You've Been Boiling Your Potatoes Wrong This Whole Time

Boiling potatoes is a common first step in making a number of potato-based dishes (mashed potatoes, potato salads, etc.) and requires just two ingredients: potatoes and water. However, as with anything cooking-related, there are a number of small steps you can take to ensure the best possible finished product.

The first important thing to do is to clean the skins of the potatoes. Rinsing them doesn't do quite enough. Since potatoes grow underground, they've often got all sorts of dirt and debris that stick to the skin, and the best way to get rid of it is with a clean stiff-bristled brush (via BHG).

Although some people go so far as to remove the skins of the potatoes, doing so actually lessens the nutritional impact. Potato skins contain about half of the protein content of the potato, as well as a third of the fiber, and a third of the vitamin content (via Growing Produce).

If your potatoes are a bit on the old side, they may have grown sprouts, colloquially known as "eyes." These can be removed with a knife or a potato peeler, though they don't pose any problem except for a potential aesthetic one. 

Steps to perfect boiled potatoes

Cutting your potatoes into pieces will significantly decrease the amount of time it takes to cook. While quartering them or cutting them into cubes is preferable, even halving them will save many minutes of watching them boil.

While most cooks are probably already following the first two steps, the third one is where some might have to change their habits. Boiled potatoes should start in cold water (via Tasting Table). If you drop potatoes straight into boiling water, the outside will cook quicker than the inside, resulting in an unevenly-boiled potato. Allowing them to heat up at the same time as the water ensures that they will be cooked evenly, and all the way through. You don't need a tub of water either, just enough to cover the top of the potatoes.

Cooking them for around 25 minutes and straining them in a colander are the final steps before the best possible version of boiled potatoes is finished.