The Most Simple Way To Keep Your Potatoes From Turning Gray

Have you ever wondered why potatoes turn an unsightly grayish color when exposed to air? The very scientific reason has to do with a special enzyme that contributes to oxidation once the potato peel has been removed. Spuds aren't the only type of produce to fall victim to this bothersome natural phenomenon, as apples, bananas, and pears also become discolored once peeled.

While discolored potatoes taste the same and don't pose any health risks, they certainly aren't the most appetizing thing you've ever laid eyes on. And because people eat with their eyes first, graying potatoes may put off your dinner guests, especially those of the pickier variety. Fortunately, it's possible to keep potatoes looking bright and palatable even after they've been peeled. Even better, the solution to this age-old cooking conundrum is simpler than you can possibly imagine. All it takes is something virtually all home chefs have an abundant supply of in their kitchens.

For pretty potatoes, just add water

Air is the natural enemy of fine-looking potatoes, as it's integral to the oxidation process. Accordingly, preventing air exposure is the best way to avoid discolored spuds in your meals. One way to do so is by soaking potatoes in water, which prevents graying in two interesting ways. First, water serves as a physical barrier to air exposure. Second, water keeps the potatoes cool, which reduces the oxidation process even further.

To perform this handy trick, fill a large bowl with cold water and plop your potatoes into it. Let them sit in the cold water until you're ready to cook them. You can even leave them in their cold-water bath overnight, provided you refrigerate the bowl. If you plan on frying the spuds, take them out of the water and dry them with a paper towel to remove moisture. If you want to boil them, you can simply transfer the potatoes and water into a pot on your stovetop. While this neat trick couldn't get any simpler, it's not the only way to keep your potatoes looking their best.

Vitamin C to the rescue

Ascorbic acid is another name for vitamin C, which naturally occurs in fruits and vegetables like oranges, lemons, tomatoes, and peppers. Along with the many wonderful health benefits offered by vitamin C, it can also help prevent discoloration caused by oxidation. Vitamin C allows potatoes to strike the proper pH balance to limit the damage caused by air exposure. And in addition to preventing discoloration, vitamin C can also restore the look of your spuds after they have already turned gray.

To restore the look of your potatoes, take a bowl of cold water and add a single, crushed vitamin C tablet into it. Next, deposit the potatoes in the water and watch as they return to their former color. If you don't have access to vitamin C tablets, no worries. You can also use vinegar or lemon juice, which are acidic enough to have the intended effect. With these impressive culinary tips in your dinnertime arsenal, you'll never have to tangle with gray potatoes again.