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View Full Version : Purple potatoes and other fun things to do with starches



wayneb
10-14-2009, 09:59 PM
E-man, thanks, but I'll bet they woudn't survive the trip. I'll find some here, I'm sure. I'm just bummed that the largest grower west of the Divide has apparently stopped growing this variety.

And Medsen, they are not the same. The purple Peruvians are deeply colored through and through. One other thing that intrigues me about that variety -- they are supposed to hold their color during cooking. That means I can hit them with a par-boil, necessary for hydrolyzing the starch enough to allow diastatic enzymes to yield some sugar conversion, and I should also be able to get some of that color out with an addition of an enzyme mix like Rapidase (which is good for anthocyanin extraction as well as pectin hydrolysis).

wildaho
10-15-2009, 01:13 AM
Will do. Actually that batch is just waiting on the potatoes, and I'm looking for a source. The one farm in Idaho that I knew grew them in the past doesn't have any available this year. :(
Living in Idaho does have SOME advantages! I've tried those spuds for cooking Wayne: fried, baked and otherwise. The color holds up well. They make for a great (but weird looking) potato salad! When boiled they do fade more towards a semi-pale indigo. Baking and frying holds the color better.

Do you know what farm they came from? I might be able to find another source for you.

:cheers:
Wade

wayneb
10-15-2009, 08:31 AM
Wade, if you can find ANY source for them, willing to ship at least 10 lbs, I'm interested! Purcell Mountain Farms apparently used to ship them, but when I went to their website they have no potatoes listed among their for sale items. I've sent them an email asking if they're still available but so far they haven't replied.

Hey, if YOU can find them and ship them to me, I'll pay ya - in advance if necessary!! ;D

Gardenmead
10-15-2009, 10:15 PM
Medsen Fey, the photo you posted looks like a variety of sweet potato. Pen Patat is made with sweet potatoes too.

Wayneb, "Mead and potatoes" sounds cool! You think the pigments will come out in solution?

Angelic Alchemist
10-15-2009, 10:36 PM
Wayneb, "Mead and potatoes" sounds cool! You think the pigments will come out in solution?

I've wondered the same thing about black beans. When I prepare them at home, they require a 24 hour soaking which turns the water a purple-blue color. I think it might make a neat dye, or even neater fermented beverage.

wayneb
10-15-2009, 11:49 PM
Medsen Fey, the photo you posted looks like a variety of sweet potato. Pen Patat is made with sweet potatoes too.

Wayneb, "Mead and potatoes" sounds cool! You think the pigments will come out in solution?

I'm hoping so. That's why I plan to first microwave them (to gelatinize and hydrate the starches with steam from inside the potatoes) and then to treat them with Rapidase enzymes (which consists of a combo of pectinases and anthocyannin extracting enzymes). That should maximize the potential for color extraction - if I get any real extraction, I'll let you know.

BTW - this process also needs an amylase to support saccharification of the starches, and I'll either use commercial alpha amylase or some diastatic malt to augment the diastatic activity from some of the honey, which will provide the enzymes necessary for the starch to sugar conversion.

wildoates
10-15-2009, 11:55 PM
My local grocery not infrequently has those purple potatoes--I'll check next time I'm there!

wayneb
10-16-2009, 01:10 AM
Thanks, Jenn! If they are truly purple peruvians (which are dark purple all the way through, not just near the skin), then I want some!! ;D

Corcis
10-16-2009, 11:31 AM
Sooo....EvergreenMan, ever pitch the yeast?

Angelic Alchemist
10-16-2009, 11:37 AM
I'm hoping so. That's why I plan to first microwave them (to gelatinize and hydrate the starches with steam from inside the potatoes)

(cringe!) Okay, call me old school, but ayurvedic medicine (Indian holistic/herbal medicine) suggests microwaves destroy the healing properties of foods...not to mention, the flavor.

Finally, an area where I know stuff on this board.

Oh, wait, yes. We were talking about salt in E-Green's must. What DID happen to that, friend?

Oskaar
10-16-2009, 12:25 PM
(cringe!) Okay, call me old school, but ayurvedic medicine (Indian holistic/herbal medicine) suggests microwaves destroy the healing properties of foods...not to mention, the flavor.

