TikTok Wants You to Boil Your Potatoes in the Bag—but Is It a Good Idea?

By Leah Goggins | FoodAndWine.Com

Troy Warren for CNT

“Is that why that bag is like that?!”

I am no stranger to emitting noises of shock and dismay while watching the Food Network. Whether it’s because the Chopped judges put mashed potato candy in the ingredient basket or because Ina Garten just taught me a brilliant entertaining tip, my jaw is constantly agape.

However, I have never experienced an epiphany quite like the one seen in a recent viral TikTok video. TikTok user @ThreePointTurner posted her reaction to an unorthodox potato cooking method from a December 2017 episode of Guy’s Grocery Games, a Food Network staple.

The video focuses on @ThreePointTurner’s television as a clip from Grocery Games plays on-screen. In the clip, the late Grocery Games champion and judge Carl Ruiz drops a full, unopened bag of Yukon gold potatoes into a pot of boiling water to cook, plastic label still intact. An alarmed off-camera voice asks, “Did he just put the whole bag in there?” When Ruiz pulls the full bag out of the water to begin slicing the potatoes, audience confusion only ratchets up a notch. Another off-camera voice exclaims, “You’re supposed to boil them in the bag?”

The answer to that question is, well, yes and no. While most plastics will not melt in boiling water, there’s still cause for concern. Putting a plastic bag into temperatures that high could result in chemicals leaching into the water you’re using. 

It’s unclear if the bag Ruiz uses was made of plastic or something like nylon, which can be boiled and is often used for bagging red potatoes in Low Country boils. It’s also not clear if the potatoes Ruiz plucked from the supermarket set were prewashed—you’ll probably want to wash your veggies before tossing them into the pot.

And if you’re anything like me, you’ll want to inspect your potatoes for gnarly eyes that you can remove before boiling. This handy peeler from OXO ($10, OXO) gets the job done every time with its eye-removing tool. Once your potatoes are in tip-top shape, then you can toss them into a safe-to-use nylon produce bag ($17 for 100, Amazon) for easy cleanup.

You can find brands that encourage boiling in the bag in some grocery stores—just remember to check the label carefully before taking advantage of this life hack.

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By Troy Warren

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