I am hosting a youth Halloween party and I want to do a "Mr. Potato Head" project with 20-30 next week. I need to know: 1) If I bake the potatoes ahead of time, then put them into the refrigerator, how long can they stay out at room temperature while the kids decorate them? 2) Then what is the best way to reheat them so the kids can eat them?A:
My advice would be to use raw potatoes for the Mr. Potato Head decorating project and then discard these after the event is over. I don’t think you want to have the various parts or pins pushed into the potatoes and then removed for baking later as where they are poked and exposed to air they insides will turn dark. From a food safety standpoint… also think about little hands that may not be washed thoroughly or potatoes that have been sneezed on placed back together to re-heat in an oven. I’d get a fifty-pound case of 70 count potatoes from a produce house, foodservice distributor in the area or make arrangements with a retail grocery store produce manager to buy a case of their loose potatoes (less than $20 a carton probably right now) and go ahead and bake off half and save the rest for the decorating. Place the individual potatoes on sheet pans without wrapping in foil and bake in a pre-heated oven set to 400 ° F for about one hour or till the internal temp of the potato is a minimum of 185° inside the center (I use a meat thermometer to check it) and fully baked at 210°F.