Finally, an area where I know stuff on this board.

Oh, wait, yes. We were talking about salt in E-Green's must. What DID happen to that, friend?


I don't buy into the destruction of healing properties of foods, or flavor for that matter when cooking with a microwave. I use microwave cooking quite a bit, and like any other method of cooking it can be done correctly or incorrectly. Incorrectly yields overcooked, tough, dry flavorless foods. Correct usage is a whole other ballgame. The way I've witnessed most people using microwaves was like watching someone use a flamethrower to roast a marshmallow.

As with an electric or gas range, oven, wood fire, embers or any other heat ambient method of cooking, microwaves are about the proper application of heat in the proper dosage. Most people just put their food into the microwave, set the time and press start without bothering to use a temperature probe, adjust the power level, or use cookware designed specifically for what they are making. I think that the healing properties of food can be boiled, fried, barbecued, roasted or toasted away just as easily as they may be microwaved away.

I'm splitting this topic off because we've wandered way off the original poster's topic.

Cheers,

Oskaar

wildoates
10-16-2009, 01:02 PM
/sorry!

But heat in food is heat, however it's "created." All heat is is using some form of energy to speed up molecules, and the molecules themselves don't know or care what kind of energy gets them going.

Shanecb
10-16-2009, 01:10 PM
Most people I've talked to have said that the problem they have with microwaves, and the reason they see them as dangerous, is by the method in which they cook food. "There's no heating going on like with normal cooking, your just hitting it with radiation and cooking it from the inside out."

Well... yes... but no. Microwave ovens cook by using what I think is termed "dielectric heating". Essentially the molecules align themselves in one field, then another, then another, etc. This bumping and moving around causes things to heat up, which is generating heat that isn't different than say, over a fire, it's just a different process. It's semi analogous to various brain imaging techniques, where atoms are aligned in various fields. My point is, microwave ovens are using a different technique to heat food than "conventional cooking", but the end result isn't going to be different. Microwave ovens are scientifically awesome in my opinion.


Anyway, purple potatoes sound very interesting. I've never seen them before. I'll have to check the local market and see if I can locate some!

AToE
10-16-2009, 01:14 PM
Cooking in general damages the nutritional value of most vegitables, but not all. Some like nuts actually become more nutritious when cooked. As for whether a microwave does any additional damage above and beyond the damage done by the actual heat - I'd personally doubt it unless the food is being microwaved in a plastic container (not so safe) - but I wouldn't totally rule it out.

That's high frequency radiation the food is being bombarded with, and we know what that does to living organisms, though obviously the same effects wouldn't have time to manifest in a potatoe.:)

I'm not personally aware of any studies that really look at what gets jumbled around, smashed and recombined at a molecular level comparing the difference between cooking with low frequency radiation/reg heat and high frequency. So, until I hear otherwise from a reputable source, I personally wouldn't rule out that microwaves are doing extra damage. I could be totally in the dark though, maybe this has been gone over with a fine toothed comb and they have found no measurable differences.

That said, I don't even own a microwave, I think they encourage people to eat junk and don't accomplish anything I can't do on a stove top, oven or toaster oven.

Kee
10-16-2009, 01:38 PM
Part of the thing about the ayurvedic medicine/Indian/holistic issue with microwaves is not just nutritional. Its also that it only provides dead energy, at least that's my understanding.

I don't want to hijack (or re-hijack) this into a debate about microwaving, though. I am really interested in purple potatos. So if you make this into an alcohol, wouldn't it fall more into a vodka? Or would it need to be distilled to be called vodka?

STLBrewer
10-16-2009, 02:03 PM
Kee, now you are speaking MY language...alcohol!! :)

So, in theory if these Purple Peruvian Potatoes were fermented in the manner that a vodka would be...would the resulting "vodka" be purple too? That could be one heck of a marketing strategy!!!

Kee
10-16-2009, 02:12 PM
I'm not sure. I thought vodka's were made from potatos but I also am under the impression that they're distilled. I would think that the distillation process would strip the color.

STLBrewer
10-16-2009, 02:13 PM
I'm not sure. I thought vodka's were made from potatos but I also am under the impression that they're distilled. I would think that the distillation process would strip the color.

