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 have a handy How to Blanch Potatoes printable for you at the end of this tutorial.
I grow potatoes every year (read more in my post How to Grow Potatoes). 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. Plus we are constantly opening the doors and going in and out.
My potatoes can last a couple months but after that they start to sprout and get soft.
This year I actually have one row of potatoes in the garden and I think that there won’t be too many of them to freeze from what I’ll harvest, but my neighbors (I have the best neighbors!) just stopped by with a huge bag of potatoes the other day and I think that once I preserve all of them I’ll be all set for the whole year as far as potatoes!
After thinking about how to preserve the massive amount of potatoes I decided to freeze them for 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.
Blanching Potatoes For Freezing…
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.
This process allows us to make sure that our food will last longer in the freezer. Blanching 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 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 from variety to 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.
How to Blanch Potatoes…
Ok, so I started with this bag of beautiful potatoes that my neighbor gave me. These are Kennebec potatoes and you can see that they have already started to sprout. So to make sure I can enjoy them I either had to cook and eat a sack of potatoes within a couple of weeks or blanch and freeze them.
First, I washed my potatoes. Then, I went ahead and peeled them. It always seems to me that even if I wash my potatoes before I peel them they still get a bit dirty so I always give them another quick wash after they are peeled.
Next, we have to cut the potatoes. I went ahead and cut them into fries but you don’t have to. You can cut half inch round pieces or cube them. Whatever you like just make sure your pieces are not too thick.
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 with water on the stove top and bring it to a boil.
When the water is boiling, 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 3-5 minutes. I usually go for three minutes.
Before you drop your potatoes into the boiling water, you also want to make sure that you have a large bowl filled with cold water and some ice ready on the counter by the stove.
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.
I let the potatoes swim in the ice water for a few minutes and from there I scoop them onto a clean kitchen towel and pat them dry.
I line a sheet pan with parchment paper and set the potatoes in one layer on the baking sheet. Then I cover this layer with another piece of parchment paper and add another layer of fries. You can do as many layers as you’d like, just make sure that there is parchment paper between the layers.
Also, make sure that there is another piece of parchment paper covering the last layer. Wrap the whole thing in plastic food wrap and place it in the freezer.
We do this to make sure 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.
I let my potatoes stay in the freezer overnight to make sure all the layers were completely frozen.
The last step is to bag the frozen potatoes. I just remove the baking sheet from the freezer and simply place the fries in a bag dividing them into portions according to what I want to cook later. I try to work quickly so they don’t completely thaw.
Now that we have all those bags of frozen potatoes in the freezer, let’s see how we can use them…
How to Use Frozen Potatoes…
If you made french fries as I did, all you have to do is…
- Heat your oven to 450 F.
- Oil a baking sheet with olive oil.
- Get your bag of potatoes from the freezer, set the potatoes in one layer on the baking sheet.
- Add some more oil on top of the potatoes (it’s easier if you can spray your oil…).
- And 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.
This is not hard but it is a process. My tips for you are to work in batches and not blanch too many potatoes at the same time. Don’t place too many of them in the boiling water at the same time. If you need to keep them from turning brown while you are cutting them, remember to use a bowl of cool water and place the pieces that are ready in it.
I also make sure to buy ice at the store before I process potatoes. I can’t freeze enough ice so I just place a big bag of ice in my deep freezer and grab a bowl of ice to add to the bowl of cool water.
Lastly, remember that you can do the same thing with sweet potatoes as well!
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!
Lastly, my friend Rachel at Grow a Good Life also has a great post about freezing french fries so make sure you check it out here if you need more information.
- 10 potatoes
- A bag of ice
- A large bowl for ice water
- A large pot for blanching
- A slotted spoon to scoop potatoes from water
- A clean kitchen towel
- A 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.
- 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.
- Cover the last layer of potatoes with another piece of parchment paper and 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 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 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.