Summer 2017 Potato Hack…Can You Boil Water?

Tomorrow we start the potato hack, that means today is boiling day!


Your life next week will be immensely easier if you boil about 10-12 pounds (precooked weight) of potatoes today.

Use the biggest pot you have, fill it 1/2-2/3s full of water and place it on a burner on “high.” While the water is heating, clean your potatoes under running water and remove any bad spots with a small knife.  You can peel the potatoes if you like, but no need. A bit of salt in the water is sometimes recommended, but I don’t know why.

After you’ve boiled and cooled your potatoes, store them in the fridge in a ziplock bag or other container until you are ready to use them. You can eat them cold for snacks or reheat for meals.

Here’s the hard part: Knowing when they’re done.

Cooking time depends on variety, size, and age of the potatoes. I like to cut large potatoes into quarters before boiling, but leave small potatoes whole. All of the potatoes in your pot should be about the same size to ensure they all get cooked the way you want.

Stone in the Middle

Here’s a trick from Ireland circa 1800. Don’t cook your potatoes until they are soft all the way through, but stop cooking when the center is still almost raw. This makes the center very firm with “a stone in the middle.” This “stone” will be rich in resistant starch and triple the fiber content of the potatoes.


A good trick is to periodically poke the boiling potatoes with a sharp knife. When you can stick the knife in easily about 1/2″, remove them from the heat and cool them off with cold water in the sink. I like to cool my potatoes as rapidly as possible, otherwise they will steam themselves while resting.

Something my Mom taught me…

When you are cutting up potatoes to cook, it helps if you place the sliced pieces in a bowl of cold water. This prevents them from turning gray/brown, a process known as oxidation. Mom always let me sneak a couple slices of raw potato to eat while she was cooking. Could it be that she knew all about the benefits of resistant starch clear back in the ’70’s? Or was she just tired of my constant begging for food? Anyway…eat some raw potato any time you have the chance. There is no better source of resistant starch on the planet.




13 Comments on “Summer 2017 Potato Hack…Can You Boil Water?”

  1. Srinath August 13, 2017 at 9:34 am #

    I had a few questions about resistant starch in potatoes. I’ve done plenty of these myself and have some cooking and eating and general feel experience.
    Does cooking and cooling them several times increase the RS3. I feel it does. Because they disappear into my stomach, leaving me almost like I haven’t eaten in under 1 hr. More interestingly I get bloated and gassy the next 6-10 hrs and after all the gas is out, I actually seem to not hit the restroom or atleast not go much when I do.
    Then do instant mashed potatoes have RS – and can they be cooked to have RS. I feel like they do, but not experimented enough to be sure.
    Then Can we get RS5 from them by cooking them in oil – I feel yes, because – well I get the same light feel after eating them that way.
    And RS5 from rice – well repeated cooking and cooling of rice makes RS3 as well ??? again from my feel – last night I had a huge meal with 8X cooked and cooled rice and was farting all morning – and now I just feel “deflated” and light.


    • Tim Steele August 13, 2017 at 11:01 am #

      Those are some good questions. Instant mashed potatoes probably have some RS3, but reheating them by rehydrating in hot water probably destroys the RS3 that was formed. RS3 only remains stable under dry heating methods, ie. baked, fried.

      And, yes, frying potatoes in oil, especially with lots of surface area like hash browns and French fries, will create RS5. But then it’s a balance of getting some RS but not too much cooking oil. I love hash browns made in bacon grease, coconut oil, or butter…but not during a Potato Hack week!

      When you are doing the Potato Hack diet, you need not worry at all about RS. Just eat the potatoes any way you like, and you will get more RS and fiber than you normally get–by a lot!


  2. Jason August 13, 2017 at 10:49 am #

    How about steamed? Have you steamed them Tim?


    • Tim Steele August 13, 2017 at 10:54 am #

      I love them steamed, but don’t own a good steamer (yet). Steamed is perfect. You can also cook them in a crockpot, but it takes a long time. Or even just microwaving or baking ahead of time.


      • Christine August 13, 2017 at 11:22 am #

        Try the Instant Pot. I put the potatoes in (skin on) and put two or three purple carrots on top. Pressure cook them for 10 minutes*, do a quick release and I’m done!

        * keep forgetting the pot while surfing the internet, so the timer beep of the Instant Pot saves me, al-ways 😉


  3. Craig August 13, 2017 at 6:03 pm #

    How about microwaving them?


  4. Frank August 17, 2017 at 4:06 am #

    Hi Tim, can the potatoes be cooled simply at room temperature or do they have to chill in the fridge? I always cook them early in the morning and I just let them rest on the kitchen counter.

    Also, is there an “optimal” method to reheat them to avoid damaging the RS content, or even increase it?



    • Tim Steele August 17, 2017 at 6:55 am #

      8 hours at room temp will probably result in half the RS3 potency as if they had been allowed to cool down to 40degF for 12 hours in the fridge. I remember a study that showed nearly 90% of RS3 formation from potatoes occurs after 12 hours at 40deg. Further chilling and storage, even down to -20, did not generate much more RS. But rest assured that if your method is the easiest for you, you still get some benefits of RS3.

      The best way to reheat cooled potatoes (or rice/beans/grains) is through gentle dry heat, as in warming in a pan on a burner without water added. Rice lends itself perfectly to this as “stir-fry,” Potatoes and other starches can be sauteed as well. When not on the hack, you can use a bit of oil to rewarm, crisp-up the cooled starches, and this creates even more RS as the oils bind with the starches.


  5. Bobby B January 5, 2019 at 8:23 am #

    What’s the best way to reheat pasta to retain (or increase) the RS content?


    • Tim Steele January 5, 2019 at 8:24 am #

      Stir-fry in a hot pan with a bit of olive or coconut oil.


      • Wilbur January 6, 2019 at 7:21 am #

        Plus it is incredibly tasty! Use your best extra-virgin olive oil, and don’t get the heat too high. Let it go a while so it gets a bit crispy. Think about pairing with a nice fatty wild salmon. Or top with grated Parmesan.


        • Tim Steele January 6, 2019 at 9:18 pm #

          Ha, yes! I’ve done this for 40 years. We make spaghetti one night, then have the leftovers as “fried spaghetti” a couple nights later. Low-carbers don’t know what they’re missing.


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