstand soaking. If you're working with latkes, hash browns, or any recipe that requires the potatoes to be finely diced, sliced, or shredded, you'll be better off if you prepare it all in one day.
You also should avoid prepping the potatoes ahead of time if you intend to fry them, as hot oil and wet veggies don't mix well. In the same vein, if your recipe requires the finished potatoes to be extra crispy, avoid soaking them at all.
The best use of this easy little hack is mashed potatoes. Since the potatoes will be boiled when it's time to cook them anyway, the outcome of the recipe really won't really be affected at all.
How to Store Peeled Potatoes
Storing peeled potatoes overnight is as easy as 1-2-3:
- Peel potatoes using a vegetable peeler (this top-rated OXO peeler glides through tough skins like a breeze). It's best to leave them whole, but you can go ahead and cube or dice them if you want — just don't slice too finely.
- Fill a bowl with cool water, submerge potatoes, then cover with plastic wrap. Store in the refrigerator overnight.
- When it's time to start working with the potatoes, just drain them well in a colander and get cooking.
Some things to keep in mind:
- We've said it before, and we'll say it again: Don't try this with finely sliced, diced, or shredded potatoes. They just won't stand up to an overnight soak, so don't do it.
- The larger the potato pieces, the longer they'll last in water. If you're prepping with smaller pieces, don't soak for more than 12 or so hours.
- This trick is handy, but it'll only work for about 24 hours — so don't prep too far in advance.