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Salt Potatoes

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I was almost 20 before I realized that most of the world has no idea what a salt potato is. I was in college when a friend of mine from Rhode Island mentioned that he had never had salt potatoes. Apparently it’s a central New York thing. I was shocked. Never had a salt potato? Didn’t know what they were? I’ve since made it a mission to share the buttery delight of salt potatoes with the world.

Salt Potatoes - The best potatoes you'll ever eat
If you live in the central New York area (I’ve seen them in Syracuse and the Utica/Rome area but I’m sure the reach is greater than that) you can just buy a bag like this:

Bag-of-Salt-Potatoes

Depending on the store it’s $4-5 for a five pound bag. If you can get a bag like this I’m going to assume you know what salt potatoes are and you’re probably eating a bowl right now. If not, this is what you’d find inside one:

New Potatoes and Salt for Salt Potatoes

Small, white new potatoes and salt. The bag lists 4.5 pounds of potatoes and 12 oz of salt. We usually cook about half at a time for the two of us. They don’t keep on the shelf long though, the potatoes will sprout within a few weeks if you let them sit so you want to cook them quickly. Before you start clutching your pearls in distress over the amount of salt, you don’t actually end up eating much of it at all. The salt is what makes the potatoes so magical so don’t be stingy.

Ingredients:

  • White new potatoes, in the golf ball size range or a bit bigger scrubbed clean with DO NOT PEEL
  • Salt
  • Water
  • ButterSalt-Crusted-Potato

Instructions:

  1. Fill big pot with water, leave room for bubbling and potatoes.
  2. Add lots of salt, about one cup per 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil.
  3. Add potatoes and boil for 20 minutes or until you can easily stab with a fork.
  4. Strain
  5. Serve hot with lots of butter

The Magic of Salt Potatoes

Why are these tiny limps of heaven so good? The key is the salt. It raises the boiling temperature of the water so the potatoes cook more completely breaking down more starch than with other methods.  And it forms a protective barrier around the potatoes so they don’t get waterlogged. The result is the creamiest potato you’ve ever eaten.

Salt potatoes are historically from the salt mines of Syracuse, NY. In the 1800’s the workers used to bring bags of potatoes to work and cook them in the salty brine. They obviously had a good thing going and the practice of eating small potatoes boiled in super salty water caught on. Around here you’d be hard pressed to find any summer gathering without a giant bowl of them.

Comments

  1. This is so funny, my sister and I were just talking about this yesterday! I am from NY but now live in North Carolina and they don’t have salt potatoes here. I am going to have to make some!

  2. Cindi Thomas says:

    Having lived in Missouri most of my life, I too have never heard of salt potatoes !! I plan on trying this soon. Thanks for the idea, they sound yummy…who doesn’t love potatoes anyway!!

  3. Being a southern country girl from North Carolina, I thought I knew every way to cook a potato….But…alas, I’ve never heard of sal potatoes nor seen a bag like that in stores..(I live in Florida now)….
    Thanks for sharing, I can’t wait to go to local produce market to get some new small potatoes and make these…….I love me some potatoes…
    Brenda

  4. This was a new one to me! Eager to try it out.
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  5. What? I can’t believe I haven’t heard of this method either and I thought I was a potato queen. Can’t wait to try this out!
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  6. Found on Pinterest. Thanks for this post. Quite a few years ago, while on vacation in the Utica, NY area, I had salted baby potatoes at a restaurant. They were SOOO delicious! I’ve never found them anywhere since but I’ve never forgotten them. Every time I see bags of little potatoes in the grocery store, I wish I knew how to make these. Next shopping trip I’m definitely buying a bag. I’m glad it’s as easy as boiling in heavily salted water. I can’t wait.
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  7. I have never heard of this before! But it sure does sound good. Will have to make these soon.
    Chastity recently posted…#AD DIY HUMAN TORCHMy Profile

  8. I didn’t know salt had this effect on potatoes. Gotta try it!

  9. ok you had me, I am 44 and had no idea what a salt potato was. My husband is from upstate NY and has never mentioned them either, although his mom was not much of a cook.
    maria @closeothome recently posted…Tides Inn Resort Couples GetawayMy Profile

  10. I recently heard someone talking about these, but I’ve never heard of them before either! I love potatoes so I’m sure I’d be a fan!
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  11. I love post with cooking tips, since i don’t like to cook . These type of post motivated me and I have to say I love potato!
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  12. I have never heard of nor have I ever (obviously) had these. It looks as if it would be simple enough to make with just regular small white potatoes not in a special bag. I must try them soon. I LOVE creamy potatoes.
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  13. I’ve never heard of salt potatoes before – I bet you can make some great things w/ these!
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