In short, yes, you can freeze sweet potatoes, and blanching them before freezing helps preserve their flavor and texture, preventing color and textural changes caused by enzymatic activity.
The mild and slightly sweet taste of sweet potato makes it a versatile vegetable suitable to use in both savory and sweet dishes. Sweet potatoes can be baked, fried, boiled, steamed, mashed, and even used as a pie filling.
Since sweet potato is a large chunky vegetable, you may find yourself preparing more than you actually need for one meal. That’s no problem, because you can successfully freeze sweet potatoes for later use. This not only saves leftovers and prevents food waste, but it will save you cooking time, and money too.
Here is a full guide on how to freeze sweet potatoes.
Can Sweet Potatoes Be Frozen?
Yes, all types of sweet potatoes can be frozen, from mashed sweet potatoes, to raw, or baked sweet potatoes. There are a few different ways to freeze sweet potatoes. There are also some steps that need to be taken to prepare the sweet potatoes for freezing to ensure they don’t lose any flavor or turn mushy on thawing.
Blanching uncooked sweet potatoes before freezing will prevent the enzymatic activity that causes color and textural changes. This will extend their shelf-life significantly.
How To Freeze Raw Sweet Potatoes
Step 1: Peel
Wash and peel the sweet potatoes.
Step 2: Cut
Cut the fresh sweet potatoes into the desired size. You may want to cut them into fries or chunks. Either way, try to keep the pieces in similar sizes as this affects the blanching time. It will also allow them to cook evenly when you need them.
Step 3: Blanch Sweet Potatoes
Heat a large pot of water on the stovetop. Once the hot water is boiling, add the diced sweet potatoes and leave them in for 2 minutes. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Remove the pieces from the boiling water with a slotted spoon and place them in the cold water to stop the cooking process.
Heating stops the enzymatic activity which will slowly cause the vegetables to deteriorate in color, texture, and flavor. You do, however, not want to cook the sweet potatoes. Therefore, placing them in the ice bath after two minutes is necessary to preserve the firm texture.
Step 4: Dry
Once completely cool, drain the ice water and dry all the visible moisture off the blanched sweet potatoes with a clean kitchen towel. Excess moisture will cause freezer burn.
Step 5: Pack
Portion the sweet potato cubes into the quantity you may need for a meal and pack each portion into a separate resealable freezer bag. Press all the air out before sealing the bag.
Optional: Flash Freeze
After drying the sweet potato pieces, you can flash freeze them. This will prevent them from clumping together in the freezer. To do this, spread them out in a single layer on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Preferably you don’t want the pieces to touch each other. This is also a good time to spice them as desired.
Place the baking sheet in the freezer until they are completely frozen. Remove the baking sheet from the freezer and pack the frozen sweet potatoes into airtight freezer bags, pressing out as much excess air as possible before sealing.
Step 6: Label and Freeze
Label the bag with the date so that you can keep track of how long the sweet potatoes have been in the freezer.
How To Freeze Cooked Sweet Potatoes
Step 1: Cool
Let the roasted or baked sweet potatoes cool completely after cooking. Freezing it while still warm will cause large ice crystals to form which will ruin the texture on thawing.
Tip: Add a squeeze of lemon juice to mashed sweet potatoes to prevent them from browning.
Step 2: Wrap and Pack
If you are freezing whole sweet potatoes, wrap each one in a layer of plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Don’t leave any gaps where air can enter. Then place it in an airtight freezer bag.
For smaller cooked pieces or mashed sweet potatoes, divide large batches into smaller portions and place them directly in a resealable freezer bag. Remove as much air as possible from the bag before sealing.
Step 3: Label and Freeze
Label the freezer bag with the date and place it in the freezer. Be careful not to let other items squash the sweet potatoes.
How To Thaw Frozen Sweet Potatoes
Cooked or raw frozen sweet potatoes are best thawed in the fridge overnight. Remove it from the freezer in its packaging and simply place it in the refrigerator to defrost slowly.
You can also cook sweet potatoes from frozen by baking or roasting them in the oven or adding the pieces straight to the meal you are cooking on the stovetop.
Remember to add a few extra minutes to the cooking time to account for the drop in temperature due to adding the frozen items.
Types of Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potato is a large, starchy root vegetable with a slightly sweet taste. Below are the four most popular varieties found in grocery stores, however there are dozens of sweet potato varieties grown worldwide.
Beauregard sweet potatoes are the most common type found in American grocery stores. These sweet potatoes have a purple-red skin and an orange-colored flesh.
They break down slightly when cooked and are sweeter and a bit more stringy than other varieties These are ideal for making mashed sweet potatoes, incorporating into desserts, and for baking.
Jewel sweet potatoes have light orange skin and are less sweet than Beauregards although both types are great all-purpose root vegetables. Jewels hold a good amount of moisture and are ideal for boiling, baking, and adding to casseroles.
Garnet sweet potatoes have dark orange-red skin and bright orange interior. Since they are very moist, they are ideal for baking, mash, and mashed sweet potato casserole.
These oblong sweet potatoes have a semi-smooth tan color skin with a white-yellow flesh. They are dense, creamy, and dryer than orange sweet potatoes. Their firm texture makes them ideal for roasting in chunks, mash, or turning into fries.
If a recipe calls specifically for orange sweet potatoes, do not use these white-fleshed ones as a substitute as their dense nature varies in moisture levels and cooking time.
There are endless sweet potato recipes to try for sweet and savory dishes. Whether you are making sweet potato French fries, mash, casserole, curry, or sweet potato pie, having them ready prepared in the freezer will save you a lot of time.
Freezing cooked sweet potatoes is pretty effortless. Uncooked sweet potatoes take a little more time to prepare for freezing. You will, however, reap the benefits when all you have to do is pull them out the freezer and pop them in the oven for a freshly baked addition to any meal.
Make sure the sweet potatoes are in good condition before freezing and never freeze items that are nearing their expiry date. Now that you know how to successfully freeze sweet potatoes, you can save time, money and don’t have to waste any more delicious leftovers.
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