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Why Are My Potatoes Turning Pink After Boiling?

Q:

Dr. Potato, a chef contacted our distribution center today complaining about his potatoes turning an odd, pinkish color after boiling for a recipe. What could this be and what can be done about it?

A:

It’s always important to remind ourselves that potatoes are a living organism and subject to multiple possible issues, depending on variety, growing conditions, source, temperature, handling, storage, and much more

Discoloration is often a result of potatoes that have been stored too cold (below 41F) for too long – which can range from one to several days and can occur at packing, transit or storage points. This can result in the starches within the potatoes converting to sugar, making for an overly-sweet potato. This can affect the cooking performance, including some sort of discoloration (dark exterior of fries-while interior is undercooked, or in other preparations that result in darkening or other off-discoloration, for example).

If potatoes test for high sugar at receiving point they can be set aside at room/ambient temperature to recondition for later use (see attachment for details).

Proper storage and testing is important at any point of the crop cycle (new potatoes at harvest, or during long-term storage in the subsequent months) but it is especially applicable during the late summer-early fall transition from old crop to new crop (see other attachments). Typically, any adverse performance are usually isolated and fade as we near October and the potatoes settle into their dormancy state.

Learn More About How to Test Idaho® Potato Sugar Content Here