EXPERIMENT

Since it’s the holidays, I have time to try out new things. I had a few leftover potatoes from a chicken recipe I tried. It turned out pretty well. Anyways, I wasn’t sure what to do with the potatoes, so I thought of some of my favourite potato things. One of them is hash browns, something I frequently get when I go to breakfast places.

I didn’t know how to make hash browns, so I looked up some recipes. Some common things I saw in these recipes is that the potatoes need to be shredded using a cheese grater, something I already have. Another thing was that the secret to crispy hash browns is to wash out a lot of the starch in the potatoes and to remove as much water from the shredded potatoes before frying.

Each of the steps in making hash browns was pretty easy. It was kinda fun shredding the potatoes and before long, I had a huge pile of shredded spuds. Washing out the starch was a bit tedious but it didn’t take that long. The biggest pain was trying to remove as much water from the now very wet pile of shredded potatoes. I had to divide the pile into two, each of which went onto a cutting board in a thin layer. I then used paper towels to press and blot out as much water as I could. This was a hassle because a lot of the shreds would stick to the paper towel, so I had to pick them off every time I pressed a towel against the potatoes.

I did this a number of times before the paper towels seemed to not pick up as much water and as my patience ran out. I then heated up a large non-stick pan and added some olive oil. Once the oil got hot enough, I arranged the potatoes in a thin layer in the pan and fried them on each side for a few minutes until they were relatively brown. I had enough potatoes to do this in two batches.

The first batch was slightly undercooked and wasn’t nearly crispy enough. The second batch was better, I made sure to cook them longer. I also used a spatula to apply pressure all across the layer of potatoes to really make sure the heat was being applied everywhere. Like I mentioned, it was better, but nothing approaching the hash browns I usually eat at Denny’s or my local breakfast joint.

If I had to do it again, I’d dry out the potatoes much more. After blotting out the shreds, I’d probably put them in the fridge for a few hours, possibly up to half a day. Things seem to dry out in the fridge, so this would have made the hash browns more crispy. I also would use less oil. I would consider greasing up the pan with butter instead.

Now the question is, would I try to make them again? Maybe but as easy as the steps were, it was a lot of manual labour to make it. It was almost an hour from the start to when I was ready to start frying. If I had bought frozen shredded hash browns, I would have saved myself an hour of labour. Are my homemade hash browns going to be that much better? I don’t think they would be.

Well, at least I got to try it myself for once.

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