Not sweet potatoes. Potatoes that are sweet.
February 11, 2009 8:10 PM   Subscribe

Is there anything palatable I can cook to use up potatoes that have turned sweet while stored in the fridge?

Last summer I bought a bagful of small, white potatoes at my local farmers' market and I stored them in the lower produce bin of my fridge (a mistake I won't make again). A few weeks ago I boiled and mashed some of them. Contrary to O9scar and Cook's Illustrated, I found that the potatoes had a distinct sweet taste. The mash was edible but strange-tasting.

Is there any conventional (or unconventional) wisdom on how to use up potatoes that have turned sweet? They're in perfect shape otherwise, with no green skin, no sprouts, no rot. I hate to throw them out. So far my best guesses are that they might be suitable for making needhams or latkes but then again, the presumably low starch content of the potatoes (whose starch has partially converted to sugar) might make them unsuitable even for those uses.

Ideas, anyone?
posted by Orinda to Food & Drink (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: p.s. LOL taters LOL. Now we have that out of the way, OK?
posted by Orinda at 8:13 PM on February 11, 2009

Sweet potato pie?
posted by turgid dahlia at 8:22 PM on February 11, 2009

Best answer: I'd just roast them with other roasted veg like sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and butternut squash, in olive oil with minced garlic and thyme. They'd blend in very well with other sweetish starch veggies and you wouldn't find them weird tasting.
posted by Miko at 8:24 PM on February 11, 2009

Best answer: I have a book called Root Cellaring that says when potatoes are stored at too low a temperature and turn sweet they will convert the sugar back into starches if left at room temperature for a week.

So, just leave them in a dark room temperature spot for a week and they'll be back to normal.
posted by Jupiter Jones at 8:27 PM on February 11, 2009 [1 favorite]

FYI for people who don't see the problem (and I haven't experienced this myself either), the Root Cellaring book says about the flavor: "At low temperatures, 35 degrees and below, some of the starch in the potato turns to sugar, giving the spuds a puzzling and not very appealing sweet flavor.
posted by Jupiter Jones at 8:29 PM on February 11, 2009

Yes, I recant my earlier advice. I also discovered this the hard way and went back to storing potatoes out in the open. CI usually doesn't steer me wrong - maybe I should write them a letter.

I don't know if you can swap them directly for sweet potatoes in a dessert. I seem to recall them being sweetish, but not quite "sweet potato" sweet. I'd say a fair amount of starch still remains. You could try them in sweet potato gnocchi, where it won't matter if they're not super sweet, unlike a pie.
posted by O9scar at 8:34 PM on February 11, 2009

I thought, and this site suggests, that you could let them sit out at room temperature for a few days to get the sugars to revert back to starch again, thus losing the sweet taste. If they are in good shape as you say, they should last a few more days in the open.
posted by cabingirl at 10:09 PM on February 11, 2009

Refrigerated Potato salad?
posted by aquafortis at 10:24 PM on February 11, 2009

If you don't want to wait for the reconversion to starch, you could try making french fries or hash browns out of them. The high heat of frying will caramelize some of the sugar, which should reduce the sweet taste.
posted by jedicus at 10:43 PM on February 11, 2009

I'm not sure how caramelizing the potatoes would reduce the sweetness. Caramelizing a food makes it taste sweeter. My understanding is that along with creating hundreds of not very well understood compounds that give the flavor, the sugars are broken down into simpler sugars, thus creating a greater mass of sugar. I also believe that the starches in a potato would further break down into sugars when caramelized.
posted by Jupiter Jones at 10:52 AM on February 12, 2009

On further review I find that frying refrigerated potatoes increases the amount of acrylamide in the food, which is a bad thing. So, whether it would help offset the sweet taste or not it's probably not healthy.
posted by jedicus at 12:37 PM on February 12, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions! I'm going to try taking some of the potatoes out and leaving them at room temperature for a week. If that doesn't de-sweeten them, I'll give Miko's roasting idea a try.
posted by Orinda at 7:21 PM on February 12, 2009

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