Harmony House FD Sweet Potatoes - Yetch!
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Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Harmony House FD Sweet Potatoes - Yetch! on 02/17/2011 09:06:35 MST Print View

FYI -

We have purchased many Harmony House products over the years and have been very happy with the quality and flavor.

The freeze dried Sweet Potatoes are a HUGE exception. They are BAD!
Shredded chinese cardboard would be an improvement.

I called Harmony and they said "Ahhh, ya, some people don't like them....bye."

So, we will go back to cooking and drying our own. They end up in 'cozy' dinners, trail spreads, and burritos (50/50 with black beans and spices).

YMMV.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Harmony House FD Sweet Potatoes - Yetch! on 02/17/2011 09:18:08 MST Print View

I hadn't tried those...I probably will avoid them ;-)

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: Harmony House FD Sweet Potatoes - Yetch! on 02/17/2011 09:25:52 MST Print View

Sarah,
I'd gladly send them to you, but I'd probably never get an answer to any subsequent post ;-)

John Whynot
(jdw01776)

Locale: Southeast Texas
Re: Harmony House FD Sweet Potatoes - Yetch! on 02/17/2011 09:30:28 MST Print View

Too bad -- since switching to the Paleo Diet, sweet potatoes are a favorite, and I was thinking of trying the Harmony House FD ones. I see a dehydrator purchase soon...

Kathleen B
(rosierabbit) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Dehydrated sweet potatoes are better on 02/17/2011 10:34:30 MST Print View

Too bad about the freeze-dried version. The HarmonyHouse dehydrated ones are really good, especially in Dicentra's 3 recipes:

http://www.onepanwonders.com/dinnersvegetarian.htm#116903469

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Harmony House FD Sweet Potatoes - Yetch! on 02/17/2011 11:44:36 MST Print View

Maybe I could make 'em taste good though! :-D

Btw, are they cubed? Or powdered? If powdered they could be doctored up!

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: Harmony House FD Sweet Potatoes - Yetch! on 02/17/2011 14:26:14 MST Print View

Cubed, sort of. More like big chuncks 1x.5x.5

Since they are freeze dried they crumble easily.
They could be powdered in a blender, but you might as well start with sawdust.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Harmony House FD Sweet Potatoes - Yetch! on 02/17/2011 15:16:38 MST Print View

Enough butter, maple syrup and salt would cure that. Or maybe not. :-D

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
sweet potatoes on 02/18/2011 06:17:32 MST Print View

The problem with sweet potatoes, commercially purchased or otherwise, is that they only keep their flavor for about 3 months after the drying process. After that the flavor loss can be significant. That's probably why they were cardboardy. You can easily dry them and make your own potato flakes by grinding the dried potatoes in a coffee grinder or spice mill.

Also, you can grate (coarsely) the sweet potatoes and dry them to make fried hash browns if that fits into your style of cooking.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: sweet potatoes on 02/18/2011 08:14:18 MST Print View

"...that they only keep their flavor for about 3 months after the drying process..."

Laurie,
This statement really caught my attention. I like food science.

So, not being confrontational or a b-head, is this from personal experience or science? If there is science, please share. (Sugar changes to starch easier in sweet potatoes than other foods?)

Thanks.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Re: sweet potatoes on 02/18/2011 09:21:05 MST Print View

I have had little issue with sweet potatoes home dried losing flavor. Personally I feel it is a HYOH thing. I only use sweet potatoes from Trader Joe's - they are smaller and more potent tasting.

Thing is about commercial dried and freeze dried foods is that they will only taste as good as what you used in the start. So if you use tasteless sweet potatoes that is what you will get. I have had green beans that tasted like cardboard over the years....you know the company used less than premium in that case.

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
Re: Re: sweet potatoes on 02/18/2011 09:21:12 MST Print View

It's a bit of both. A friend of mine is involved with food sciences for Ministry of Agriculture and Food and he was the person who first told me about it as he thought I should mention the shelf-life in my books. He's a food geek and like a walking encyclopaedia of the molecular structure of the things we eat. Next time I am chatting with him I'll ask if can write the explanation down for me because it was somewhat technical (and admittedly some of it was way over my head).

That said, I decided to put his comments to the work in my own kitchen and see how things fared. While his comments were appreciated, they lost me a little, and I wanted to see if this flavor loss would be noticeable to the average person and if it was enough to need a little note about it in the book. I'm all for being able to make my foods 5-6 months ahead of time so it was important to me. I take my work very seriously.

So, what I did was hold back some of the potatoes from three batches over an eight-month period. The potatoes were roasted without seasoning other than salt and pepper. Then Bryan and I taste-tested them. Bryan's was a blind test but I knew which was which. I have to say that I was a bit surprised when he did notice a taste difference. The potatoes that had been dried/stored the longest had less flavor that those recently dehydrated. Now keep in mind that the amount of flavor loss also depends on the time frame. All three test batches were stored in the freezer. There was also a color variation greater than what was present at the first time of storage.

Exposure to air, light, how they are dehydrated, how they are cooked and such are all factors in how long before you have significant flavor loss. From what I understand with shelf-stable canned product that is freeze-dried will have a longer shelf-life until that can is opened. I haven't put the commercial freeze-dried product to the test but I have experimented with the commercial dehydrated and had similar results to home-dried - freeze-dried is a bit of a different beast.

Edited by Laurie_Ann on 02/18/2011 09:23:56 MST.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Re: Re: sweet potatoes on 02/18/2011 09:25:15 MST Print View

"Exposure to air, light, how they are dehydrated, how they are cooked and such are all factors in how long before you have significant flavor loss. From what I understand with shelf-stable canned product that is freeze-dried will have a longer shelf-life until that can is opened. I haven't put the commercial product to the test."

Freeze-dried foods are affected by moisture - which is why once opened they can fail, especially in humid areas.Freeze-dried in cans can have an unopened shelf life of 25 years.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
On life times on 02/18/2011 09:29:32 MST Print View

Pouched freeze-dried is 5 to 7 years, depending on the company and what packaging. As I mentioned the cans can be up to 25 years. The plastic see through tubs though are a year at max. They do not have the seal that cans have and moisture can get in. IMO the plastic see through jars of FD should be used up in 6 months.

As I noted above moisture is the evil of FD foods. But the good news (if you can call it that) is you can tell very easily when FD foods have turned. They clump, look somewhat damp and get a very, very obvious sour smell. FD foods should not be clumped together so that is the first thing to look for.

Still no matter what, as I mentioned...if the product was a waste of taste to start with, well, there ya go.