Can You Freeze Raw Potatoes?
If you have particularly large potato harvest or just bought more than you can use, you may wonder if can you freeze raw potatoes for future cooking.
Raw potatoes cannot successfully be frozen directly. As with most vegetables, potatoes should be blanched prior to being frozen, to preserve flavor, texture, and color.
This brief cooking process will stop enzyme action which can cause your potato turn black and mushy in the freezer. It will also help clean off any residual dirt on the surface. However, the potatoes will still need to be prepared and cooked after thawing.
Image used under Creative Commons from jamonation
If properly stored, in a cool (40-50° F) dark location, potatoes can last several months to a year. However, at room temperature, most potatoes are only good for 2-3 weeks. There can be a loss of quality when you freeze whole potatoes, as they may seem to disintegrate or become mushy upon thawing.
Blanching can help prevent this to some extent, but if the texture or your final dish requires a firmer potato, you may be better off using fresh rather than frozen potatoes. However, for many potato preparations (mashed, hash browns, and French fries, among others), using frozen potatoes is fine.
If you are unsure, try blanching and freezing just a few potatoes at first to make sure that you are happy with the results of your final dish before freezing the rest of your potato crop. Below is a step by step guide on how can you freeze raw potatoes:
Aged potatoes freeze more successfully than freshly harvested potatoes. Allow potatoes to mature for 2-4 weeks before attempting to freeze them.
Prepping and Blanching the Potatoes
Scrub your potatoes well, and peel them. Bring a large pot of water to boil. You will need approximately 1 gallon per pound of potatoes.
Put the clean potatoes in a blanching basket, and lower it into the boiling water. Blanch them for 3-5 minutes, remove, and place the potatoes in ice water to quickly stop the cooking process.
Packing the Potatoes for Freezing
Once cool the touch, you can dry and freeze the potatoes in an air-tight container. Potatoes frozen with moisture are more likely to become mushy upon thawing, so make sure to thoroughly dry the potatoes.
As with most foods, frozen potatoes should be stored in an air-tight container. Frozen potatoes will keep indefinitely, but for best taste and texture should be used within a year.
You can prepare and partially cook potatoes for a number of uses. Diced potatoes and pieces sliced for French fries should be boiled until just tender, and then spread in a single layer to freeze. Shredded potatoes for hash browns should also be partially cooked, before forming the shreds into mounds and frozen.
Fully cooked potatoes can also be frozen. Dishes like mashed potatoes and twice-baked potatoes can be prepared as normal and then frozen for later use. Potatoes frozen in soups and stews will likely become mushy when thawed.
Image used under Creative Commons from Antti Lindström
Frozen potatoes are generally best used without thawing them first. Place frozen French fry pieces directly in the oven on a greased cookie sheet, and bake until hot and browned.
Diced potatoes can be reheated in a pot of simmering water or microwave, or added directly to a soup or stew. Frozen baked potatoes can also be placed directly in the oven for heating. Because you partially cooked the potatoes before freezing, take care to not overcook them.
If you need to prepare whole potatoes from frozen, you may need to thaw it prior to preparing it. You can do this by baking it in the oven for about 30 minutes, or by using your microwave’s defrost cycle. Once thawed, you should be able to prepare and cook your potato as normal.
As you can see, there are so many ways to freeze raw potatoes. You have different choices in terms of how to prepare the spuds for long-term storage. Now that you know how can you freeze raw potatoes, why not keep lots of spuds for future cooking?