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Potatoes - How to Cook

  How to Choose Eggs 
  To Tell Good Eggs and Keeping Eggs Fresh

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From: Facts For Farmers: Also for The Family Circle. A Compost of Rich Materials For All Land-owners, about Domestic Animals and Domestic Economy; Farm Buildings; Gardens, Orchards, and Vineyards; and all Farm Crops, Tools, Fences, Fertilization, Draining, and Irrigation - edited by Solon Robinson - 1865

383. Changes produced in Cooking Vegetables.–Many vegetables, for instance the potato, in a raw state, are wholly unfit for food. Every housekeeper knows that cooking renders them palatable and wholesome, but every one does not know how they are affected by heat, nor why one mode of cooking makes them acceptable to the taste, while they may be nearly spoiled by a different application of heat. Hence it is not always applied in the right manner to produce the best effect.
   It is often said of potatoes, "they were spoiled in the cooking." Look at the reason. A pound of potatoes contains on an average about three quarters of a pound of water and two to two and a half ounces of starch. It also contains about one fourth as much sugar and gum as it does starch, and about one sixth as much woody fiber.
   If a good, sound potato is plunged whole into boiling water and kept boiling until softened throughout to such a degree that i could be readily mashed, the starch-grains burst and absorb the water, so that the mass appears more like meal than like starch boiled in water, and is then in a condition to afford its nutritious properties readily to the system. If potatoes are naturally bad, cooking will not make them good, but bad cooking will make the best potatoes quite unfit for human food. If they are put into cold water and simmered slowly till soft, they will generally become so waxy that they are quite indigestible.
   If potatoes are roasted or baked, they should be put into a hot oven or buried in hot embers, and kept hot until taken out, which should be as soon as sufficiently cooked–otherwise a new change takes place, the water begins to evaporate, and the outside burns, while the interior soon becomes worthless.
   In frying potatoes, the starch and fibrin are often turned to charcoal, which is just as nutritious and digestible as charcoal made of wood. As it is with potatoes, so it is with many other vegetables–they may be spoiled by improper cooking. As a general rule, put all into boiling water and keep it boiling briskly till the articles are sufficiently cooked. Never attempt to cook green vegetables in what is termed hard water; it will sometime render green peas wholly unfit for food. The difficulty is often remedied by putting a little lump of potash, saleratus*, or soda in the water. If too much is used, it causes the vegetables to fall to pieces. 

*Sodium or potassium bicarbonate used as a leavening agent; baking soda