Originating from modern-day Peru, potatoes have been a culinary staple worldwide. After years of domestication, we can now find them in diverse varieties with specific textures and culinary purposes.
Potatoes are one of the most versatile vegetables. They can be easily cooked into a wide range of main dishes, side dishes, snacks, and even alcoholic beverages, like vodka!
If you just got a great deal from your local grocery store or harvested a plentiful amount from your garden, you might want to preserve them for later. You might be wondering: how do you freeze potatoes for French fries? Or, can you freeze baked potatoes?
Absolutely, yes. Freezing is always an easy and convenient way to preserve most food items, including potatoes. You can freeze them in various ways depending on how you want to use them later.
In this article, we share the simple guides to freeze whole potatoes and French fries, among other things. So, read on!
Various Ways To Freeze Potatoes
Raw potatoes don’t freeze well because they contain a lot of water. You need to fully or partially cook them before freezing to preserve their incredible quality. Otherwise, they turn black and soggy after thawing.
The quality of end results may vary depending on the variety and their age before freezing. So, choose the right type for specific dishes you want to cook later on.
Regardless of the type, always select potatoes with firm flesh, smooth skin, and free sprouts and bad spots. Avoid ones that look underripe (with green appearances), wrinkled, have soft spots, and deep cuts.
In this article, we share several ways to freeze potatoes:
– Freezing potatoes for French fries
– Freezing whole, smaller potatoes
– Freezing cooked potatoes (mashed, fried, baked, etc.)
How To Freeze Potatoes For French Fries
The most suitable varieties for French fries are New Irish, Russet, or Idaho potatoes as they have a dry, mealy texture.
Here is how to prepare quick and easy freezer French fries at home.
1. Select fully mature potatoes which have been stored for a month.
2. Wash them thoroughly under running water and scrub them with a vegetable brush to get rid of any dirt.
3. Peel or leave the peels on.
4. Cut into 3/8 to ½ inch (1to 1.25 cm) strips.
5. Rinse in cold water to remove the surface starch and dry thoroughly with a paper towel.
6. Next, they can be cooked by blanching, baking, or frying.
Water Blanching. In boiling water, cook potato strips for 2 minutes. Next, plunge them immediately into an ice water bath and allow them to cool for 2 minutes. Drain and dry them completely.
Baking. On a lined baking sheet, spread the potato strips in a single layer and brush with melted butter or oil. Preheat the oven to 450 °F and bake until tender.
Frying. Deep fry potato strips in hot oil at 360 °F until fork-tender, but not brown. Fry a small amount at a time and avoid overcrowding the pan.
7. After they are cool enough, spread them on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet in a single layer.
8. Pre-freeze for several hours or overnight to allow the strips to freeze individually instead of in a big clump.
9. Once frozen, remove from the freezer and divide into serving sizes for packaging.
10. Pack in a zip-top freezer bag or in a freezer-safe container.
11. Suck out excess air, seal the package tightly and label with the content, quantity, and freezing date.
12. Finally, place it in the freezer.
How To Freeze Whole Smaller Potatoes
Having packs of frozen whole potatoes is a ticket for convenient, hassle-free meals. They can be turned into a variety of delicious dishes, from hearty soups and stews, easy frittata, casseroles, and many more.
Choose small, waxy types such as Red or Yukon Gold. For best results, freeze them as soon as harvested.
1. Wash them under running water. Scrub gently and remove any dirt.
2. Peel them or leave the skins on.
3. Sort them out according to sizes.
4. Bring a large pot of water into a rolling boil and prepare a large bowl filled with icy water.
5. Blanch them for the following times.
o 4 to 6 minutes for small pieces (with 1 to 1.5 inch in diameter)
o 8 to 10 minutes for larger ones
Make sure each one is submerged in boiling water. If working with a large quantity, blanch them in batches and avoid overcrowding the pot. They should be heated all the way entirely through the center. Otherwise, inadequate blanching won’t stop enzyme reactions and turn them black.
