In this post, we will go over the simple process of blanching potatoes before freezing. If you have some potatoes to preserve and you would like to freeze them it’s a good idea to blanch them before placing them in the freezer. Blanching potatoes will ensure that they stay firm and keep their taste for a long period of time in the freezer.
I grow potatoes every year. Even though they take some work and the bugs love them, they are completely worth the effort. Not only they are filling and delicious they also keep very well in storage.
Unfortunately, I do not have a root cellar yet and it’s pretty warm in my house even if the AC is on during the summer because we are constantly opening the doors and going in and out. My potatoes can last a couple of months but after that, they start to sprout and get soft.
Blanching Potatoes For Freezing…
I was thinking about how to preserve my potatoes and decided to freeze them as french fries because my kids can never get enough french fries. I usually make baked fries because I hate frying so it’s really a healthy and super simple dish. I’ll tell you how I make it when we talk about how to use your frozen potatoes.
What is Blanching?
Blanching is the process of cooking the potatoes (or any other vegetable) in boiling water for just a couple of minutes before freezing them. It stops enzyme action that can cause loss of flavor, texture, and color. Blanching also helps retain vitamins and cleans the surface of the food of bacteria.
Blanching is a very important part of the preserving process especially if you know that your food is going to spend months in the freezer.
Freezing Potatoes Without Blanching…
I will admit that in the past, I got lazy a few times with a few different kinds of vegetables and just stuck them in a bag and sent them to the freezer. I found that it’s ok if I use them within a couple of months, but if they stay any longer in the freezer they lose their taste and texture and aren’t as great. Potatoes also lose their color (they turn a little brown) and honestly, it’s not very appetizing…
It’s always recommended to blanch vegetables before freezing and if your vegetables are going to spend months in the freezer it really makes a difference. It’s worth taking the little bit of extra time to do it.
What Kinds of Potatoes Can You Freeze…
Always choose potatoes that have been cured and in storage for at least a month. In other words, don’t blanch and freeze your potatoes right after you harvested them. They need time to cure and harden.
On the other hand, the longer the potatoes are in storage the more of their starch converts to sugar. If you blanch and freeze very old potatoes you will still be able to eat them but they might be better for things like mashed potatoes or another dish where you’ll want them soft. If you try to make french fries from them they might not hold that crunchiness that most of us like when eating french fries.
The same goes for the variety of potatoes you freeze. For french fries, go with varieties like Kennebec or Yukon Gold. For dishes where you’ll want your potatoes soft, varieties with thin skin like fingerling and red potatoes will work better.
The bottom line is, you can blanch and freeze every kind of potato but how you use them later might change depending on the variety. Make sure you label your bags so you know what’s inside.
Also, remember that you can blanch sweet potatoes in this way as well. I love blanching sweet potatoes and freezing them like french fries for my favorite oven baked sweet potato fries.
Tools For Blanching Potatoes…
You are going to need to gather a few things before you blanch your potatoes. First, if you are going to cut them and freeze them as french fries, make sure that you have a vegetable peeler, a knife, and a cutting board. If you are processing many potatoes, you might want to store the potatoes that you already cut in a large bowl of water so they won’t brown.
Next, you’ll need a large pot to boil water in. A slotted spoon will help you to add the potatoes to the water and also fish them out of the boiling water. From the boiling water, you’ll add the potatoes into a large bowl with ice water (make sure to get some ice. I buy a large bag of it at the closest country store)
From the ice water, you’ll move your potatoes onto a large kitchen towel to dry. Then on to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Lastly, you’ll need bags to store the potatoes in. These can be produce bags or just ziplock bags.
How to Blanch Potatoes…
Step 1 – Prep your potatoes. These are Kennebec potatoes which are my favorite kind of potato. They are great for freezing and great for homemade french fries.
Wash your potatoes and peel them. Then give them another good rinse.
Next, cut your potatoes into french fries. This is how I like to freeze my potatoes since we like baked fries, however, you can cut half-inch round pieces or cube your potatoes. However you like to do it is fine, just make sure your pieces are not too thick or too thin.
I recommend that you don’t process too many potatoes at a time. I did something like 15 or 20. Still, it took some time to get all of them peeled and cut, so to make sure that the ones I already cut don’t just sit there on the cutting board and turn brown while I worked on the rest, I put all the fries in a bowl filled with cool water. The water keeps them from turning brown.