Yeah, I fear that may be the case too...shame if it does, but REALLY cool if it doesn't!! ;D

Kee
10-16-2009, 02:16 PM
I agree. I know a lot of people that would pay extra for purple vodka!

Shanecb
10-16-2009, 02:28 PM
Part of the thing about the ayurvedic medicine/Indian/holistic issue with microwaves is not just nutritional. Its also that it only provides dead energy, at least that's my understanding.

I don't want to hijack (or re-hijack) this into a debate about microwaving, though. I am really interested in purple potatos. So if you make this into an alcohol, wouldn't it fall more into a vodka? Or would it need to be distilled to be called vodka?

Yeah it would have to be distilled to be called vodka. I have no idea if the purple color would stay. That would probably depend on the volatility of whatever chemical is purple. Purple vodka would be pretty interesting to see!

Gardenmead
10-16-2009, 03:29 PM
(I love how this thread has mutated)

I actually have had vodka from purple sweet potatoes but there was no color in it. That is why they had to make a big deal at this restaurant about it, explaining it to customers because you couldn't distinguish it otherwise...

Wayneb's recipe includes honey though so it is still a mead ( the basic recipe is posted on the original thread)


I'll either use commercial alpha amylase or some diastatic malt to augment the diastatic activity from some of the honey, which will provide the enzymes necessary for the starch to sugar conversion.

I didn't know you could buy alpha amylase? Is it just concentrated, highly enzymatic wort? Or what.. That could be useful

akueck
10-16-2009, 03:44 PM
I bought it as a powder, sometimes it comes in liquid form. The Convertase I bought is liquid, but that is slightly different from what you'll normally see labeled "amylase". As far as I know, it is a purified extract which very often comes from fungus, so it's sort of like penicillin in how it gets to you (minus the doctor).

Gardenmead
10-16-2009, 03:49 PM
As far as I know, it is a purified extract which very often comes from fungus
Ohhhh. Ok, so it is derived from fungi like those used to convert starches in the brewing of sake? That makes more sense

wayneb
10-16-2009, 04:38 PM
Geeze - I leave the forum for a couple of hours and LOOK at what happens! ;D

Oskaar, thanks for splitting this off. It is a great discussion, although clearly not related to salty mead!

I do plan on trying to preserve as much of the color from those potatoes as possible in my resulting mead, so I will not be distilling. BTW - I found a cool book excerpt online that talks about starch to sugar conversion in potatoes, and how best to ferment those sugars so as not to introduce off flavors. Apparently when you ferment whole potatoes (leaving in the residual plant "gunk" along with the extracted potato must) you get lots of yucky tasting stuff along with the ethanol - may be products from the inner skin layer of the potatoes, which are known to be sources of potentially toxic (in high enough concentration) alkaloids. That may be why potato vodkas were traditionally the first ones to rely on multiple passes through a still. Hmmm.

BTW, the copyright on that original book was 1908. Some of this information has been around for a while! :rolleyes:

wayneb
10-16-2009, 04:41 PM
Ohhhh. Ok, so it is derived from fungi like those used to convert starches in the brewing of sake? That makes more sense

Yup - and there are hundreds of species of fungi that produce the enzymes necessary for this conversion. It is part of why they make such good bio-recyclers! But the genus of fungus most often used to produce commercial amylases is called aspergillus. (Possibly useful information for your next Trivial Pursuit endeavor!)

Kee
10-16-2009, 05:52 PM
Does anyone have a good reference for fermenting with just potatoes, such as a good basics book? I'm missing a lot of what's being said, but I this was one my very long term to do list. The learning curve just gets steeper and steeper as I find out more and more things I want to learn/ didn't know I didn't know.

Angelic Alchemist
10-16-2009, 05:54 PM
Well... yes... but no. Microwave ovens cook by using what I think is termed "dielectric heating". Essentially the molecules align themselves in one field, then another, then another, etc. This bumping and moving around causes things to heat up, which is generating heat that isn't different than say, over a fire, it's just a different process. It's semi analogous to various brain imaging techniques, where atoms are aligned in various fields. My point is, microwave ovens are using a different technique to heat food than "conventional cooking", but the end result isn't going to be different. Microwave ovens are scientifically awesome in my opinion.


