To Boil Potatoes

As in Ireland

20 minutes to 1 hour, or more.


Potatoes, to boil well together, should be all of the same sort, and as nearly equal in size as may be. Wash off the mould, and scrub them very clean with a hard brush, but neither scoop nor apply a knife to them in any way, even to clear the eyes. Rinse them well, and arrange them compactly in a saucepan, so that they may not lie loose in the water, and that a small quantity may suffice to cover them. Pour this in cold, and when it boils, throw in about a large teaspoonful of salt to the quart, and simmer the potatoes until they are nearly done, but for the last two or three minutes let them boil rapidly. When they are tender quite through, which may be known by probing them with a fork, pour all the water from them immediately, lift the lid of the saucepan to allow the steam to escape, and place them on a trivet, high over the fire, or by the side of it, until the moisture has entirely evaporated; then peel, and send them to table as quickly as possible, either in a hot napkin, or in a dish, of which the cover is so placed that the steam can pass off. There should be no delay in serving them after they are once taken from the fire. Irish families always prefer them served in their skins. Some kinds will be sufficiently boiled in twenty minutes, others is not less than three quarters of an hour.

Obs. 1.—The water in which they are boiled should barely cover the potatoes. After it is poured off, they should be steamed for twenty minutes or half an hour, if large.

Obs. 2.—Habitual potato-eaters know well that this vegetable is never so good as when served in the skin the instant it is taken from the fire, dished in a hot napkin, or sent to table without a cover over it. It should also be clean and dry that it may at pleasure be taken in the fingers and broken like bread, or held in the dinner napkin while the inside is scooped out with the fork, thus forming it into a sort of cup. The large Yorkshire Regents dressed and eaten in this way afford in themselves an almost sufficient meal. We have found from long daily experience, that those which averaged three, or at the utmost four to the pound, were the best in quality, and remained so to quite the end of their season: they required as the spring advanced, an hour’s boiling or more.

“Because,” in the words of our clever Irish correspondent, “the water through these parts is then admitted into the very heart of the vegetable; and the latent heat, after cooking, is not sufficient to throw it off: this renders the potatoes vary unwholesome.”