While you work on cutting your potatoes, place a large pot of water on the stovetop and bring it to a boil. Also, fill another large mixing bowl with cold water and place it on the counter close to the stove. Make sure your ice is ready. You’ll add it to this bowl later.
Step 2 – boil the potatoes. When the water is boiling in the pot, add a batch of potatoes to the pot. The water will stop boiling for a moment. Once it starts boiling again we want to process the potatoes for 3 minutes. While the potatoes are in the boiling water, add ice to the bowl of cold water.
Step 3 – transfer the potatoes into the ice bath. Once the three minutes are up, scoop your potatoes with a slotted spoon from the pot of water right into the bowl of ice water. This stops the cooking process so the potatoes don’t turn too soft.
Step 4 – dry the potatoes. Let the potatoes swim in the ice water for a few minutes and from there scoop them onto a clean kitchen towel and pat them dry.
Step 5 – freeze the potatoes. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and set the potatoes in one layer on the baking sheet. Then, cover this layer with another piece of parchment paper and add another layer of potatoes. You can do as many layers as you’d like, just make sure that there is parchment paper between the layers. Wrap the whole thing in plastic food wrap and place it in the freezer.
It’s important to freeze the potatoes this way first so that the pieces of potatoes don’t stick to each other. If we just stick them in a bag after we dry them they are all going to stick together and it will be very hard to use the frozen potatoes later.
Step 6 – pack the potatoes. Let the potatoes stay in the freezer overnight to make sure all the layers are completely frozen. Then, remove the baking sheet from the freezer and place the fries in a bag dividing them into portions. Place the bags back in the freezer and you are done!
How to Use Frozen Potatoes…
If you’re making french fries as I do, all you have to do is…
- Heat your oven to 450 degrees F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Get your bag of frozen fries from the freezer, set the potatoes in one layer on the baking sheet.
- Spray your fries with olive oil or just drizzle it over the potatoes.
- Bake for around 35 minutes or until done to your liking.
- Once you remove the potatoes from the oven, season them while they are still hot. I like to season with salt and garlic powder and sometimes black pepper.
- Serve while still hot, of course!
If you froze your potatoes for any other dish where they need to be soft (like mashed potatoes), place your frozen potatoes in a pot of water and boil until soft. Then do whatever you want to do with them.
I hope you grow a whole lot of potatoes this year and I hope you have plenty to blanch and freeze. It really makes an easy dinner dish!
More Freezing Posts on The Blog…
- 10 potatoes
- A bag of ice
- Large bowl for ice water
- Large pot for blanching
- Slotted spoon to scoop potatoes from water
- Clean kitchen towel
- Sheet pan
- Parchment paper
- Plastic food wrap
- Wash your potatoes.
- Peel and cut your potatoes as french fries or any other way you desire according to how you are going to use them later and the kind of potatoes you are using. Just make sure your pieces are not too thick or too thin.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- Also, set a large bowl filled with water and ice on the counter next to the stove.
- When the water is boiling, add your potatoes in batches. Wait a few moments until the water starts boiling again and then let the potatoes cook for 3 minutes.
- Use your slotted spoon to scoop your potatoes from the boiling water right into the bowl of ice water. Leave the potatoes in the ice water for a few minutes. This will stop the cooking process.
- Use your slotted spoon to scoop your potatoes from the ice water onto a clean kitchen towel and pat your potatoes dry.
- Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and set your potatoes in one layer on the sheet. Cover the first layer with another piece of parchment paper and set another layer on top. Keep going until all your potatoes are on the sheet in a single layer separated by parchment paper.
- Wrap the potatoes and pan in plastic food wrap.
- Place the sheet pan in the freezer overnight or for a few hours until all of your potatoes are completely frozen.
- Remove the sheet pan from the freezer and transfer the potatoes to freezer bags in your desired portions. Place back in the freezer.
If you froze your potatoes as french fries don't thaw them before cooking them.
If you are going to bake them, oil a sheet pan, set the potatoes in one layer on the pan, oil the potatoes (it's easy to spray them) with the oil of your choice and bake in a 450 degrees F preheated oven for around 35 minutes or until they are done for your liking. Season with salt, garlic powder, black pepper or any other seasoning that you like and serve hot.
If you are going to fry them, lower them into a 350 degrees F preheated oil while they are still frozen. Once done, season and serve hot.
If you plan to use your potatoes for a dish where they need to be soft, for example mashed potatoes, place them in a pot of water and boil until they are soft, then use as desired.