Pretty much, yes. The heat from "microscopic waves" is generated through molecular vibration (flipping back and forth at super-high speed), which can easily tear apart molecules that are held together via hydrogen bonding, and to a lesser extent, covelant bonds. As the result, certain trace nutritional elements are lost from the food and copious amounts of free radicals are formed, which can damage tissue and interupt metabolic pathways.

I realize it's not a proven science since there is no money in nutritional health promotion, and that people don't want to give up their conveneince, but to tie this back into the subject, I feel that using raw foods or macrothermal heat sources in food preparation yields a better finished product, though the difference may be subtle to some.

Just my 2 cents. Agreeing with me is not a requirement. ;)

Shanecb
10-16-2009, 08:21 PM
Pretty much, yes. The heat from "microscopic waves" is generated through molecular vibration (flipping back and forth at super-high speed), which can easily tear apart molecules that are held together via hydrogen bonding, and to a lesser extent, covelant bonds. As the result, certain trace nutritional elements are lost from the food and copious amounts of free radicals are formed, which can damage tissue and interupt metabolic pathways.

I realize it's not a proven science since there is no money in nutritional health promotion, and that people don't want to give up their conveneince, but to tie this back into the subject, I feel that using raw foods or macrothermal heat sources in food preparation yields a better finished product, though the difference may be subtle to some.

Just my 2 cents. Agreeing with me is not a requirement. ;)
Fair enough. What we would really need to find on the subject is some hard data, as you said. Until then we can agree to disagree :) I still think food cooked over an open fire tastes the best, but maybe that's just because the whole experience of cooking over an open fire I enjoy!

Angelic Alchemist
10-16-2009, 08:27 PM
I still think food cooked over an open fire tastes the best, but maybe that's just because the whole experience of cooking over an open fire I enjoy!

Now THAT's something I agree with 100%!

On a side note, some foods are made more bioavailable through fermentation. One famous example is soy (miso, tempeh, etc.)

Getting back to the subject, I'm sure the Russians would have argued that potatos are more bioavailable when fermented, too.

wayneb
10-16-2009, 08:36 PM
Now THAT's something I agree with 100%!

On a side note, some foods are made more bioavailable through fermentation. One famous example is soy (miso, tempeh, etc.)

Getting back to the subject, I'm sure the Russians would have argued that potatos are more bioavailable when fermented, too.

We ARE in complete agreement - we should cook foods in ways that make them taste best! ;D

But keep in mind that the cultures in central and south america had potato tubers to play with long before they were "exported" to old Europe. I wonder what interesting things they did with fermentation that have been lost to us because they didn't record them in a preservable manner? I find the niche subject of beverage archaeology intriguing ever since I read the papers about the Jiahu province (China) discovery a few years back, BTW. Fermenting potatoes is just one more way that I think we can get back to our alcoholic beverage roots. (Yeah - I know - another pun. In this case I'm not trying to start another pun thread. But if anyone is so inclined....)

akueck
10-16-2009, 11:56 PM
Fair enough. What we would really need to find on the subject is some hard data, as you said. Until then we can agree to disagree :) I still think food cooked over an open fire tastes the best, but maybe that's just because the whole experience of cooking over an open fire I enjoy!

Watch out, people now claim that food cooked with high heat (like fire) is full of carcinogens.

Cancer is so tasty!

Oskaar
10-17-2009, 12:31 AM
So now when my server asks how I want my Ribeye, instead of my usual response "Burnt and Bloody" I'll just say "Cancered"

I like it!

A.A. I understand what you're saying and I'm a strong believer in "to each their own" so we can agree to disagree. When there's supportive empirical scientific substance we can begin the debate anew.

And for the record, I prefer my meat cooked "burnt and bloody" on my barbeque over hardwood embers and fire!

Cheers,

Oskaar

wildaho
10-17-2009, 01:47 AM
So now when my server asks how I want my Ribeye, instead of my usual response "Burnt and Bloody" I'll just say "Cancered"

I like it!

A.A. I understand what you're saying and I'm a strong believer in "to each their own" so we can agree to disagree. When there's supportive empirical scientific substance we can begin the debate anew.

And for the record, I prefer my meat cooked "burnt and bloody" on my barbeque over hardwood embers and fire!

