How to Freeze Potatoes

When it comes to learning the basics of how to freeze potatoes keep in mind that it's a good idea to blanch them first. Blanching is the act of dipping raw vegetables into boiling water for a limited time to retain the nutritional value and to stop the enzymes that cause vegetables to age. Blanching also can preserve the color of the vegetable, and it's the key to good frozen potatoes.

Freezing Sweet Potatoes or Yams: Choose sweet potatoes or yams that have a deep, rich color. Most yams are orange, but yams also grow in various shades from yellow and red to purple. When freezing yams or sweet potatoes, the color will be preserved along with the nutrients and flavor. Yams can be baked or boiled, and then frozen, with little change in the texture or taste of the vegetable. Just wrap the yam whole with the skins intact in plastic wrap or freezer paper, label the item and pop it into the freezer.

While you can freeze vegetables for up to one year, it's best to check frozen sweet potatoes often for freezer burn and discoloration. You should also use frozen yams within the same year they are frozen. In other words, if the yams are frozen in the fall, make sure you eat them that winter.

Freezing Regular Potatoes: Potatoes such as Yukon Golds, Idaho Bakers or Pontiac Reds can also be frozen. While the texture will change, the nutritional value will be retained as long as you blanch the potatoes before freezing them.

Cut the potatoes into one-inch cubes, and then place them into a colander that can be lowered into boiling water. Make sure the amount of potatoes is not such that the water cannot return to boiling within one minute, or your potatoes will be overcooked by the time they blanch adequately. Blanch the potatoes in boiling water for about three to six minutes, depending on the size of the potato, or heat until the potato is soft-firm and cooked through.

Immediately plunge the blanched potatoes into ice water, and cool them for about 10 minutes or until completely cool. You should use ice water, not cold water, to stop cooking completely. As long as the potatoes are heated, they are continuing to cook.

Pull the colander from the ice water, and allow the potatoes to drain for about three minutes. Freeze the potato cubes on cookie sheets for about an hour, and then pack them into freezer bags. The advantage to freezing the potato cubes on cookie sheets means the potatoes will not stick together, making it much easier to remove individual potatoes rather than having to use the entire bag at once.

Discard vegetables that have freezer burn or are discolored, and always label frozen foods with the date you placed them into the freezer and the date you feel they should be eaten by. Two to three months is ideal.

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