Monday, April 4, 2011

How to Make a Baked Potato Bag (Guest Post)

Please welcome Crystal, from Crystal's Cozy Kitchen! She blogs about kitchen tips and recipes, and she details her recipes with plenty of yummy-looking photos! Check out this tempting taco salad:


Don't we all love a baked potato? I know I sure do. However, they are time consuming to bake in the oven and microwaved potatoes just don't work out so great. That is unless you microwave them in a potato bag. For Christmas three years ago, my mother-in-law gave us a Potato Bag. This wonderful home-made potato bag has made baked potatoes one of our 'quick' meals. I love how much this makes microwaved potatoes turn out like baked potatoes. It really is hard to tell the difference. I am sure if you baked one and used the potato bag you'd be able to notice a difference, but for the preparation and cooking time, these bags are wonderful.
So how to get one of these wonderful potato bags? You can buy one (search for baked potato bag or sack), or make it yourself (or ask someone you know who loves to sew to make one for you). I have made a few and find that they are quite easy once you get going.
How to make a Baked Potato Bag
Note: I am a beginner with a sewing machine so these won't be the most technical directions. I purposefully do not give dimensions as you can make them as large or small as you want to. I would hesitate to make it to too large (more than four potatoes at a time) though because I'm not sure how the potatoes would cook.
What you need
Sewing Machine (I won't be using one, as mine is in storage currently.)
100% cotton Thread
batting*
100% Cotton fabric
*A couple of notes on batting, it would be best to get 100% cotton batting, however it is not necessary. Below is the only type of batting that I could find that was 100% cotton (or close thereto). It is so much more than the regular batting. I've used regular batting and have not had any problems with it - just be sure to use the cotton thread and fabric.
Also when buying the batting, if you buy low or medium loft you will need twice the amount. You will need to stitch the batting together to make it thicker.
Directions:
Take the fabric (this is how we bought it.)
 Cut in half (just follow the natural fold of the fabric)
 You can remove the second piece, we'll only be using one right now. Of course it is super easy to get a bunch of these prepared and sew them in the same sitting.
 Turn the fabric so the wrong side out is facing up.
 Place the batting on the fabric.
 Cut it so it is half the height of the fabric.
 Fold the top half of the fabric over onto the batting.
 Now you'll want to sew the bottom of this together. You'll want to do this so it does not bunch later.
Once the open edges are sewn, fold it in half. 
Sew the two sides together as well as the bottom to make a sack. Be sure to zig zag stitch it as well to prevent fraying.
Below are two actually sewn bags.  FYI I made green one and my mother-in-law made the red one.
Turn the bag right side out.
  You now have a potato bag.
If you are more ambitious than I am, I have seen where the whole bag is sewn in a diamond pattern, which is a good idea as the batting begins to slip down in the bag after a few uses. Another way to counter this would be to use two pieces of fabric and stitch the batting to all the edges.
To use:
Wash & Dry Potato, DO NOT PRICK (you can wrap the potato in a paper towel if desired),
Place in Bag, Microwave using your microwave’s potato setting (if you don’t have one, start with 4 minutes). You want to squeeze the potato while still in the sack, if it is soft then it is done. Some potatoes may need additional time. If more time is needed continue using 1 minute increments until done.
Tip: to get your potatoes nice and fluffy, take your potato when it is still nice and hot. Bang* it on a clean surface (counter, cutting board, etc) a couple of times, it will split open after the second or third time. Place on a plate, open split more and fluff with a fork. Caution: You may need to use a hot-pad to hold the hot potato while banging it. *Seriously Bang it on the counter! Take out your frustrations on the potato, it works great! Doesn't that potato look nice and fluffy? Additional Uses: Day old rolls, String Beans
Wrap the following in a paper towel
Sweet Corn; Remove Husk
Sweet Potatoes
Acorn Squash
Carrots
Machine Washable – Cold
****** Microwaves ovens may vary do not leave bags unattended when using – you should not leave the potatoes in the bag as they will steam and get it wet. Not recommended for use in microwaves without a working turntable.


I hope you'll leave Crystal some comment love, then visit her blog for more recipes and ideas!


8 Comments :

Heidi said...

My mom gave me a potato bag too! They work great... I'm not so sure I could be trusted to make one though!

~ Noelle said...

I just NEED this!
i mean, really NEED this...
now, to find someone to make it lol

CrystalsCozyKitchen said...

Heidi - honestly I am such a beginner when it comes to sewing, as long as you know how to use a sewing machine you'll be fine!

Noelle - I didn't realize how much I needed one until we received one!

Alea Milham said...

Crystal, This is a wonderful idea! I have never heard of baked potato bags, but I sure could put them to use!

va_grown said...

What a good, easy idea! This seems like something I could managed to try for myself. I would love to be able to have yummy baked potatoes for lunchtime--which means they have to be pretty quick!

CrystalsCozyKitchen said...

Alea - I had never heard of potato bags either and was a bit skeptical at first, but they do work very well (not exactly the same but SOOO much better than normal microwaved potatoes.)

Melissa said...

THANK YOU for this post! I just bought a new sewing machine (my other one was sooo ancient i never used it!) Now that i bought one i have been looking for things to make/sew and i have never heard of a potato bag! its a fabulous idea! i love baked potatoes but HATE how long they take! & i hate turning on my oven in summer! thank you so much...on my way to walmart now!

Melissa said...

Thank you so much for the post!
I have never heard of a potato bag but its a fabulous idea! I love potatoes but hate how long they take to cook! (and i dont turn my oven on in summer) so this is great! also i just bought a new sewing machine (to replace the ancient one i had) & i've been looking for things to sew/make so thank you for your post!

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