Local, Seasonal DIY Potato Starch, Because Why Not?

Ah, what is that disgusting grey sludge in the cute vintage sugar bowl, you may ask?

I celebrate Hanukkah with my children every year, hoping to keep them somehow connected to traditions that are about history and community, So every year I make latkes, fried potato cakes of shredded potatoes, generally, with onion and egg and S and P and a binder like matzo meal if possible, flour if not. (You could make them fancier of course.) Simple but a bit labour intensive, and yummy with sour cream, sauerkraut, and home-made applesauce.

(To my “blog followers”: this use of apples is another kind of apple-as-savoury on that list I am generatingūüôā )

You can never make enough latkes– people and yourself will always eat more.

There’s something every year I look forward to when I grate the potatoes: letting the shreds sit in a colander, to release the excess fluid, then letting that fluid sit so the starch settles into powdery starchiness. For years I wondered what it was, then I realised in its obviousness: Potato Starch. The liquid on top oxidizes and gets darker, and this year was especially black because the potatoes were so fresh, I didn’t peel them first. You pour it off. The fluid wants to escape to the top, and you keep pouring. Eventually you have powder dry enough to store.

I like this starch. From my latke making it forms ¬†maybe two inches in a jam jar and will be used as a sauce thickener in gravies and Chinese stir-fry sauces, in place of cornstarch (or corn flour, as it’s called in the UK). ¬†A by-product, therefore a little bit of a don’t-have-to-buy product, which is a good theme for Black Friday/Saturday. ¬†And, a minor self-sufficiency, home-steading skill!

If I ever had lots of green potatoes (inedible) I might try this starch making as a salvage- operation.  I wonder if any of the alkaloid toxins would remain?