{video} how to clean potatoes

I had a lightbulb moment this past summer while vacationing in Cape Cod. A trip to the farmers’ market in Truro brought this counter full of summer veggies into my life (along with some incredible olive oil and jarred olives). The potatoes were still covered with a good deal of the earth from which they’d been plucked. It reminded me of a funny story from when I was a kid.

I must’ve been 11 years old, or so, and my mom sent me to the market to buy onions. I came home empty handed, and told her the onions didn’t look good because they were all dirty. I know. Crazy. At an age where my kids already know so much about how food is grown, I had no idea that onions GREW IN THE GROUND.

The good news is this means there’s hope for everyone! It just takes the desire to learn. Fast forward three years later, and I was at the helm, cooking dinner for me and my mom.

But I digress, as usual. Back to my aha moment. I had all these potatoes with me, but no scrub brush, being on vacation, and all. I’d just bought some new sponges at the grocery store, and figured “why not”. It worked like a charm; no need for an over priced specialty kitchen tool. A veggie-dedicated toothbrush would do the job, too, but take a few seconds more per potato since the brush surface is significantly smaller than a sponge. I speak from experience, as that’s how my mom taught me to clean potatoes, and we ate a lot of baked potatoes growing up!

Update: a reader on Instagram made a great point regarding water conservation. I usually try to be mindful of this, but left the water running since I was only using one potato to show a demo of the process.  Regardless, whether you’re cleaning one potato or 20, the water adds up. You can use this same method using a bowl of water, and then add the water to your garden when you’re done (or use it to water window boxes if you don’t have a yard).