Potatoes have shaped western gastronomy since the days of the Columbian exchange. There is hardly any country in Europe (or at least Western Europe) and America that doesn’t include potatoes in its most iconic dishes, and it has even been posited that it was the introduction of this starchy tuber that was responsible, in great part, for the development of Old World urbanization in the 18th century. Potatoes also prove themselves to be a great source of potassium, fiber, and complex carbs (which are better for weight control in comparison to simple carbs). rendering them a staple of many diet regimes. Nevertheless, potatoes also tend to go bad rather aggressively. So, if you have bought too much potatoes in your latest grocery shopping, these questions could be in your mind. Can you freeze potatoes whole? How long do potatoes last in the fridge? How to cook frozen potatoes?
Yes, you can freeze fresh potatoes in whole or raw form. But uncooked potatoes won’t freeze well. You have to cook them, either partially or completely. Notwithstanding, it’s not really such a complicated endeavor.
Before you begin the freezing process, you need to sort the potatoes and discard the ones that look “shady”. Wash and peel the potatoes you selected, removing any impurities.
Since cooked potatoes freezes better, begin the freezing process by cooking them, at least partially. There are various approaches to this:
The first method I’ll be disclosing is boiling. Have a bowl of ice water handy. Slice the potatoes into any size and shape you prefer and, afterward, toss them into a pot of boiling water. Wait until their texture becomes tender but firm at the same time, withdraw them, and quickly throw them into the bowl of ice water to prevent them from completely cooking. After a few minutes in the ice water, put them in a colander or strainer to drain all the excess water and let them cool off for a while. Next, place the potatoes on a tray and push them into the freezer until they’re frozen solid. Transfer to an airtight freezer bag, squeeze to remove the air from inside the bag and seal the boiled potatoes before storing in the freezer.
Alternatively, you can roast the potatoes. Follow all the steps indicated above right until it’s time to drain in the colander. Remove from the colander and throw them on a pan with heated oil of fat, allowing them to be coated. Lastly, resume the freezing process outlined above for these roasted potatoes.
You can also make mashed potatoes directly. After you’ve prepared them, wait a bit until they cool off, pour single-serving portions into airtight bags, and stow mashed potatoes in the freezer.
It’s very important to make sure that no air is left inside the containers where you place the potatoes for freezing, as its presence is what produces those annoying freezer burns that damage the food’s quality.
Provided that you followed the steps highlighted above to a tee, the potatoes should not be affected dramatically. Some quality loss is inevitable, but, overall, they’ll still be enjoyable, assuming you don’t leave them sitting in the freezer for too long.
It’s not recommended that you refreeze potatoes. It’s important to thaw only the portions that are to be consumed, leaving the rest in the freezer. Nonetheless, if you absolutely need to refreeze the potatoes, make sure at least that they’ve not been left outside at room temperature for longer than 2 hours, or that they’ve not been reheated.
Potatoes should remain safe to eat within 3 or 4 days of fridge time, with the refrigerator set to 40º F or below. After that time, they will surely experience spoilage and should be thrown out.
The amount of time they last in the freezer in optimal quality depends heavily on the method employed for cooking. Mashed potatoes are better consumed before the first month of freezing, while roasted potatoes can endure a lot longer, lasting up to a full year without considerable quality loss, in the freezer.
Boiled potatoes react in a similar way to the freezer, being able to resist quality loss between 10 and 12 months of freezing. Beyond the timeframes, I just mentioned, they’ll still be safe to consume, as the bacterial activity responsible for causing rot is interrupted. The freezer should be set to 0º F or below.
We only recommend thawing the potatoes when they’ve been mashed. You can let them rest in the fridge overnight, submerge the unopened bags under cold water or empty the portions in a microwave-friendly bowl and use the microwave’s defrost function. It’s highly recommended to set the microwave to defrost first – even if you plan on reheating the potatoes in the same microwave later on – and occasionally stir the mash, for that guarantees that it will remain consistent and the moisture is properly absorbed.
In the case of boiled or roasted potatoes, it’s preferable to cook them in their frozen state, since you risk them turning soggy, especially for potato chips.
In the case of boiled potatoes, you can also consider thawing them slightly if the slices are too large. For that purpose, you can rinse them under cold running water for a bit before tossing them in the boiling pot.