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Get yeast from a potato?

So, I was reading the Internet, and came across this:

http://readynutrition.com/resources/sur ... _02032011/

Apparently, you can coax a yeast colony out of a potato. Now I’m tempted to try it (it says that this method was used to ferment vodka, so I’d imagine it’s feasible), but I’d also rather not make a batch of drain cleaner.

Anyone have any insights?

It looks like they are boiling the potatoes in most of those recipes, so they are actually culturing yeast from the air in their kitchen rather than whatever yeast was on the potato to begin with. You want to be careful with root vegetables and this kind of culture. Non acidic foods such as potatoes can grow Botulism. It takes pressure-canning at 250F to kill botulism spores, so simple boiling will kill most yeast and bacteria on a potato, but not botulism spores, which can be present in soil. Wort is acidic enough to prevent botulism form growing, but a potato is not. You could probably culture some wild yeast on a plate, or just grow a yeast culture with a known strain, just be careful with growing things in non-acidic foods. Heat will break down the toxin, so you won’t get poisoned from eating a cooked potato, but using a yeast culture like this without cooking the end product (beer vs. bread) could be risky.
(http://www.healthlinkbc.ca/healthfiles/hfile22.stm)

I alway grimace a little when I read these sourdough starter recipes. As just mentioned they boil the potatoes so you won’t be getting the yeast that way. To get the yeast off the potatoes cut them up and soak then in warm water then put some wort in it to get it going. If you are going to make beer with it don’t worry about botulism and such. It might not taste that good but Nothing pathogenic can grow in beer. Make a small starter to see how it tastes. It might be interesting to make a potato beer and use the wild yeast. Or maybe just use it to make sourdough.

I guess you shouldn’t be making toilet wine with potatoes!

http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/15/1/0 ... rticle.htm
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