Food Processing: To Skin A Spud

To Skin A Spud

At Ore-Ida, the Boise affiliate of H.J. Heinz Co., they peela lotta potatoes -- about 6,000 tons a day. Traditional recipe: steam 900 lbs. of potatoes in a vast vat; release the steam so the skins drop off. Preparation time: two minutes. Drawbacks: you lose nearly a tenth of a tater with the skin and generate a dun-colored, viscous by-product, used as cattle feed.

Now there's a no-muss new method: using a $3 million combination of industrial-grade lasers, you can vaporize the skin right off the potatoes as they fly through a funnel at the rate of 1,800 a minute. This...

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