Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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GPa Potatoes

Potatoes prepared at super-high pressure
  [vote for,

There are lots of ways to cook a potato: you can boil it, bake it, fry it, sauté it, etc. The thing all of these methods have in common is that they require the cook to add heat from a flame or an electric heating coil.

As an alternative, I propose cooking a potato by compressing it to enormous pressure – 1000 MPa or more (150000 psi). I don’t know exactly what happens to a potato at such gargantuan pressure, but I’m sure the result is delicious, especially if you drizzle a little olive oil on it, then sprinkle some salt and pepper before putting it inside the compression chamber.

AO, Apr 29 2004


       The high pressure would be great for infusing flavor in to the...whatever the result would be.
half, Apr 29 2004

       This could be called mashed potatoes, if the term weren’t already taken. Unfortunately, I suspect nothing at all would happen to the potatoes at such low pressures. But...keep on going. At millions of atmospheres, something would happen, for sure, as the chemical structure of the potato would surely undergo some rearrangement. Proteins and starches would become irreversibly denatured. And, if you released the pressure rapidly...well, then you’d be back to mashed potatoes.
ldischler, Apr 29 2004

       mmmmmm... potato diamonds.
Worldgineer, Apr 29 2004

       And if you keep going and going with the pressure, eventually you’ll end up with blackened potatoes—essentially micro-black holes, each with the mass of a tuber. Careful—they eat humans.
ldischler, Apr 29 2004

       Do you stir your potatoes with a pencil, too?
k_sra, Apr 29 2004

       Will increasing the pressure to 10,000 bar not cause such a large heating effect that the potato will be baked (sic) anyway?
suctionpad, Apr 29 2004

       You’re thinking of compressing a gas adiabatically. With a liquid, there is little change in volume, and thus little change in temperature.
ldischler, Apr 29 2004

       Potatoes do cook more quickly in a pressure cooker due to the higher boiling point of the water under pressure. (The added pressure also helps to infuse flavors in to things like seasoned meats.) The texture of the potatoes isn't noticably changed. My wife cooks them peeled and diced. The trickiest bit, apparently, is knowing when they're done. She can tell by the smell.   

       Disclaimer: we don't use a 10,000 bar pressure cooker.   

       Pressure fried, sliced, breaded potatoes make a tasty treat as well. Mmmm, health food.
half, Apr 29 2004

       Anything boiled in a pressure cooker will cook faster than in plain boiling water, because water under pressure boils at a higher temperature.
Freefall, Apr 29 2004

       [ldischler] I was imagining the potato being in an oven-like enclosure surrounded by air (implied by the last sentence on potato seasoning prior to cooking). Have tried (and failed) to find info on what heating you might expect for a water-enclosed system - I am sure there will be some, particularly when inefficiencies are taken into account. My graphs just don't go up that far...
suctionpad, Apr 29 2004

       Air, huh? Well, put the potato on, and then run like hell.
ldischler, Apr 29 2004

       Sorry, I only mentioned the potatoes in passing, due to the subject matter at hand. I actually did the potatoes for myself and other employees while working at a fast food place (Wendy's) after having eaten such a product at another restaurant (Shakey's Pizza in case you've ever heard of it).   

       Pressure frying does wonders for the moisture content of chicken. I'm fairly certain that KFC is still pressure fried. Pressure fryers are fairly common in restaurants.   

       There are home pressure fryers, I don't have one. Don't try to use your pressure cooker for a pressure fryer.
half, Apr 29 2004

       [scout] The result would probably be leakage around the seal, followed by a small, containable oil fire. However should the lid blow you would be right royally shafted (think fuel air explosives).
suctionpad, Apr 29 2004

       To calculate the boiling point of water at any given density altitude, you simply deduct 1ºF for ever 500 feet of density altitude above sea level.   

       So, cooking pasta at KDEN (elevation 5,431 feet) on an 80ºF day with a dewpoint of 66ºF and a barometric pressure of 30.12 inches of mercury...puts you at a density altitude of 6849 feet above sea level. Your pasta water will boil at 198ºF and take much longer to cook your pasta.
Klaatu, Apr 29 2004

       So use a pressure cooker to reduce the effective altitude. They work at about 12-15 PSI I think. Dunno how you'll sample it to see if it's done.
half, Apr 29 2004

       I dunno, if I was to go through all that expense and effort to compress things, I think I'd stick to making diamonds and sapphires.
DrCurry, Apr 29 2004

       Units in SI [Klaatu]? Lets start a Crusade here and now to eliminate Imperial units forever. Note that //simply// doesn't really apply once you are significantly outside normal operating conditions (i.e. once you are studying potato pressures at or around 10,000 bar). Will try to find the actual effect of raising pressure of a potato from 1 to 10,000 bar (isentropically would I guess be closest) tomorrow, once the juice has worn off.....   

       ** Edit - now the juice is just a bad memory I can't really be bothered**
suctionpad, Apr 29 2004

       I think that eventually, the potatoe would be so spread out that all you would have is a very thin ling of potatoe that you would also have to scrape off of the metal.. Also, Think that it would take even longer for the potatoe to cook that way
Spider7, Apr 29 2004

       Open a hole at the bottom to produce potato spaghetti or open a larger square hole to rapidly extrude a continuous French fry. Be ready beside it with a knife to chop six inch fries.
FarmerJohn, Apr 30 2004

       And ruin a perfectly good 3 foot fry?
Worldgineer, Apr 30 2004

       Another cold fusion discussion?
RayfordSteele, May 01 2004


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