DIY Instant Potato Recipe

Recently there was a huge sale on potatoes at my local market. Without even thinking I purchased not one but two 20 pound bags of them! I also still had a 5 pound bag sitting at home. 
With my "waste not what not" attitude I decided to do just that. For weeks I made Potato Wedges, Mashed Potatoes, Baked Potatoes, Home Fries, Shepherds Pie. Needless to say, I was starting to feel like Forest Gump with Potatoes instead of Shrimp. 

As time went on, I started to notice my spuds were growing eyes and it was time to do something fast. Getting burnt out on potatoes, I needed a new idea.

In the past I have dehydrated potatoes for things like soups but honestly they take up a lot of space in the jars and I just don't have the room. 
After a lot of thought I decided to try making my own Instant Potatoes! That's right, just like at the store in the box. 
Dehydrating potatoes is great for a lot of reasons. If you're like me and you go on a potato shopping spree or if you're a prepper! I've never thought of myself as much of prepper but I love to cook. I find it challenging and being that I am so competitive, I am always up for a new challenge. There's something about cooking that just eases my mind. 
To get into how to make them, keep it simple. These are no frills mashed potatoes. You don't want to add any dairy, dairy supplements or seasonings until it's time to REhydrate. We'll circle back to rehydrating after.
To start, you need a GOOD dehydrator. I've talked about this in the past how I think the round ones are total garbage and cook unevenly. My honest opinion and 10+ years experience has shown me that the Excalibur is a fantastic, semi affordable dehydrator that is very user friendly. Don't get me wrong, this isn't your grandma's $40 dehydrator. These can run anywhere from $150-$400 but they make a damn good product and if you're serious about preserving food, it's worth it. Now if you have a classic round dehydrator you can still do this it just takes more time and effort. The key to doing this is getting an even dry. With both dehydrators you want to make sure you flip your drying spuds as soon as the top is dry otherwise you will get ugly discoloration. This is even more crucial with a round dehydrator because of the uneven drying.
 
  
The other thing you need would be the wet mats as I call them. Most dehydrators even the cheaper ones have mats available to do things like fruit leathers so your wetter things don't leak through the trays. Excalibur and amazon sell these separately and sometimes even as a package deal. 

The other thing you will need will be either a stand mixer, hand mixer or potato masher (with a lot of time). If you plan to make 10 pounds of potatoes into powder like I did, I recommend the stand mixer to save on time. I have just the standard Kitchen Aid with whisk attachment and I was able to let it mash while I prepared other things. 

One thing you can't go without would be a food processor or blender for the end to turn them from potato pancakes to potato dust. You can't really do this without a way to blend them. I have a cheap Black + Decker I got at Walmart ages ago but it works all the same! 
After that it's basic items like a large pot, some quart or half gallon mason jars for storage then either a mity-vac or food saver to rid the air of the jars. 
I have both but I prefer the mity vac vacuum pump with gauge. This way I know exactly how many inches I am vacuuming. Don't get me wrong, I love my food saver but I never know what pressure it is when it stops. I like to hand vac mine to 20 inches of vac to help keep freshness. I will eventually do another blog on just vac sealing for freshness. 
  
To jump into it you want to peal and cut all your potatoes into 1/2 inch pieces. Discard as much peel as possible to prevent your future mashed potatoes from becoming bitter. 
After that put them in a large pot and fill with just enough water to cover them and no more. Do not drain after! This is important!!!
Cook your potatoes for 10-15 minutes or until you can easily pierce them with a fork. With these, over done is better than underdone. 
Next, either pour the potatoes with water into a mixer and set on low until blended, about 5 minutes or mash by hand until completely smooth with the cooking water.

Once mashed take a dehydrator tray with wet mat and evenly spread your mashed potato over the mat. Thinner the better. You just want to coat the mat and not be able to see through to the mat. Too thick and it will take forever to dry. 

Repeat this process until all your mashed potatoes are on trays, place in the dehydrator then set to 125 degrees Fahrenheit for 18-20 hours. Every few hours, pull the trays to check for doneness. If the top is dry, flip your potatoes so the wet side is up then return to the dehydrator to finish. You will know that they are completely done when you can snap the pieces in half. If they bend at all before breaking, they need more time.

When you finished drying, removed all your spuds and add them to a food processor and begin blending. Start with a pulse to break up the big chunks then move on to slow and eventually fast. It will take a while to get to a fine consistency. Once again, I don't know what kind of black magic these food factories use to make the dried spuds in a box but yours will not look like that at all. It's totally normal to have powder and some bigger pieces in there. Keep in mind any bigger pieces will become lumps when you rehydrate them. 

After you have spun you spuds, it's time to seal them up! I can't stress this enough that if you want these to last, remove the air! Air equals moisture and moisture equals bacteria, mold... blah blah. Don't get sick. 
So, add your powdered potatoes to a mason jar, fit with a vac seal lid and get to sucking! With a vac seal or mity vac of course, don't try to do this with your mouth. 
 Once you have removed the air just label with the date and you're done! 
Now according to food preservation studies, these can last up to two years if stored in a cool, dark place.
To bring these zombie spuds back to life you just need some hot water, milk and seasonings. How much hot water can depend on how well you were able to blend the bits. Larger bits can take more water absorption and time so keep that in mind. 

Bring 2 cups of water and 2 tablespoon of butter to a boil. Once boiling turn off the heat and add 1/3 cup of milk then 1 cup of your dried potato flakes to the pot and fluff with a fork. Let stand for 3-5 minutes. Add more milk or butter as needed. Everyone's preference of mashed potato consistency is different.  Salt and pepper to your liking. But that's it! You just preserved potatoes and brought them back! 1 cup of dried spuds equals about 3 cups when reconstituted. 

Equipment Needed

Dehydrator

Dehydrator Wet Mats

Stand Mixer or Potato Masher

Food Processor

Mason Jars

Optional: Mity-Vac & Mason Jar Vac Lids 

Ingredients

 2 Pounds of potatoes pealed and cut into 1/2 pieces

Water

Directions

1. Place potatoes in a large pot and add enough water to cover them

2. Boil for 10 - 15 minutes until fork tender. DO NO drain the water

3. Place potatoes and water in a mixing bowl and blend with whisk attachment or by hand.

4. Smear your mashed potatoes on a wet mat of the dehydrator tray evenly.

5. Dehydrate for 18-20 hours, flipping about half way in between. They're done when they snap without bend.

6. Blend in food processor until powder.

7. Place powdered potatoes in a mason jar and use mity vac to remove air to approx 20 inches. 

8. Store in cool, dark place. 

Rehydrate

Bring 2 cups of water and 2 tablespoon of butter to a boil. Once boiling turn off the heat and add 1/3 cup of milk then 1 cup of your dried potato flakes to the pot and fluff with a fork. Let stand for 3-5 minutes. Add more milk or butter as needed. Everyone's preference of mashed potato consistency is different.  Salt and pepper to your liking.  1 cup of dried spuds equals about 3 cups when reconstituted. 

Note: The finer you're able to process the dried potatoes, the less lumpy they will be when you re hydrate them.
 

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