Potato Salad and Summer Go Together
TEXARKANA, Ark. –
When most people think of summertime, they think of picnics, and what better to have at a picnic than potato salad. Everyone has their own version of potato salad.
It is believed that Spanish explorers introduced potatoes to Europe from South America in the 1500s. By the 1800s, seasoned spuds were a staple, and waves of immigrants brought the dish here. Potato salad is widely believed to have originated in Germany.
Potato salad and food safety
Careful handling is required of potato salad since many of the ingredients lend themselves to potential spoilage and food borne pathogens that can lead to food borne illness. Always keep potato salad refrigerated, either in a refrigerator, on a bed of ice, or with freezer cold packs in an ice chest.
When picnicking, put your ice chest in the shade, and keep the lid closed as much as possible. If at all possible, avoid packing your ice chest in the trunk of a car, since the temperature can get extremely hot.
To assure the safety of your potato salad, it should be maintained at a temperature of between 32 and 40 degrees F. and not be left out of refrigeration for more than 2 hours if indoors. When temperatures are hot, or you are outside, such as at a picnic or reunion, it should not be left out of refrigeration more than 1 hour. Leaving potato salad out for more than 2 hours allows harmful bacteria that can cause food poisoning to grow quickly and rapidly multiply at warm temperatures.
The potato is the key to a successful potato salad.
It takes the right potato to get a quality salad. Just because you use the russet potato for baking does not make it the best choice for potato salad.
Choose a thin skinned boiling variety. These can be steamed, pressure-cooked, boiled, baked or grilled and will not fall apart when sliced, grated or cubed. Examples include the red potato (often called new potato), yellow Finn or Yukon gold.
When choosing potatoes for your salad, they should be uniform size, clean, firm and have a thin skin. Avoid those with wrinkled skins, soft dark spots and cut surfaces. A green tinge, indicative of prolonged light exposure, is caused by the alkaloid solanine, which can be toxic if eaten in quantity.
You’ve chosen your potato, now what?
Boiling the potato is the next step. You have to cook them to the right stage, but how do you know? When a potato can be easily cut with a fork, it is ready to be removed from the water.
Once potatoes are cooled and cubed, add your potato salad ingredients, such as salad dressing, mayonnaise, boiled eggs, and other vegetables you desire. Adding these ingredients early can break down their texture due to the heat. Once the potatoes have cooled and your salad is completed, refrigerate it for at least one hour before serving to allow the flavors to blend.
This Farmers Market Potato Salad has just the right texture of creaminess and crunch with its bites of bacon, celery and a touch of spicy onion. Everything except the bacon can be purchased at the Gateway Farmers Market, located at the corner of Broad and Jefferson, where they are picked one day and sold at the market the next.
Farmers Market Potato Salad
- 2 pounds clean, scrubbed new red potatoes, diced
- 6 eggs, boiled
- 6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 3 green onions, finely chopped
- 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
- 2 cups mayonnaise
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a large pot of boiling water, add potatoes (skin left on) and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes.
- Drain and set in refrigerator to cool.
- Peel and chop boiled eggs.
- To a large bowl, add potatoes, bacon, onion and celery; mix well.
- Lightly toss in eggs, mayonnaise, salt and pepper.
- Chill for 1 hour before serving to allow flavors to blend.
Tried and True Tip: Out of mayonnaise? Substitute 1 cup each sour cream and miracle whip for that same creamy texture.
Media Contact: Carla Haley-Hadley
County Extension Agent - FCS
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
400 Laurel Street, Suite 215 Texarkana AR 71854
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