What You Should Do If You Peeled Your Potatoes Too Early

In the vegetable kingdom, we dare say that the potato reigns supreme. After all, the highly versatile and delicious starchy tuber can be consumed in any consistency or shape you like. You can use it in main courses, side dishes, soups, salads, and a variety of tasty ways you never thought of before. And, of course, it's the heart and soul of mashed potatoes, one of America's beloved Thanksgiving side dishes.

While it can be expensive and challenging to meet the daily value of potassium (4,700 mg per day), one large baked potato alone can provide about 1,600 mg of potassium (via Healthline). This kitchen staple may be inexpensive, but it's packed with nutrients and antioxidants and can help improve blood sugar control and digestive health.

But before we enjoy this versatile veggie, most instances require us to peel them. Some of us complete this step hours to a day beforehand to save preparation time. However, the problem now is that peeled potatoes turn brown, gray, or even black due to a chemical reaction that exposes the vegetable's enzymes to oxygen (via HowStuffWorks). So, what do you do if you've peeled your potatoes to use the next day?

Soak peeled potatoes in water and refrigerate

You can peel and cut potatoes ahead of time, but it's important to store them properly so they don't get discolored. Although oxidized potatoes are safe to eat and there is no change in texture or flavor, the discoloration can make them unappetizing. After all, who wants brownish mashed potatoes?

The best way to prevent peeled potatoes from turning brown is to place them in a bowl of cold water (ensure they're fully submerged) and store them in the refrigerator. The water will act as a shield against the air and prevent the chemical reaction from happening. Although your potatoes will absorb some water if you leave them overnight, it won't make much difference in most dishes (via The Pioneer Woman). This hack works well with whole, peeled potatoes because they have a lower water absorption rate, according to the Idaho Potato Commission. However, it would be best to prepare smaller pieces — sliced, diced, or shredded — the same day because they can absorb water quickly and become super mushy.

Another way to stop peeled or sliced potatoes from turning brown is by applying vinegar or lemon juice to them. The acidic liquid can prevent oxidation and won't significantly change the taste. You can also try soaking your potatoes in salted water and refrigerating them, as the combination of water and salt can also stop oxidation (via MasterClass).