Cheers,

Oskaar

Nice pic Pete!

And I have to agree with the "to each his own" part.

Until there is empirical evidence, versus "feel good" or (god forbid) religious or other myths, I will go with what works for me. The stuff I've learned here has blown away many a myth. I kind of like my 1-2 week ferments for 16-20% meads that have have happened since I started following the advice here.

And on the charred meat thing: Yes, there are more carcinogens in smoke cured and charred meat. That has been proven. But what at what levels? I haven't seen a study yet that links BBQ'd meat to cancer; only that charring leads to things that "might" lead to cancer. So will the water you drink...

And Wayne, I'm still waiting to hear back from the Idaho Potato Commision (http://www.idahopotato.com/)on sources for the purple potatoes. Found a few recipes but no sources yet. I'm not giving up yet though.

:cheers:
Wade

Oskaar
10-17-2009, 05:16 AM
Oskaar <--- Oblivious . . . Party of One!

So all this purple potato talk has pretty much just whizzed past me as I'm careening down my own path concentration on my current batches and wine.

So, on purple potatoes . . . We get them here in SoCo pretty frequently through the course of the year. Being a guy who comes from a family of people who love potatoes I usually get about two or three of them and two or three Yukon Gold, clean them, cube them and then fry them up in olive oil to go with my eggs and murdered swine for breakfast!

The ones I get are purple like beets (more to the blue than red side of purple) all the way through from the skin to the center. They taste great with breakfast swine, eggs and coffee. So, that's my current exposure and acumen on purple potatoes.

Cheers,

Oskaar

wildaho
10-17-2009, 09:43 AM
The ones I get are purple like beets (more to the blue than red side of purple) all the way through from the skin to the center. They taste great with breakfast swine, eggs and coffee. So, that's my current exposure and acument on purple potatoes.

Definitely more on the indigo side than purple after heat is applied. Think new blue jeans with a hint of red but not so dark or intense.

wayneb
10-17-2009, 03:30 PM
Yup - Those are the Purple Peruvians!

Angelic Alchemist
10-19-2009, 12:28 PM
Watch out, people now claim that food cooked with high heat (like fire) is full of carcinogens.

Cancer is so tasty!

There's a common coenzyme in human cell division that's been consumed as an herbal health tonic for thousands of years by the Chinese. The coenzyme is found in astralagus root. (It assists the enzyme that maintains telomere length, for the uber-geek biologists out there.)

Because it is a coenzyme involved in cell division, the FDA has labeled it a carcinogen, hence it can't be used in modern medicine here in the USA.
(picks up hammer, hits head with it repeatedly.)

And people wonder why I dropped out of that stupid Cell and Molecular PhD program.

wayneb
10-19-2009, 01:02 PM
But it is readily available in "dietary supplements," that convenient loophole that allows us access to things that are not formal medicines, but are not overtly toxic, either. ;D

Angelic Alchemist
10-19-2009, 05:09 PM
But it is readily available in "dietary supplements," that convenient loophole that allows us access to things that are not formal medicines, but are not overtly toxic, either. ;D

Which in turn allows a loophole for quality control (or lack thereof) since said suppliments are not normally regulated by the FDA.

Any luck scoring those potatos?

wayneb
10-19-2009, 05:47 PM
Any luck scoring those potatos?

Not yet....

Angelic Alchemist
10-19-2009, 06:07 PM
So now when my server asks how I want my Ribeye, instead of my usual response "Burnt and Bloody" I'll just say "Cancered"

I like it!

A.A. I understand what you're saying and I'm a strong believer in "to each their own" so we can agree to disagree. When there's supportive empirical scientific substance we can begin the debate anew.

And for the record, I prefer my meat cooked "burnt and bloody" on my barbeque over hardwood embers and fire!

Cheers,

Oskaar

Ahhaha! Nothing like having a little hippie girl show up to the party to bring out the cowboy in all the gents! Though as a native Texan, I do need to brandish my finely tuned pit skills to this somewhat discerning audience. Just sayin', ain't no microwave gonna fix your steaks with pretty grill marks on 'em, ya'll.

