Cooked potatoes make the best candidates for freezing. Raw potatoes can be frozen with mixed results, but may develop a watery or grainy texture during freezing. If freezing casseroles or dishes containing unbaked potatoes, it's best to omit them during freezing and add them in fresh later. Cooked potatoes are excellent candidates for freezing and reheating.
Raw (Fresh) Potatoes:
New potatoes work best for freezing raw. Select smooth, firm potatoes from the supermarket or get them directly from the garden. Peel or scrape and wash. Remove any deep eyes, bruises or green coloring form the flesh. Cut into 1/2 inch slices or cubes. Water-blanch for 3 to 5 minutes, depending on the size. Potatoes should still be somewhat firm after blanching. Cool and drain. Pack in freezer bags leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Label, seal and freeze. Potatoes can also be boiled whole with the skins on before being frozen. Cook until nearly done. Remove, cool and peel off skins. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in freezer bags. Seal, label and freeze. To prepare, finish cooking in water or microwave.
French Fried Potatoes:
Use mature potatoes (stored longer than 30 days) for making fresh fried potatoes. Wash and peel potatoes. Cut them into 1/3-inch sticks lengthwise, then crosswise into 3/8-inch strips. Rinse in cold water and dry thoroughly on paper towels. Fry small amounts in deep, hot oil (360ºF) for about 5 minutes. Potatoes should be tender but not brown. Drain on paper towel. Cool. Package, seal and freeze. Store frozen for 2 months. To serve, finish browning in 425ºF oven or fry in oil. Another method is to place the potato strips in a plastic bag with salt and oil. Shake the bag until the strips are fully coated. Bake them in an oven preheated to 425º until they are golden brown. Cool, package and freeze. Store frozen for 2 months. Reheat in oven until warm.
Hashed Brown Potatoes:
For hashed browned potatoes, prepare as you would to serve, only brown them only to the brown-and-serve stage. Cool and package for freezing. Store frozen for one to 2 months. When you want to use them, finish cooking and browning as you would normally.
Prepare mashed potatoes as for serving. Cool. Pack in airtight containers for freezing. Alternatively, spoon individual servings of mashed potatoes onto baking sheets and tray-freeze until firm. Once firm, transfer into suitable containers and freeze. Remove individual mounds as needed. Store in the freezer for 1 month. Thaw mashed potatoes in microwave safe container.
Twice Baked or Stuffed Potatoes:
To stuff baked potatoes, remove the cooked potato from the skin, mash it and add seasonings or desired fillings. Return potato to the skin, piling lightly. Wrap each potato with plastic individually, then place in freezer bags. Store in the freezer for 1 month. Potatoes can be removed from wrappers and baked for 30 minutes at 425ºF. After 15 to 20 minutes in the oven, top each potato with grated cheese if desired.
Wash and peel. Cook until almost tender. Cool. Leave whole, or cut into halves, slices or mash. Dip halves or slices into a solution of 1/2 cup of lemon juice or 1 tablespoon of ascorbic acid to 1 quart water for 5 seconds. This will keep flesh from darkening. To keep mashed sweet potatoes from darkening during freezing, add 2 tablespoons of orange or lemon juice to each quart of mashed potatoes. Pack in suitable container and freeze.
Suitable Freezer Packaging:
Freezer containers should be moisture and vapor resistant and should not be prone to cracking or breaking at low temperatures. Containers should provide protection against absorbing flavors or odors and should be easy to label. Suitable packaging for freezing potatoes includes freezer-grade plastic bags, rigid plastic containers or glass containers and heavy-duty aluminum foil or foil containers.
Leftover cooked potatoes can be stored in sealed plastic bags or airtight containers for 2 to 3 days. Fresh, whole potatoes should be placed in a well ventilated container and stored in a cool, dark, moist place for 2 to 4 months. Do not refrigerate potatoes or keep them in plastic bags. Cure home grown potatoes for several days after harvesting in a warm, dark place before storage. This toughens up their skins and extends their storage time.
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