hash browns & freezing potatoes

 

lovely hash browns

We were sick in our house this past week, which means I didnt do the amount of cooking I usually do in a week. Result: by Tuesday I had a drawer full of potatoes staring at me. I try to use up the produce from my local box each week before I get the next one, so I started meditating on the best way to use up these taters before I had another batch in my bin.

We love home fries with our breakfasts, but I dont make them very often because they are a multi-step process. Often in the morning I am looking for something easy, so the beloved home fries get left out. But what if I could have most of the work done ahead of time and have the potatoes in the freezer, ready to fry? I decided to give it a try and see if it would work.

lovely hash browns

And it did! I did a nice big batch of potatoes and froze them. The next day I used them in my regular home fries recipe and they worked like a charm. From now on whenever I have potatoes that need to get used up before they get soft, Im going to process them like this and have a nice stash in the freezer for early mornings when a full breakfast sounds delicious but Im too tired from being up with a baby at night to bother.

Freezing Potatoes

1. About 6 medium sized potatoes worked great for one “batch” of potatoes to freeze at a time. You want just enough to create a single layer on whatever baking sheet you are going to use to flash freeze them, so you may need to play with sizes and quantities of potatoes.

2. Wash and peel your potatoes. Dice them into about 1 inch cubes. Don’t dice them too small or the freezing process will turn them into mush when you try to cook them.

lovely hash browns

3. Soak your potatoes in very cold water for about 10 minutes. This helps get rid of some of the starch and makes for a crispier fried potato. Drain.

4. Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water (allow just about an inch of water over potatoes). Add some salt, cover, and cook on medium high heat.

5. Keep a close eye on your pot, and once it starts to boil remove the lid. You want to cook your potatoes just until fork tender, not all the way. This is important as you cannot freeze fully cooked potatoes, they will turn to mush. Keep checking them with a fork and as soon as the fork can comfortably skewer the potato, drain immediately.

6. Cover potatoes with cold water to stop cooking process. I cover them once, then drain them, them let them sit in a cold water bath for a few minutes before draining again.

lovely hash browns

7. Drain potatoes and lay them out on a dish cloth, allowing them to dry very well. Salt and Pepper your potatoes.

lovely hash browns

8. On a baking sheet that will fit nicely in your freezer, line with parchment paper or plastic wrap, and place potatoes in a single layer on the sheet. Both lining the sheet and placing them in a single layer only is important, so they will freeze properly and will not stick to your baking sheet.

lovely hash browns

9. Place your sheet in your freezer and allow a few hours so that that potatoes are completely frozen. Don’t leave them in longer than needed, as they are uncovered and can become freezer burned.

10. Once frozen, the potatoes will come off the sheet nicely and you can pop them in a freezer bag or a container of your choice. Label and return to freezer. I have read that frozen potatoes are good for up to two months.

Hash Browns with Frozen Potatoes

      3 T butter

 

      1 small onion

 

      2-3 cups frozen potato cubes

 

    salt and pepper
lovely hash browns

1. Peel and dice your onion. In a large frying pan, heat butter on medium high heat and saute onions for a few minutes, stiring frequently.

lovely hash browns

2. Add frozen potatoes. Salt and pepper as needed to taste. Toss the potatoes to coat in butter and onions, and then leave them to brown.

3. After a few minutes, turn your potatoes over, let them brown again. To get a nice brown, I cooked mine from frozen for about 10 minutes, stirring ever few minutes to keep from burning but trying not to stir so much that they didn’t brown nicely.

4. Serve immediately with breakfast or any other dish.

lovely hash browns

These could also be used in other dishes that call for parboiled potatoes, or thrown into soups (as long as you take into account the fact that they are partially precooked). Enjoy!

-Nicole Marsh-Mueller loves to cook locally and seasonally for her family and blogs at The Armchair Housewife

photo credit: Nicole Marsh-Mueller