What’s The Big Deal With Syracuse Salt Potatoes?
In Central New York, one of the most popular dishes is Salt Potatoes. Honestly, though, do you know much about them?
Growing up in the area, salt potatoes are a stable for picnics and BBQ's during the summer. Do you know how they get salty and delicious? Well, they don't grow in the ground with salt.
Syracuse has a long history of salt production. Salt springs located around Onondaga Lake were used to create consumable salt that was distributed throughout the northeast on the historic Erie Canal. That's where are tasty treats come from.
Salt potatoes originated due to a salt worker's daily diet.
During the 1800's, Irish salt miners would bring a bag of small, unpeeled, substandard potatoes to work each day. Come lunch time, they boiled the potatoes in the "free-flowing" salt brine. By the early 1900s, the potatoes were a Central New York favorite and a local entrepreneur, John Hinerwadel, started serving them as a side "at his famous clambakes." He later began packaging five-pound bags of potatoes along with a 12-ounce box of salt and labeled them Hinerwadel's Famous Original Salt Potatoes. The first packaged salt potatoes were sold in the 1960s."
How exactly does it get it's name? As the potatoes cook, the salty water forms a crust on the skin and seals the potatoes so they never taste waterlogged. When you make salt potatoes, you need salt of course, and "young" white potatoes. These are the super small potatoes you see in stores. The cooking water contains salt in a ratio of one cup of salt to six cups of water. This honestly gives Syracuse Salt Potatoes their unique flavor, texture, and of course the great taste.
Now you know a little bit more about a Central New York favorite dish.
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