You may get inspired by a recipe using sweet potatoes and buy too many of them. And while potatoes last quite long, you may not want to use them repeatedly within a few weeks. How should you store sweet potatoes?
Can you freeze raw sweet potatoes? You can freeze raw sweet potatoes. However, it is recommended to blanch the raw potatoes before freezing. Blanching helps minimize the texture and flavor changes that sweet potatoes may suffer as a result of freezing and defrosting processes.
In this article, we will tell you what is the best way to freeze raw sweet potatoes and what steps you shouldn’t skip for the best results.
You will also learn about the shelf life of raw frozen sweet potatoes and what are the signs that they have gone bad.
Do Raw Potatoes Freeze Well?
Freezing raw potatoes doesn’t work well no matter what variety you are using. There is too much water in raw potatoes for them to freeze well.
The high water content in potatoes causes them to become watery, mushy, and grainy when you defrost them.
This is why it is recommended to at least blanch the potatoes before freezing them. Peeling, chopping, and transferring the potatoes straight into the freezer might seem appealing and time-saving.
However, spending a few extra minutes to properly prep the potatoes will provide much better results and extend the shelf life of your food.
Can You Freeze Raw Sweet Potatoes?
As explained above freezing raw potatoes isn’t the best idea. And sweet potatoes certainly aren’t an exception.
They will suffer texture and flavor changes especially if you don’t use a proper freezing technique and skip the blanching step.
Blanching the sweet potatoes before freezing them is important for a few reasons. Firstly, as blanching reduces the water content in sweet potatoes, it prevents them from becoming too watery and mushy.
Secondly, blanching helps maintain the color of sweet potatoes. Thirdly, it minimizes the flavor changes in sweet potatoes after defrosting.
And lastly, blanching is said to prevent the vegetables from losing their nutritional content.
But blanching raw sweet potatoes is not the only step to ensure that the potatoes are good after thawing. If you have decided to freeze raw sweet potatoes, make sure to freeze ones that are still fresh and in good condition.
How To Store Sweet Potatoes
So, if storing raw potatoes in the freezer is not the best idea, what should you do with raw cut sweet potatoes if you don’t need them at the moment?
As mentioned above, freezing sweet potatoes works well if you blanch them first. If you don’t have time to blanch the potatoes, store them submerged in cold water. This way the raw cut potatoes will keep well for 3-4 days.
How To Freeze Raw Sweet Potatoes
If you don’t want to cook sweet potatoes before freezing them, you can try freezing them raw. This is certainly a better option than letting the versatile vegetable go to waste.
Here are step-by-step instructions for freezing sweet potatoes without cooking them.
- Start with peeling the sweet potatoes. Cut out any large potato eyes.
- Cut the potatoes into sticks or chunks. The potato pieces should preferably have 1 inch of thickness. You can also cut the potatoes into wedges.
- Blanch the sweet potatoes by putting them into a pot of boiling water for 1-2 minutes.
- After a few minutes, remove the potatoes from the boiling water and transfer them into a bowl filled with ice water. Doing this will instantly stop the cooking process and prevent the potatoes from becoming overly soft. Additionally, blanching the potatoes properly minimizes the chances of mushy sweet potatoes when they are defrosted.
- Take the potatoes out of the cold water and let them drain. In the meantime, the potatoes will cool completely.
- Once the potatoes are drained, put them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Transfer the baking sheet into the freezer until the potatoes are frozen enough to not stick to one another.
- After 2-3 hours, take the sweet potato slices out of the freezer, portion them, and transfer them into airtight freezer bags. Using heavy-duty freezer bags is important as they will prevent the potatoes from getting a freezer burn as well as absorbing odors from other products in the freezer.
- Push out the excess air from the freezer bags.
- Label the bags with the date and use the potatoes as soon as possible.
Can You Freeze Sweet Potatoes Without Blanching?
Though blanching the sweet potatoes takes only a few minutes, some people don’t have the time for it anyway.
While we don’t recommend freezing raw sweet potatoes without blanching, you can do that. However, you should keep in mind that once defrosted, the chances are high that the potatoes will become overly starchy, soft, and stringy.
If you freeze raw sweet potatoes without blanching, make sure to use them as soon as possible.
How Long Do Raw Sweet Potatoes Last In The Freezer?
Sweet potatoes have a long shelf life compared to many other vegetables. If you keep sweet potatoes in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated area, they will keep well for around 1 month.
Some people prefer storing raw sweet potatoes in the fridge where they last up to 3 months.
It is worth mentioning, however, that storing raw potatoes in the fridge causes them to harden in the center and not taste as good when they are cooked.
The freezer does extend the shelf life of sweet potatoes. Cooked sweet potatoes last in the freezer for around 12 months. This is the shelf life of frozen cooked sweet potatoes whether they are mashed, sliced, or whole.
Raw sweet potatoes, on the other hand, don’t last that long in the freezer. We recommend you use frozen raw sweet potatoes within 3 months.
The potatoes will keep well past that time too. However, the longer you keep them in the freezer the more flavor and texture changes.
Other Methods For Freezing Sweet Potatoes
As you already know, freezing raw sweet potatoes is not the best-recommended way of preserving this vegetable in cold storage.
If you have time, it is good to cook the sweet potatoes before putting them in the freezer. Depending on how you are planning to use the sweet potatoes later, you can boil, bake, or mash them in advance.
Having boiled, baked, or mashed potatoes in the freezer is a good way to speed up the cooking process of many dishes and make preparing meals and snacks much easier.
For example, frozen boiled sweet potatoes are perfect for stews and soups. Frozen baked potatoes, on the other hand, need around half an hour in the oven to revive and complete your meal.
How To Thaw Frozen Sweet Potatoes
You can use sweet potatoes after thawing them in the refrigerator. Leave the potatoes in the fridge overnight allowing them to fully defrost.
If you are in a hurry, you can use the cold water method to defrost the sweet potatoes.
To do this, simply submerge the bag with frozen sweet potatoes into a bowl filled with cold water. The potatoes will soften and come back to life quicker than they would in the fridge.
The microwave is also an option if you need to defrost the potatoes within a few minutes. However, it can easily dry out the potatoes. So, be careful when using this defrosting method.
Never defrost frozen sweet potatoes at room temperature or using hot or warm water. Doing this increases the risk of bacterial contamination in food.
But the good thing about frozen blanched potatoes is that they can go right into the hot dish. The key is giving the potatoes enough time to cook through.
You can use frozen potatoes in casseroles, stews, and soups. You can also roast or grill the sweet potatoes without unfreezing them.
To roast frozen blanched sweet potatoes, toss them on a baking sheet without thawing. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and bake until the potatoes are cooked through and become crispy.
Signs That Frozen Potatoes Have Gone Bad
It is natural for potatoes to darken in the freezer. This is why many people add lemon juice to the cooked potatoes before freezing them to help the potatoes retain their natural color.
But while slight darkening of the potatoes is okay, heavy discoloration is a sign that the potatoes have gone bad and should be discarded. Dry spots on the frozen potatoes don’t make them good for consumption either.
You should also discard the defrosted potatoes if you notice an off-putting smell or any traces of mold.
If you haven’t wrapped the sweet potatoes properly, chances are high that they may suffer a freezer burn. Freezer-burnt sweet potatoes are safe for consumption.
However, freezer burn causes major texture and flavor changes and you might find it better to discard the potatoes.
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