Jul 6, 2023
Potatoes are one of the easiest root crops to grow. Depending on how much you take care of them, you can harvest a lot. But, if you’re looking for a way to make them last longer, freeze-drying is the right choice.
When you freeze dry potatoes, you must slice them to the right size. Bigger pieces take longer to freeze dry and need forever to rehydrate.
Before you slice or dice them, you can also bake or boil them before freeze-drying. Baking or boiling can be done for 45 minutes to an hour, cook them enough without turning them to mush.
Cool the potatoes down a bit to help solidify their texture and make it easier for you to prepare them.
Some tried freeze-drying them at their raw state. The problem is they turn gray while dehydrating in the freeze dryer. Yes, they still turn grey even if you pre-freeze them. The only way to stop this from happening is to blanch your potatoes.
Blanching stops enzyme actions that can cause a vegetable to lose its color, flavor, and texture. There are many ways to do this, but the most suitable way is water blanching.
You blanch vegetables to prevent them from getting brown. The high starch content of the root crop causes the surface to turn brown and gray when exposed for long. Once you cut the potatoes to your desired shape and size, throw them in cool water. This keeps the potatoes from turning gray and brown while you finish the batch.
When do you count the time for blanching? That would be when the water comes to a boil. Don’t start the time when you put the food in or when the water starts to simmer. Start your time only when you see the water boiling.
Also, heat your pot of water while you’re preparing the vegetables. This way, you have your water waiting for you once you’re done prepping.
If you got your root crop sliced, blanching will depend on how thick the slices are. Blanch them for a few seconds if they’re sliced paper thin. For thicker slices, it would take about a couple of minutes. For quarter-inch slices, some take 5-12 minutes to blanch.
For shredded potatoes, you only need to blanch the potatoes for several seconds. Place the shredded potatoes in boiling water for a couple of seconds.
Just like with the sliced potatoes, the blanching time would depend on how thick the dices are. For fine dices, a few seconds is all it take. For bigger ones, you may need to take about a minute or two, even up to 10 minutes.
After blanching, throw the shredded produce immediately into ice water. This stops the cooking process and keeps the potatoes from getting mushy.
Although pre-freezing is optional, this process can help shorten your process big time. Dry the potatoes on towels, then line the freeze-dryer trays with silicone. This helps the root crops from sticking to the trays.
Freeze drying is easy once you get your root crops all ready and prepared.
Depending on how thick and how many your vegetables are, this can take 24-36 hours.
They’re good to go when all of them are dry and crispy to the touch. If some still feel soft, moist, and cool to the touch, put them back in the freeze dryer. About 4-6 hours of additional drying time could help, but remember to check afterward.
You can place the potatoes inside Mylar bags. They’re the most convenient storage solution and one of the most reliable. They keep moisture and air from the food as long as they’re properly sealed. They’re space savers, too, so you can stack them inside a container.
Mylar jars can also work, but you need plenty of space for this. They’re also transparent, so keep them in a dark room, away from sunlight.
Whatever method you prefer, make it a good practice to use oxygen absorbers. Oxygen hastens food spoilage, so you must take that air out of the package. This is where oxygen absorbers come in. They’re designed to take out any residual oxygen in the container that you couldn’t take out through vacuum sealing. About 1-2 packets of 300cc OAs are good enough per gallon size of your container. For example, you have 2 gallons, use 2-4 300cc oxygen absorbers. If you have a 500cc oxygen absorber, 1-2 packets are good for 2 gallons. Remember, we’re talking about container size and not food net weight.
Freeze-drying can help preserve your potatoes for up to 30 years when stored properly. This means storing them in a room that’s draft and moisture free. The temperature should also be stable, not going above 72°F (22 °C).
You can reconstitute freeze-dried potatoes in several ways, depending on how you use them.
Depending on how thick your vegetable is, this can take 5-15 minutes for warm or hot water. Use room temperature or tepid liquid to rehydrate if you’ll cook your spuds. On the other hand, if you’ll add your FD vegetable to a soup or a dish with sauce, there is no need to rehydrate. Add more water than the recipe calls for, and they will rehydrate as they cook.
Freeze-dried potatoes are versatile, and you can do almost anything with them. So treat them like they’re fresh, and do as you will.
You can use them for your baked potato dishes like scalloped potatoes. You can also use them to make mashed potatoes and even potato salad.
How many potatoes do you have right now that need preserving? Let us know in the comment section!
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