Gardenmead
10-23-2009, 06:04 PM
Looks like the thread is coming full circle back to meat and potatoes, I mean: "Mead and Potatoes"

MagicNinja
10-25-2009, 05:16 PM
Vodka

Is neutral spirit, and can be made from anything that can be fermented to ETOH, and distilled. Its simply further "refined" and purified leaving little if any of the original character of the distilled spirit. Whisky, rum, brandy etc can all be further refined to make vodka.

As for potato vodka. Potatoes aren't often used in vodka production anymore, the only reason they every really were was because at some point potatoes were cheaper than grains, but also made lower quality spirits. Today most vodka is made from grains.

Distilling always yields clear liquid, coloring comes either from the aging process in charred oak barrels or just added coloring. So the purple color from those particular potatoes would not carry over.

wayneb
10-25-2009, 05:34 PM
Distilling always yields clear liquid, coloring comes either from the aging process in charred oak barrels or just added coloring. So the purple color from those particular potatoes would not carry over.

Quite true, but I'm not planning on distilling the recipe that I'll ferment (assuming I can find those potatoes, that is!)

Kee
10-26-2009, 02:07 AM
Thanks, MagicNinja!

wildoates
11-12-2009, 02:30 AM
Got these (http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=30913009&id=1213596565) at Costco, Wayne. They are fingerling potatoes, in a bag with white and red potatoes, and as you can see, they're purple through. From a Colorado company, no less!

Sasper
11-12-2009, 04:02 AM
Hey Wayne,

I don't know if you've considered growing them yourself or not but you can order seed potatoes online here
http://www.groworganic.com/item_FP806_Organic_Purple_Peruvian_Fingerli.html?w elcome=T&theses=6282015
I'm sure there's other suppliers as well out there! Good luck!

wayneb
11-12-2009, 11:25 AM
Got these (http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=30913009&id=1213596565) at Costco, Wayne. They are fingerling potatoes, in a bag with white and red potatoes, and as you can see, they're purple through. From a Colorado company, no less!

Your link's broken, Jenn, so I can't see what you're talking about, but our Costco (near the office here in suburban Denver) doesn't have anything other than the usual white russets, the yukon golds, and red potatoes as of two weeks ago. Our next Costco run will be this coming weekend, and I'll check out what they have at that time.

wayneb
11-12-2009, 11:27 AM
Hey Wayne,

I don't know if you've considered growing them yourself or not but you can order seed potatoes online here
http://www.groworganic.com/item_FP806_Organic_Purple_Peruvian_Fingerli.html?w elcome=T&theses=6282015
I'm sure there's other suppliers as well out there! Good luck!

Thanks for the source, Sasper, but we live on the side of a mountain (one could call it a cliff), so gardening, especially of root vegetables, is difficult. I can get some berry canes and bushes to grow up here amongst the pine trees, but the deer and elk usually get to the fruit before I can!

BrewinNColorado
05-01-2010, 11:29 AM
WayneB-

Were you able to find some of the purple potato's? I ask because I just came from my local farmers market where one of the stands had some. I didn't get the price/lb, but can always look into it more if you would like me too.

Hope all is well!

Michael

Angelic Alchemist
05-01-2010, 10:43 PM
I just saw these last week at whole foods again...thought about posting it, then said, "Nah" to myself. Guess they're in season? are potatos seasonal?

wayneb
05-02-2010, 11:12 AM
These are seasonal in the sense that they have to be imported from South America (not yet grown to any great extent in this country) and they are harvested just before the onset of the "hard winter." So, Michael, please PM me and let me know where you found them! I may have you pick them up for me (if you wouldn't mind) since I'm still spending much of my time in transit between here and Iowa for work.

And Angel, why not go for it? ;D

Chevette Girl
05-02-2010, 12:00 PM
Not sure if it's the same species, but I know a farmer near Ottawa who grows the purple ones where there's a bit of mottling to it if you slice them, usually they have purple edges and purple middle with a thin ring of white flesh just under the purple skin. They're a lovely flavour baked and do make a very interesting potato salad but completely lose their colour in a slow-cooker :) Never thought about fermenting them... until now...

wayneb
05-02-2010, 12:05 PM
The ones that I'm after are purple almost completely through, with a few whitish spots in the flesh here and there. They keep their color when baked (or high tech "steam-baked" in a microwave).