Today it is hard to imagine cooking without potatoes. From french fries to soups, they find a way in so many of our favorite dishes. Boiled, broiled, mashed, or baked – potatoes are an essential part of any diet. However, there may come a time when you have more potatoes than you can use before they go bad. The first thought that comes to mind in this scenario is to chunk them into the refrigerator until you figure out how to use them. And if all you need are a couple of extra days, then sure, this makes sense. But if you want to keep them longer, learning how to freeze potatoes is the way to go.
There are different ways to freeze potatoes. Depending on how you want to use them in the future, you can freeze them whole, diced, or even mashed. By freezing potatoes, you can store them until you are ready to use them. This means no matter what, you can always have some ready in the freezer for any occasion.
Once you know how you want to freeze your potatoes, the way to freeze them and store them varies slightly, although the concept behind each method is the same. Prepare the potatoes into the form you want to freeze them, blanch them, cool them, and finally freeze them. Each section below highlights the importance of each step so that you can enjoy your frozen potatoes for a long time. So read on!
Before you can move to the actual freezing process, there are a few things to consider.
The first thing you need to do is buy the right potatoes. Any kind of vegetable tastes best when frozen in its optimum state. This means freezing the produce when they are just the right amount of ripe and potatoes are no exceptions to the rule. You can identify potatoes ideal for freezing pretty easily. Look for firm potatoes with taut skin with no bruises. Make sure the potatoes don’t have any green patches on them are free of any sprouts.
Once you have your potatoes, you can move on to prepping them for freezing. The first step in prepping the potatoes is peeling them if that’s how you are freezing them or then cleaning them thoroughly if you are freezing with the skin on. If you do want to peel potatoes, we have an excellent post that will help you make this task easier.
If you plan to use your potatoes to make roast potatoes or french fries with their skins on, you need to be sure to clean the potatoes thoroughly before you use them. Potatoes should be washed only before use. If you are keeping them in your pantry for a few days before using them, just remove any excess dirt they may have by using a gentle scrubber and store them dry. When you are ready to use the potatoes, wash them in plenty of water to remove any dirt, germs, and bacteria. You can scrub them again in the water using the scrubber to make sure they are as clean as possible.
The trick behind preserving potatoes to last in the freezer is to blanch them before freezing them. So, in all the methods below, you will find a blanching step that improves the potatoes’ quality and shelf life.
Bring a pot of water to a boil on the stove. Add your potatoes to the boiling water to blanch them. The size of your potatoes determines how long they need to be in the boiling water. If they are small potatoes, 2 – 3 minutes are enough for blanching. As their size increases, the time spent in the water will also increase.
Transfer the blanched potatoes to a bowl of ice water to stop their cooking process and let them cool down completely.
When the potatoes have cooled, drain the water, lay the potatoes on some kitchen towels, and pat with paper towels to absorb the excess water.
The next step is to transfer the potatoes on some baking trays that will fit in your freezer. Lay the potatoes in a single layer, making sure that they don’t stick together. Put the tray in the fridge for 6 to 12 hours or until the potatoes are all frozen solid.
Once the potatoes have all frozen, you can transfer them into freezer-safe containers for long-term storage. Label the containers with the freezing date and the kind of potatoes before you put them again in the freezer for long-term storage.
If you want to use the frozen potatoes whole, you don’t need to defrost them. Just increase your cooking time to accommodate the time the potatoes will for defrosting. This time will vary according to the size of the potatoes. If you need to defrost the potatoes, simply move them to the fridge and let them thaw there overnight.
You can freeze your potatoes as wedges to fry them, make roasted potatoes or even use them for mash!
Potatoes can be frozen as wedges, either with or without their skin. The potato wedges should all be approximately the same size to blanch and freeze the same. Cut your potatoes into wedges by cutting them into halves first. And then cut each half into halves again so that you have four pieces from your potato. Place each potato quarter on the cutting board with the cut side up and cut them again through the center to get wedges. This technique will give you eight wedges for every potato.
You don’t necessarily need to cut your potatoes into wedges. You can also dice them into medium-sized chunks and follow the same freezing process.
Boil a pot of water on the stove and get another bowl ready with ice- water. When the water is boiling steadily, add the potatoes to the water and let them blanch for a few minutes. Cutting the potatoes into even wedges becomes essential at this stage to make sure that all the potatoes are cooked to the same degree.
