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Potatoes – Sometimes Freezing is Better
Thankfully, God has blessed me with a HUGE potato harvest this year…close to 50 pounds. Sadly, that is more than any family can handle all at once. So…what to do… Well, I do not want to lose my harvest, and because I can only store a limited amount in my pantry, freezing is my only option. The two styles I am doing here at home will add nicely to any recipe requiring potatoes, including soups and when making hash browns. The third is a great side dish when preparing meals.
Start with 5 pounds of fresh potatoes, whether store bought or right out of the garden. I believe keeping the skin on is a personal choice and depends on the type of potato you are working with. I have Yukon Gold and Pontiac Red. Both have a thin, easy-to-use skin so I am leaving the skin on. If you are using a thicker skinned potato, peeling is the way to go. Regardless if peeling or keeping the skin, thoroughly wash the potato skin using a vegetable scrubber to remove all dirt, debris and foreign particles.
Cut potatoes into 1-inch cubes. Cook in simmering, salted water just high enough to cover the potatoes. Cook until just tender. Spread in a single layer on a sheet pan sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Place in the freezer until frozen solid. Transfer the cubes to a heavy-duty plastic Ziploc freezer bag and keep them in the freezer until needed. Be sure to label and date mark your freezer bags prior to storing back in your freezer.
To cook: Reheat in simmering water and proceed with your recipe. Additionally, you may thaw completely and use in your favorite potato salad.
Shred or grate the potatoes. Keep shredded potatoes in a bowl of iced water until all potatoes are shredded to avoid browning. Spray a sheet pan with non-stick cooking spray. Drain the potatoes thoroughly, and blot any excess water with a paper towel. Form the potato shreds into the shape of hash brown potato patties and place on the sheet pan – ensuring the patties do not touch one another. Freeze until solid. Store in a Ziploc Freezer bags. Be sure to label and date mark your freezer bags.
To cook: Remove the frozen patties and cook as usual.
Bake potatoes in oven until done. Allow them to cool some before handling. Cut in half (long-ways) and remove the cooked potato from the shells. Mash cooked potato with cream, butter, green onions, cheese, cooked ham or sausage or other desired ingredients. Pile the mashed potatoes back into the shells and top with additional cheese and green onion. Essentially you are making twice baked potatoes ahead of time and freezing them to use when you need a quick, yummy side dish!
Place filled potato halves on a sheet pan and freeze until solid – this may take a full day. Wrap tightly in foil and place in Ziploc Freezer bags for storage in your freezer. Because there are four (4) people around our dinner table each night I place 4 potatoes per bag. I always pack a couple bags of five (5) in case my mom is over for dinner! Be sure to label and date mark your freezer bags prior to storing back in your freezer.
To cook: Bake frozen halves on a sheet pan at 350 degrees for approximately 45 minutes, or until browned on top and heated through to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Canning Diva