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Do Frozen Potatoes Cook Well Once They're Defrosted?

by Julie Christensen, studioD

During freezing, the starches in potatoes separate from the water, leading to soggy, watery potatoes. Overcome this problem by freezing cooked potatoes, such as mashed potatoes, French fries and hash browns, rather than raw potatoes. The cooking process helps stabilize the potatoes so they stay fresh longer.

Storage Time

Frozen potatoes tend to lose quality quickly in the freezer -- especially those that you've frozen yourself. To maintain quality, package potatoes in heavy plastic bags or boxes. Write the date on the containers, seal them tightly and freeze at zero degrees Fahrenheit. Use the frozen potatoes within two weeks to one month for the best taste.

Baked, Mashed or Fried

The type of potato dish plays a role in how potatoes taste. Potatoes cooked in stews and soups tend to become mushy and watery when thawed and recooked. In these dishes, it's best to prepare the dish without the potatoes, freeze it and add cooked potatoes later during reheating. Cheesy potato casseroles are even harder to freeze successfully, because not only do the potatoes become mushy, but cream sauces often separate. Potato dishes, such as mashed potatoes and twice-baked potatoes, that are already soft, fare much better. French fries, hash browns and potato puffs are typically browned in oil or butter before they're frozen. They keep their shape and flavor better than other types of potatoes.

Cooking Method

How you thaw and cook frozen potatoes makes a big difference in how they taste. Frozen hash browns, potato puffs and French fries don't need to be thawed. Because the potatoes are cut into small pieces, they thaw quickly during cooking. Heat hash browns in a bit of oil or butter in a skillet. Fry French fries and potato puffs, or brown them in the oven on a baking sheet. Thaw mashed potatoes overnight in the refrigerator or in the microwave. Reheat them in the microwave, the oven or in a saucepan. Add a bit of butter or milk, as well as a dash of salt and pepper to give them a fresh taste. Thaw twice-baked potatoes for a few hours in the refrigerator or set them on the countertop while the oven preheats. Bake them on a baking sheet until the cheese is melted and they're slightly browned.

Russets or Reds

Choose the right type of potato for freezing and you'll get better results. For French fries, hash browns, mashed potatoes and twice-baked potatoes, stick with dry, mealy potatoes, such as russets. Freeze mature potatoes that have been stored for at least 30 days. When freezing potatoes for any other use, opt for new, waxy potatoes, such as red or Yukon gold potatoes. Freeze the potatoes immediately after harvest, if possible. Scrub the potatoes well and cut them into cubes. You can peel them or leave the skins on. Blanch the potatoes in boiling water for six to eight minutes to destroy the enzymes that can cause browning. Drain, cool and freeze immediately. To use these potatoes, don't thaw them, but boil them in water for 10 to 15 minutes or until tender. Don't overcook them. Use these potatoes in stews, soups, salads and casseroles.

About the Author

Julie Christensen is a food writer, caterer, and mom-chef. She's the creator of MarmaladeMom.org, dedicated to family fun and delicious food, and released a book titled "More Than Pot Roast: Fast, Fresh Slow Cooker Recipes."

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