Potatoes are a staple in most households, deliciously providing much-needed carbohydrates. However, the bulk bags in your grocery store, consisting of several pounds of potatoes, may be much more than some households can eat. The best solution for salvaging this delicious food involves learning how to freeze potatoes.
This process is relatively simple and will save you money in the long run. Whether from the grocery store or your local farmer’s market, you want to use that fresh, new bag of potatoes to its fullest extent. Before those prickly little shoots begin to sprout on your potatoes, you want to keep them crisp and ready to eat for as long as possible.
The best way to do this is by freezing potatoes whether after baking, frying, or freezing them raw. So can you freeze potatoes without sacrificing too much of your time? Absolutely! Freezing potatoes is a quick and easy process that takes just minutes for months worth of enjoyable food.
What to Know about Freezing Potatoes Before You Get Started
The best way to freeze potatoes happens by frying them or blanching them ahead of time, a step that is necessary for preserving their texture and flavor.
The process of blanching potatoes involves boiling them before plunging them into ice cold water to curb the cooking process is known as blanching. If you want to freeze raw potatoes or raw veggies in general, doing this is better than freezing them without blanching at all.
What if you will need your potatoes within a few days? How long do potatoes last in the fridge? Of course, you can store cut potatoes in the refrigerator for a few days before using, but no longer than that. Whole potatoes store better in the pantry rather than in the refrigerator.
Can you freeze potatoes without blanching them?
Vegetables with high water content have enzymes that speed up the deterioration process. Blanching deactivates these enzymes and allows you to keep your foods fresher longer.
Skipping this step will cause the veggie to lose color and turn mushy, which no longer makes for a tasty treat. While some vegetables may get away with forgoing this process, experts don’t recommend doing this with potatoes. You can freeze broccoli or green beans by blanching them first, as you can with several other different veggies.
Can I freeze potatoes when already cooked?
If you want to freeze potatoes already cooked ahead of time, your options depend on the type of potato. To freeze mashed potatoes, place them into individual-size servings on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Mold each serving into the shape of hamburger-like patties. Wrap the mashed potatoes in plastic wrap, then store them in an air-tight freezer bag.
Baked potatoes are also easy to store and last up to ten months in the freezer. To preserve these properly, cover them with aluminum foil before placing them in a plastic bag inside the freezer.
Two other standard cooked potatoes you may want to freeze are fried potatoes, like French fries and hash browns. Similar to how you freeze cooked mushrooms, fry these foods up first. Adding onions to the mix is just as easy and you have a ready-made skillet meal when you reheat it.
Storing potatoes and onions together in the freezer is ideal. After cooking, let them cool in the fridge before transferring them to the freezer to allow them to retain more of their flavor. Use these within four weeks of freezing.
If you want to freeze sweet potatoes, these are also perfect candidates for cooking ahead of time. Mash them up, then store sweet potatoes in the freezer. Though this is not necessary, you can blanch them to store them in your freezer as raw potatoes. The next time you want some mashed yams, just take a package from the freezer and you are ready to go.
How to Freeze Potatoes in 4 Simple Steps
Before freezing your spuds, it’s important to know when do potatoes go bad? You don’t want to preserve rotten potatoes, after all. Check each potato to ensure freshness before freezing.
1. How to Prepare the Potatoes for Freezing
The first step in how to freeze potatoes starts with preparing them for blanching and freezing. Peel most potatoes, since this makes the blanching process more accessible and more effective. For red potatoes and Yukon gold potatoes, prepare them whole and with the skins.
These types of vegetables blanch easily, unlike russet potatoes, and require a little less maintenance. Start by washing fresh, new potatoes and peeling them as necessary.
If you plan on using peeled potatoes when you cook them, do it during this step to save you time. Cut potatoes in the shape and size you will use them for cooking. Chop them into cubes, slices, or even thin strips for French fries.
2. How to Blanch the Potatoes
Once your potatoes are prepped and ready to go, the next step in the process is blanching. Blanching is the best process for most vegetables, especially when you freeze green beans from the garden. This step requires cooking the potatoes in boiling water for approximately four minutes.
Make sure to use a large pot of water big enough for all the potatoes at one time. This step will cut down on your cooking time and speed up the process. Next, scoop out the potatoes with a slotted spoon and dunk them in a bowl of ice water.
Leave them in the ice water for the same amount of time you boiled them to lock in all the nutrients, texture, and flavor in your potatoes. For sweet potatoes, don’t be worried if they get mushy or stringy once cooked and cooled.
This state is how they should look after cooking. You can also mash these before freezing for a smoother process later. Remove the hardened potatoes from the cold water, and allow them to dry on a couple of sheets of paper towels.
3. How to Store Potatoes in the Freezer
After you have blanched the potatoes, one way to store potatoes is to place them in the freezer. Place the potatoes in a single layer along the bottom of sealable plastic bags. Remove as much air as you can from the Ziplocs before sealing to prevent freezer burn.
Using a Sharpie, write down the date on the front of the freezer bags and store them toward the front of the freezer. To avoid eating expired potatoes, do not mix different types of potatoes in one container.
Sweet potatoes last for up to six months in the fridge, while other potatoes last up to ten months. Cooked fries only last about a month before they should be tossed.
4. How to Thaw Frozen Potatoes
There are many ways to thaw your frozen potatoes or other produce once you are finally ready to eat them. As with how to thaw frozen strawberries or other fruit or vegetable, you can microwave them using the defrost setting to soften them up for cooking.
Or, you can even heat them while cooking, tossing them into the frying pan straight from the freezer. If you don’t plan on using the potatoes right away, move them from the freezer to the refrigerator to thaw slowly.
This process takes several hours, so it is best to move them to the fridge for thawing overnight. This is often the best way for how to thaw frozen cabbage, potatoes, and most veggies so they come to temperature over time.
When heating frozen mashed potatoes, you may also want to add a little bit of butter or milk to restore moisture and flavor to the mixture.
Try Our Favorite Recipe with Frozen Potatoes
Now that you have enough frozen potatoes for all your favorite meals, it’s time to add one more delicious recipe to your dinnertime ideas. A yummy scalloped potato casserole is what every household needs.
Packed with cheesy potato goodness, and a texture that is both crisp and creamy, this recipe is sure to make your family member’s mouths water. This recipe only takes about ten minutes of prep time and creates up to 12 servings.
To make this fantastic recipe, start by combining the potatoes with all the ingredients, excluding the cornflakes. Use a large bowl to mix these in and blend evenly. Pour them into a crockpot and cover them while they cook at a low temperature.
Allow the potatoes to become tender and soft before removing from heat. This step usually takes anywhere from three to four hours. Afterward, transfer them to a baking pan and sprinkle the top with a layer of cornflakes.
Bake the finished product at 350° for approximately five minutes, or until the top turns a rich, golden brown. Stir and serve with some sour cream.
Freezing potatoes requires just a few simple steps for a huge payout. Beyond the ease behind freezing them, you don’t need any complicated equipment either. Most stores sell potatoes in large quantities anyway, so why not try something new and preserve one of your favorite foods today.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this potato freezing tutorial and are well on your way to getting started. If so, remember to share how to freeze potatoes with your recipe-loving friends and family on Facebook and Pinterest.