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Ask the Expert Archive

Does soaking raw potatoes leech the potassium out? (Or enough to make it a “low K ” veggie?)

The following “recipe” significantly reduces the potassium in potatoes but does not eliminate it completely:

  • Peel potatoes and slice 1/8 inch thick.
  • Place in warm water. Use 10 times as much water as potatoes.
  • Soak for 2 hours.
  • Rinse. Add five times as much water as potatoes and bring to the boil. Boil for 5 minutes.
  • Drain.

The potatoes can be frozen for later use.

This “recipe” can also be used to reduce the potassium in carrots, beets and rutabagas.

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  1. People in kidney failure may need to reduce the amount of potassium in their food. The rest of the recipe is that after they drain the potatoes, they can be frozen or made into homefries, mashed potatoes, french fries,etc. It reduces the potassium some, but they still need to be careful re: serving size.

  2. I never thought about freezing fresh potatoes. This was very helpful information. Also, I didn’t realize too much potassium wasn’t good for someone in kidney failure.

  3. The process is called leaching. In fact anyone with kidney problems, depending on their serum creatinine clearance, is recommended a ‘renal’ diet where they are given a list of ‘allowed low potassium’ vegetables. These must then be ‘leached’ – peeled cut and boiled in ten times more water than the veg. The water is then discarded before the reduced-potassium veg is cooked into soups or dry veg.

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The Expert: Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, MS, RDN, is the President and CEO of the Produce for Better Health (PBH) Foundation. At PBH, she guides the Foundation’s efforts to advance the overall effort of increasing fruit and vegetable consumption.
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