6. After blanching, transfer them to the ice water bath immediately to stop the cooking.
7. Let them cool completely. The general rule is to leave blanched vegetables for the same amount of time for blanching.
8. Once they are cool enough, divide them into portion sizes and pack them in a freezer bag or freezer-safe container.
9. Leave the headspace and seal it securely.
10. Write the content, amount, and freezing date.
11. Transfer the package to the freezer.
How To Freeze Cooked Potatoes (Mashed, Scalloped, Baked, etc.)
Potatoes are fantastic to cook into various tasty freezer meals. Check the simple steps of freezing them for busy weeknights dinner.
Freezing mashed potatoes. Prepare the dish as usual, cool promptly, and shape into ½ inch thick patties. Place them on a baking sheet and pre-freeze for a few hours. Once frozen, pack them in a freezer bag, remove excess air out of the bag, and seal it tightly.
Freezing baked or stuffed potatoes. Make as usual and cool promptly. Wrap in aluminum foil and pack in a freezer bag. Suck out excess air and seal the bag tightly.
Freezing scalloped potatoes or potato casseroles. Prepare and cook until slightly undercooked (almost tender and light brown). Leave it in the baking dish and cool promptly in the refrigerator. Cover with moisture-resistant paper, wrap in aluminum foil, and freeze.
How To Defrost and Use Frozen Potatoes
Frozen potatoes are super convenient to use. In general, they can be cooked or reheated without thawing. If you need to thaw them out first, you can do it safely in the refrigerator, in the microwave, or in a large bowl of cold water.
Frozen French fries. To cook frozen French fries, you can bake them unthawed in a preheated oven at 425 °F for 20 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Flip them halfway through the baking. Be careful not to overheat them. Or, deep fry them in hot oil at 350 °F for 3 to 4 minutes on each side.
Frozen mashed potatoes. To serve, simply fry them in butter or vegetable oil or reheat in a microwave oven—no need to defrost them first.
Frozen baked or stuffed potatoes. To reheat them, unwrap and bake them unthawed at 400 to 425 °F until thoroughly heated.
Frozen scalloped potatoes. Shortly before serving, simply bake them unthawed at 400 °F until the interior reaches 165 °F.
Frozen whole potatoes. If you want to cook them, simply add them frozen in the pan—no need to thaw them out.
How Long Do Potatoes Last In The Freezer?
Potatoes’ shelf life in the freezer varies depending on
freezing methods. Whole potatoes retain the quality for up to 10 to12 months after freezing. Freezer fries are best to enjoy within 6 months, while fully cooked potatoes preserve their maximum freshness for up to 2 to 4 weeks.
|Whole (Water blanched)||10 to 12 months|
|French fries (water blanched, baked, fried)||6 months|
|Cooked (mashed, scalloped, casseroles, baked, stuffed)||2 to 4 weeks|
It depends. Freezing potato salad is somewhat controversial but not impossible to do. If it is prepared with mayonnaise, the final result won’t be as pleasing as the dressing tends to break down and turn watery. German-style salad freezes better because it is prepared with vinegar-based dressing instead of creamy mayo.
Yes and no. If we’re talking about accidentally frozen raw potatoes, they likely turn dark and mushy after thawing. But, if they were blanched, cooked, and appropriately frozen, yes, they are as incredible as fresh ones. Check our tips above on freezing the starchy tuber!
Because they were frozen raw or weren’t thoroughly blanched. Inadequate blanching didn’t stop enzyme reactions during freezing. Thus, the final product turns black after thawing.
Frozen potatoes are an all-time staple item for hassle-free meals. While commercially prepared products are abundant, you can also freeze them at home. It’s a great way to prolong shelf life before they start sprouting as well as a time-saving hack to prepare your favorite dishes. Check our tips above to freeze potatoes in various forms!
*image by Rawlik/depositphotos