What are Hash Browns?
Hash browns are a potato-based dish that is shredded and pan-fried. It originated in the USA sometime in the late 1800s and is often eaten at breakfast. Hash browns are a staple breakfast item in the US and are found in breakfast menus throughout the country. The name of the dish originates from the French hacher, which means to chop. They can be made from scratch at home or bought frozen and fried. The top hash brown brands include:
- Aviko 4. Cavendish Farms
- McCain 5. Clarebout
- Agrar Frost 6. Farm Frites
Origin of hash browns
Though the dish has been around for a while before that, the term ‘hash brown’ were first used in 1888 by Maria Parloa, a culinary writer. Then, it was known as ‘hashed brown potatoes’, which later became hash browns.
Hash browns can be quite healthy and provide a good source of carbohydrates. Potatoes are a great source of carbs and fiber, which can help in digestion. Apart from this, potatoes are also a great source of vitamin B6, iron, calcium, phosphorous, choline, vitamin C, vitamin E, magnesium, zinc, potassium, and other vital nutrients. However, because this dish is a great source of carbs and cholesterol, it is not a great dish for people who have heart problems or those who are overweight.
During the commercial production, the potatoes are first washed and peeled using pressurized steam. They are then mechanically cut into strips, blanched in hot water, dried, and then cut again into rice-sized bits. They are mixed with seasoning, corn flour, and other additives before forming into shapes and part fried. Then they are frozen and packed. Commercially produced hash browns contain different preservatives and additives, which lead to health problems.
- One of the problems is that high amounts of sulfite is used as a browning agent and as a preservative. These can be hazardous to sulfite-sensitive individuals, and an irritant to others.
- Commercially produced hash browns contain corn flour and dextrose for better binding. Dextrose can lead to weight gain, heart diseases, diabetes, acne, depression, etc.
- Many fast food restaurants serving hash browns also include dextrose and sodium acid pyrophosphate (SAPP). Some side effects have been observed such as weight gain, decreased hemoglobin concentration, and reduced liver iron.
- Pre-cooked potatoes are unhealthy, since they lead to a very high acrylamide level, which is a carcinogen. Until research comes up with a way to reduce the level of acrylamide in potato-based foods, the FDA advises to limit intake.
- Commercial hash brown contains a high level of sodium, which can lead to high blood pressure, heart problems, etc.
Hash brown recipes
This is a regular American breakfast recipe. Though they are mostly consumed in the hash brown form, they can also be used in different recipes. Here are a few recipes to get you started.
- Classic Hash Brown
- Breakfast Lasagna
- Hash Brown Potato Soup
- Hash Brown Casserole
- Sheet pan Hash Brown
Potatoes fall under the rarely consumed raw category of the Code of Federal Regulations. Commercial hash browns fall under the frozen food category and must be regulated as such. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently come out with guidelines on reducing the acrylamide level in hash browns and other pre-fried foods and advises to limit intake. The USDA also grades frozen hash brown potatoes and categorizes the different styles of hash browns as shredded, diced, and chopped. The USDA also requires that hash browns be prepared from mature, sound, white or Irish potatoes.
Julie A.Nordlee, Laura B.Martin, Steve L.Taylor, Journal of Food Composition and Analysis Volume 4, Issue 1, March 1991, Pages 58-67, Residual sulfite levels in retail and food service potato products.
Kayla Hawthorne, Ohio University, Spoon University, We Broke Down Every Ingredient in a McDonald’s Hash Brown.