The thought of preserving potatoes used to scare me. I thought it would be far more complicated than it actually turned out to be. I like to buy potatoes in bulk when I find them on sale, but unless you have a root cellar, potatoes aren’t going to last much longer than 2-3 weeks without preserving them in some way. Since I don't have a root cellar, I had to learn other ways to preserve potatoes in order to take advantage of great prices (like $1.59 for 10 lbs at Aldi!).
These are the methods that I use the most.
How you prepare potatoes for the freezer will depend on what form you want to freeze them in.
This is pretty simple. Boil the potatoes, mash them, and freeze them. Voila!
You can’t put anything into the potatoes before freezing them. No butter, salt, pepper….nothing! You’ll do all of that when you actually use them.
To use simply thaw in the fridge or microwave, stir in butter, salt, pepper and anything else you’d like with your potatoes, and serve.
I like to do this in a big batch and freeze dinner sized servings in Ziploc bags.
Note: Sometimes the potatoes can get a little watery when reheated. I just drain off any water before adding in all the extras.
Wash and peel the potatoes. Depending on the size of the potatoes you’ll want to either half or quarter them. You don’t want the pieces to be too big or they’ll take forever to cook, but you don’t want them to be too small either or they’ll be hard to shred.
Boil the potato pieces until “al dente” (or soft enough to put a fork through, but not so soft that they fall apart). When done, drain well.
Place in the fridge for a few hours, or overnight. When nice and chilled, use a food processor or a hand-held shredder to shred the cooked potatoes.
Spread the shredded potatoes onto a cookie sheet that fits in your freezer. Place in the freezer for about an hour, or until frozen through.
Transfer frozen shredded potatoes to Ziploc freezer bags or freezer containers. Break them apart if you need to and pack them pretty tightly.
To use: Simply thaw in the fridge and cook as you would freshly shredded potatoes.
You’ll need: pot of boiling water, pot of ice cold water.
If you’re not sure how you’ll want to use your potatoes in the future then this is the best method for freezing them. When you freeze the potatoes whole you can use them pretty much however you would prepare them fresh. You can’t bake them, unfortunately, but that’s about it.
I suggest using smaller potatoes for this method. You don’t want to cut the potatoes if you can help it and larger potatoes don’t blanch well. So don’t use big baking potatoes for this method.
You’ll want to peel and wash the potatoes really well. Blanch them in a pot of boiling water for 3-5 minutes, depending on the size. The larger the potato the longer you’ll want to blanch it. Don’t overblanch! That’s worse than not blanching at all.
Remove from the boiling water and immediately plunge into the ice water. Let sit in the ice water for 5-10 minutes. Drain and pack into Ziploc freezer bags or freezer containers. Remove as much air as you can. Too much air causes freezer burn. Yuck!
To use: Once thawed you can use whole potatoes to roast, boil for mashed potatoes, shred for hash browns, toss in a stew…pretty much anything you would do with a fresh potato.
This is my preferred method for preserving potatoes. I’ve found that when cooking dehydrated potatoes they taste just like fresh potatoes. Frozen potatoes can sometimes have a weird texture or flavor, but I’ve yet to taste anything strange with dehydrated ones.
It is a bit more work, but it’s worth it.
You’ll need: a dehydrator, big pot, food processor or hand held shredder.
Wash and peel your potatoes. Depending on the size of the potato you’ll want to halve or quarter it. You want your potato pieces to be roughly the same size.
Put all of the potato pieces into a large stock pot of water and boil until just soft enough to poke a fork through them. You don’t want them too soft, so don’t overcook them.
Drain well and store overnight in the refrigerator.
The next morning use a food processor or a hand-held shredder to shred the potatoes.
Line your dehydrator trays with tray liners so that the potatoes don’t fall through or stick to the tray (I use these). Spread the shredded potatoes onto the trays. It’s ok if they overlap and touch.
Dehydrate at 125 degrees for 8-10 hours. The potatoes will look translucent and be crispy when they are done.
Store in an airtight container.
If you want to learn to dehydrate most any kind of food, I highly recommend Dehydrate2Store.com. They know their stuff! Everything I know about dehydrating I learned from there! J
To use: I take out the amount that I need to use, cover with water in a bowl and soak it for a few minutes until they are rehydrated. At that point I will either fry them up as hash browns, boil a bit longer and mash for potatoes, or toss them in a soup or stew. These are GREAT in potato soup!
If you prefer to store your potatoes in jars on a shelf then this is the method for you. I used to can potatoes all the time, and still do if I know that I will be using them for certain things like beef stew, potato salad, and such where I want big chunks of potatoes.
In order to can potatoes you will need a pressure canner. You can’t process potatoes in a water bath canner, they will spoil.
This method at PickYourOwn.org is the method I use to can potatoes. It is super easy!
Equipment That I Use
If you don't have equipment for preserving your fruits and vegetables, here's a list of the things that I use and recommend.
I bought one of these when Amazon had a big sale and I LOVE the thing! It costs a pretty penny, but it is totally worth it. If it's a bit much for the budget, there are less expensive alternatives that work just as well. T-Fal offers one that has great reviews and is very reasonably priced.
I have this little black box of awesomeness that my amazing friend GAVE to me. I am still doing happy dances! This is a workhorse dehydrator. I love it!
I use these - for almost everything! I freeze things in them, use them for storing leftovers, send them to work with my husband filled with soup, and half a dozen other things. If it needs a container, these are my go to.