Potato starch and potato flour are two value added potato products that bring in valuable returns to food processors. And, a smart farmer trying to diversify knows that the global consumption of potato as food is shifting from fresh potatoes to added-value, processed food products.
The difference between potato flour and potato starch
Potato starch is very similar to the typical starch. It looks like a light powder and when tasted, it has a bland flavor. It is used merely as a thickening agent and is perfect for sauces and gravy.
On the other hand, potato flour has a more prominent potato flavor. This is primarily because potatoes are not peeled before processing. It is also known to absorb more water. Aside from that it is also heavier and seems to have more density or thick texture. Because of the flavor that potato flour has, it is often used as primary ingredient for baking. It is more appropriate for making dough because of its density.
Making potato starch
Pharmaceutical, wood, textile, and paper industries widely use potato starch as an adhesive, texture agent, binder and filler, and by oil drilling firms to wash boreholes. Potato starch is a 100% biodegradable substitute for polystyrene and other plastics and used, for example, in disposable plates, dishes, and knives. Here’s a guideline aimed at giving you a basic idea of the potato starch processing:
- Clean, peel and grate potatoes.
- Then cover the potatoes with warm water (the water should just be enough to cover the potatoes).
- Squeeze and strain the potatoes, reserving the water.
- Repeat the watering and straining process until the water runs clear.
- Save the strained water. As time goes on, the water will start to turn clear-ish again and the starch will settle at the bottom of the bowl. Avoid stirring and take the excess water out.
- Dry your wet starch on a baking tray or use a dehydrator. Line the dehydrator with the “fruit roll up” tray so that you don’t lose the starch.
- Once dried, break the dried starch up and grind it into a powder. Store the potato starch in jar tightly sealed in a cool, dry place. The potato starch should last up to six months
Potato peel and other “zero value” wastes from potato processing are still rich in starch that can be liquefied and fermented to produce fuel-grade ethanol. But, this is not what we’ll get into today.
Making potato flour
Another processed product, potato flour resembles wheat flour in texture and feel. It can be white or off-white in color. About 500 g of potatoes can give you roughly 2.8 cups of flour. This is a rough estimate because potatoes vary in size.
- Wash and chop your potatoes. (You can peel if you want a whiter color)
- Boil the potato chunks until tender then mash.
- This next process is the most crucial part of making the flour. You will need a dehydrator for this step. If you don’t have one, I recommend investing in one. Dehydrators serve so many purposes, and they pay for themselves many times over.
- Once your potato mash is fully dehydrated, break pieces off and put them in a high powered blender.
If processing is too tedious for you, look at creating feed for other farmers. You can feed cattle up to 20 kg of raw potatoes a day, while pigs fatten quickly on a daily diet of 6 kg of boiled potatoes. Chopped up and added to silage, the tubers cook in the heat of fermentation.