Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Hash Brown’s – An Investigation

Based upon I-don’t-know-what, my potato definitions have always been:

Fried potatoes – Sliced or diced raw potatoes fried in fat.

Home fries – Pre-cooked potatoes, sliced or diced and fried in fat.

Hash browns – shredded raw or pre-cooked potatoes fried in fat and butter.

So when Ore Ida began selling diced potatoes labeled hash browns I was naturally incensed.  However, according to the ever reliable source Wikipedia – “Hash browns or hashed browns are a simple potato preparation in which potato pieces are pan-fried after being shredded, julienned, diced, or riced. In some cultures, hash browns or hashed browns can refer to any of these preparations, while in others it may refer to one specific preparation.” 

Now that I know the reality of the situation, I’m sticking with my original definitions and the rest of the world will just have to adapt J.

My investigation is trying to answer two questions:

1.    Can I make crispy, golden hash browns like I got at Hoot’s on Marco Island.
2.    Is there a difference between frozen Ore Ida and homemade hash browns.

I’d been planning this test for several months and finally remembered to boil extra potatoes when I was cooking some for the patty melt meal – I got them a little over-done, however.  After cooling I stored them in the fridge overnight. 

On cooking day, I got some frozen hash browns from the freezer and shredded the home cooked (HC’s) and allowed them to come to come to about the same temperature.  Due to their over-cooking, the HC’s  were a little mushier.

I sided the potatoes with a couple of pieces of homemade Polish sausage (mild & hot) that I’d picked up at Razzleberries while getting the muffuletta pasta  meat & cheese.  This is everything ready to go.

I cooked the potatoes and sausage in the same cast iron skillet using olive oil and butter for the potatoes and seasoned them with equal amounts of S&P.

When they were nearly done I cooked two over-easy Banny eggs (Bantam & Banty may be the same thing) in another pan and added some shredded cheddar to one end of the potatoes then plated everything.

I started eating from the end of potatoes that were unadorned, then to those with just cheese, and finally cheese and egg.  Except for the part of the HC’s that were too close to the skillet edge, both developed a nice golden crust. 

I could tell the difference in the texture from the HC’s being over-boiled, but my taster was not sophisticated to tell any difference in taste – Bev said I wouldn’t.  However, I could tell the difference between the sausages as the hot version had a good zing to it, so I ate it with a bite of potato.

In conclusion, for my taste buds, making my own hash browns is not worth the effort however, care must be taken with the frozen ones that are un-used to prevent them from getting frost bite.  Since I like the crunchy surface, next time I'll spread them out a little more in the skillet.  Final note - two Banny eggs = 1 chicken egg.

All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.

One year ago:  Seafood At Almost Heaven South - Grilled Oysters

Two years ago:  Chef Salad Ala Beverly & Meat Buying


2/24/12  meal date


  1. I've made my own hash browns before and found the same thing.. it almost isn't worth the hassle. Sometimes from scratch is not always the better or easier route, that's for sure.

  2. From scratch hash browns get my "not worth the trouble" vote.

  3. I'm glad you did the test. Now I won't have to :-). I'm guessing breakfast is your favorite meal of the day. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  4. I've never made my own hashbrowns. Good to know I'm not missing anything.

  5. At least it was a tasty experiment! I'm sure those commercial processors have a method that we just don't know about. It's a conspiracy to get us to continue buying the frozen version I tell you!! By the way, the cubed hash browns are purportedly, "southern style" hash browns. So they say.

  6. I hardly ever make hash brown potatoes, just because I'm lazy I guess. I do love them for breakfast when eating out though.
    When I have leftover cooked potatoes, I usually make cubed potatoes and then fry them. Yum!
    Your breakfast looks wonderful Larry and love those cute eggs.

  7. Is this breakfast or dinner? :-) Either way, it looks delicious and thanks for the report on hash browns!

  8. They look delicious any way and perfect with any meal, esp. breakfast! Interesting with your test. To me, it's all about texture. My home fries are in a large dice, with onions and it seems to me frozen shredded hash browns have a much smoother creamy texture. My grandmother always made "fried" potatoes with lard. Very different from my hash browns and they were the best! They had the fresh potato taste.

  9. Good for you Larry. Experiments are good. I still wonder about what is in the packaged potatoes. But I have been known to use those packaged garlic mashed potatoes, so who am I to question.

  10. Interesting test! I usually make my own hash browns which are very easy to dice with the food processor. But if I'm pressed for time, I'll use the frozen variety. Either way, I always add jalapenos to give them a nice kick. That's one delicious looking plate, Larry!

  11. Thanks for reminding me I have some frozen hash browns in the oven! I think I tried to make them myself years ago but I just shredded a raw potato with my food processor and cooked them that way. They were alright but not as good as the frozen store bought ones. Not worth the trouble and extra dishes to wash! lol As always I'm hungry now!

  12. Hi Larry. I learnt that the trick with home-made is to squish the moisture out of the grated raw potatoes with a potato ricer. I found out about it here:


    This method is so useful I use it for grated cucumber and zucchini too. My potato ricer is seldom used to rice cooked spuds!

    ( I don't like the taste of bought frozen hash browns available here - too many additives.For home made you do need a decently floury potato to start with - waxy spuds just deliver hash gloop!)

  13. Larry, Another fabulous looking breakfast! Good sausage, a couple of eggs...hash browns...browned just right... What more could anyone want?! Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

  14. I usually only make homemade because I don't have a bag of OreIda on hand. If I did, I wouldn't bother grating my own, ha ha.

  15. This whole plate makes me grin. I soooo love your eggs! I have never made a successful batch of hashbrowns. I haven't even come close.


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