Yes, you can absolutely freeze boiled potatoes, albeit with slightly different results depending on the type. That said, whichever you use, you can expect at least a subtle change in texture and flavor once defrosted as extreme temperatures denature enzymes in food.
Having some pre-cooked potatoes on hand in a kitchen can be a huge help in a time-sensitive situation. Moreover, by freezing your starchy friends, you can take their refrigerated shelf life of around a week and multiply it 12 to 16 times. That’s right, potatoes will be perfectly fine to defrost and eat three to four months after their freeze date.
Their cryogenic suitability is especially helpful in commercial kitchens where most cooked food has a maximum refrigerated shelf life of three days. Chefs can simply save their excess stock at peak freshness to serve another day in a hearty casserole or stew.
Let’s have a look at which potatoes are more suited to freezing than others.
Due to their low moisture content, waxy potatoes will survive the freezing process with a minimal amount of textural change and loss of flavor; white, yellow, and red potatoes are the ones to look for. If you’re unsure what constitutes a waxy potato, ask yourself if it’s good for making fluffy mash and soft chips. If it is, then it’s not a waxy variety.
It’s also best to avoid using any potatoes with eyes, sprouts, cracks, soft areas, or that greenish patina you often see in jacket potatoes on their last limbs; it’s called solanine and it can cause nausea, headaches, and neurological problems if eaten in large quantities.
Right, let’s get down to business and check out the optimal freezing process for potatoes.
How To Freeze Boiled Potatoes
Cooking and Cooling
First things first. Put a pan of water on a strong flame. While you’re waiting for that to start bubbling, check your potatoes for quality, removing any sprouts or eyes. Next, give them a really good wash in fresh, cold water. Your potatoes don’t have to be completely uniform in size; however, if there are some that are significantly larger, feel free to halve or quarter them. They’ll still freeze fine and you need them to cook at roughly the same rate.
Once you’ve brought your water to the boil, carefully slide in the potatoes and cook for around 6 to 10 minutes, 5 to 7 minutes if peeled. You need them to be cooked through but firm. The best way to check if they’re ready is to remove one from the water and cut it in half. The cooked area will be a pale ring, while the raw center of the potato will be a slightly darker hue. As soon as your dark center is completely gone, they should be drained immediately and cooled in ice water or cold flowing water.
Once your potatoes are cold right through to the center, drain them thoroughly, as excess ice crystals will damage them in the freezer. Place a sheet of baking paper on a tray and place your potatoes on the sheet making sure none are touching. All you need to do now is pop them in the freezer until they’re frozen through.
When you’re ready, you can re-package them in a more convenient container or separate them out into portions using freezer bags. This way they won’t freeze into a giant clump. Be sure to label your new containers with the date.
How to Defrost Boiled Potatoes
To defrost your boiled potatoes, you need to take them from the freezer and place them in a refrigerator with a temperature setting between 5 and 8 degrees. Even a small quantity will defrost surprisingly slowly in a fridge so it’s best to plan ahead and leave them to defrost overnight. Keep in mind that a large container of potatoes may take a night and a day to fully defrost.
When it comes to defrosting food, the slower the better! A gradual defrosting process will reduce the amount of bacterial growth that can cause illness.
If you cut your potatoes into smaller pieces when you cooked and froze them, they can be added straight to a pot for cooking. They’ll cook through quickly and any bacteria will be destroyed by the heat.
So, there you are, the full process, but is there anything to consider before you go ahead and fill your whole freezer full of rock hard spuds? Let’s discuss the factors.
Factors to Consider Before Freezing
How Will They Change?
Just as heating something can really bring out and accentuate flavor and overheating can embitter and burn, freezing will also alter the flavor profile of your food.
You’re defrosted potatoes probably won’t have as smooth a consistency as freshly cooked potatoes, and the flavor might be a little subdued, or in some circumstances, absent.
Due to this slight deterioration, it’s best to use defrosted potatoes in dishes with other strong flavors that can envelop the potato and divert attention.
Although frozen potatoes will keep for up to 4 months, they’re at their best during the first month of storage.
This is a rule that applies to any food. Once something is defrosted, it must not under any circumstances be frozen again. You won’t just compromise the flavor; bacteria grows extremely fast on twice defrosted food.
If you overcook your potatoes they’re not going to be as firm and the strain of the freezing and defrosting process will take a heavier toll. You can expect soggier, mushier potatoes, with a slightly grainy texture.
Undercooking can also be an issue as you’ll need to re-cook your potatoes to soften their cores. This will mean that the already soft outer edge of your potatoes will over soften and take on excess moisture.
So, there you have it: a concise compendium for cooking, freezing, and defrosting boiled potatoes.
Now you can run an even more efficient kitchen with zero waste. Stick to these guidelines and your potato problems will be a thing of the past.