Once blanched, use a slotted spoon to transfer the potatoes to the ice water and let them cool.
Use a colander to drain the water from the potatoes. Once most of the water is out, spread the potatoes over a kitchen towel and let them air dry. You can use some paper towels to pat the potatoes dry as well.
The next step is to flash freeze the potatoes, spread the potatoes in a single layer on some baking trays, taking care not to overcrowd them. Leave enough space between the potatoes that they don’t stick and are all exposed to the cold air. It may take anywhere from 3 – 6 hours for the potato wedges to freeze and solidify.
When the potatoes have frozen sufficiently, remove the trays from the freezer and distribute the frozen potatoes into different freezer-safe bags. It is good to divide the potatoes into portion sizes and freeze entire portion sizes together for ease of use later. When all the bags are filled, seal them shut and label them with the freezing date.
You can use these potato wedges to make some excellent crispy roasted potatoes. To use them, you don’t even need to defrost them. They will defrost as you cook them in your recipe. Use the same temperature as you would when using fresh potatoes. Just add an extra 10 – 15 minutes for the frozen potatoes to finish cooking.
Freezing your french fries makes it so much easier to prepare them. All you need to do is fry them in oil or toss them in the oven to get them ready.
Prepare your potatoes by peeling (optional) and cutting them into big or small-sized french fries. Try to get all the pieces the same size so that the cooking time will be the same. As you are cutting the potatoes, add them to a bowl of water to prevent discoloration.
Just like when freezing potato wedges, french fries also need to be blanched before they are frozen. Blanching them will give you a nice fluffy texture on the inside when you prepare them.
To blanch the french fries, get a pot of water boiling on the stove. Add the potatoes slices to the boiling water and let them blanch for about 2 minutes, adjusting the time according to the cut of your french fries. Once the fries are done blanching, transfer them to a bowl of ice water using a slotted spoon. Doing this will stop their cooking process.
When all your french fries have cooled down completely, use a colander and drain as much water as possible before you remove the blanched and cooled french fries on a kitchen towel. Spread out the french fries so that they are in a single layer, and let the kitchen towel absorb the excess moisture.
Before you move on to flash freezing the french fries, give them a quick toss with some vegetable oil. In a bowl, take one tablespoon of vegetable oil for every pound of potatoes and toss them so that all the pieces are well coated.
You can lay them out on some baking trays for flash freezing when all the fries are well coated. Ensure that the fries are in a single layer to prevent them from sticking to one another in the freezer. Put your trays in the freezer for about 3 – 6 hours or until they have frozen completely.
Once the potato fries are all frozen, you can remove them from the freezer and separate them into different freeze-safe bags for long-term storage. Remember to label and date all your containers before you put them away in the freezer.
You can fry or bake your frozen french fries directly without defrosting them. Keeping them frozen until you fry them gives them the crispy texture from the outside, and the blanching before freezing gives them a sift and fluffy texture on the inside.
Mashed potatoes have a lot of ingredients like butter, cream, and milk that will help the mashed potato retain its rich texture even when frozen. Simply prepare your mashed potatoes using the recipe you usually use.
Once the mashed potatoes are ready, let them cool down to room temperature completely. To cool them quickly, you can use a water bath. Take some ice water in a large bowl and place your bowl, which has the mashed potatoes, in the ice water bowl. Take care that none of the water gets in your mashed potatoes.
When the mashed potatoes have cooled completely, divide them into portions that you can freeze together. Transfer them to freezer-safe airtight bags, remove the excess air, and place them in the freezer.
Thaw the frozen mashed potatoes in the refrigerator when you are to use them. Be sure to heat the potatoes on the stove until they are piping hot before you serve them.
Frozen Potatoes can easily last in your freezer for up to 12 months if frozen and stored correctly. Always remember to label and date your frozen potatoes so that you can use them safely and in time.
If you notice any mold or if they have freezer burn, it is best to discard them.
Freezing potatoes is an excellent way to not only help them last longer than they would in your pantry but also an efficient way to meal prep. You can save a lot of time, especially around the holiday season, by getting a head start on your recipes days and even months in advance!
This site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. We are compensated for referring traffic and business to Amazon and other companies linked to on this site.Read More