The Trick That Will Keep Your Potatoes From Turning Brown

When it comes to kitchen staples, it's pretty hard to have too many potatoes on hand. These starchy tubers are delicious in an almost mind-boggling variety of dishes, from classic French fries, to creamy mashed potatoes, to gratin. Whether they're accompanying a protein such as roast chicken, playing a starring role in potato soup, or even finding their way into baked goods, potatoes are a pantry must-have, as far as we're concerned.

Potatoes are pretty darn easy to work with, but they do have their caveats. Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of preparing potatoes is how easily — and quickly — they turn brown once cut. According to Reader's Digest, this process is called oxidation, and it refers to how, as a result of their high starch content, potatoes discolor when their cut surfaces are exposed to air. Although oxidation does not affect the taste or texture of potatoes, it can certainly make your cooked potato dishes less visually appealing. 

Luckily, there's an easy way to prevent the discoloration.

Submerge those spuds in cold water

According to Reader's Digest, it's really pretty simple to keep your cut potatoes from turning brown — and all you need is some cold water. To stop potatoes from oxidizing, pile sliced, shredded, cubed, or peeled potatoes in a large bowl or container and cover them with cold water. Since the potatoes will be coming into contact with water, not air, the rate at which they oxidize will really slow down. As noted by Southern Living, the soaked potatoes can be stored in the fridge for up to a day before proceeding with your recipe.

If you want to keep those potatoes an even brighter shade of white, add something acidic to the soaking water. According to Reader's Digest, lowering the pH of the potato will help ward off oxidation even more. To do so, add one teaspoon of white vinegar or lemon juice for every half gallon of water, and you'll be sure to feature the freshest-looking spuds in your favorite recipes.