Setting a day or a few hours aside for food preparation before the next week is often a routine for busy families. By creating a potato dish and freezing it, it can easily be removed and cooked a week later, cutting down on the preparation time needed before the meal is served. However, raw potato dishes do not freeze well; the root vegetables must be partially or completely cooked before they are frozen.
1. Freezing Potatoes
Raw potatoes can freeze, but when defrosted or cooked, they become mushy and undesirable. Blanching or cooking the potatoes before freezing maintains their consistency even when cooked at a later date. However, they cannot be frozen in liquid, as this also results in a mushy potato. In addition, they must be cooked as soon as possible after cutting, as raw potatoes brown quickly when exposed to air.
2. Additional Ingredients
Cut additional vegetables into pieces of a similar size as the potatoes so they cook evenly within the dish. Do not freeze potato dishes that contain sour cream, mayonnaise or milk-based products; freezing makes the proteins in the milk separate from the water, creating a grainy feeling when it is cooked. If the potato dish calls for a milk product as an ingredient, leave it out and add it right before baking the dish.
3. Freezer Dish
Toss the ingredients together in the dish in which they will be cooked at a later date, leaving out any liquid ingredients. This allows the dish to be removed from the freezer, placed directly into the oven in the specified dish, with the liquid ingredients added at the time of cooking, and baked according to the recipe. Alternatively, toss the ingredients together, ensuring they are drained of liquid, and place into a freezer bag, pressing out any excess air.
Mashed potatoes can be frozen into ball shapes, stored up to 1 month and reheated within 30 minutes. Stuffed baked potatoes freeze well and can become a quick and easy side dish; just remove from the freezer and bake for 30 minutes to be heated through. If you want to freeze a large amount of potatoes for a long period of time, simply blanch chopped potatoes in boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes, then place in ice water for 5 to 10 minutes. Drain thoroughly and pack in freezer-safe bags, pressing out as much water as possible. These keep up to 12 months.
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