While whole potatoes have a long shelf life, they will eventually start sprouting. If you grow your own, or you like to buy potatoes in bulk, you can extend their life by putting them in the freezer. Whether you want to freeze whole pieces of potato for consumption months later or you like to prepare and freeze homemade hash browns, mushiness upon thawing is always a concern. Fortunately, with the right preparation techniques, you can successfully freeze potatoes and use them later without experiencing a mushy texture.
Fill a large pot with a gallon of water for each pound of potatoes. Don't fill the pot more than halfway because it may overflow when you insert the blanching basket. You may have to blanch the potatoes in batches if you are preparing a large quantity for freezing. Place the pot of water on a stove burner on "High" and bring the water to a boil.
Scrub fresh potatoes with a vegetable scrubber and water to clean them. Peel them with a vegetable peeler if desired.
Put the potatoes into a blanching basket and lower the basket into the boiling water. The water will temporarily stop boiling, but will return to a boil after approximately one minute.
Leave the potatoes submerged in the boiling water for three to five minutes. The blanching will help preserve the colour, flavour and texture of each potato.
Remove the potatoes from the heat and drain the pot of water. Dump the potatoes into a container of ice water and allow to remain there for five to 10 minutes.
Remove the potatoes from the ice water bath, pat dry with paper towels and store in freezer containers with tightly sealing lids or freezer bags. Keep the containers or bags in a freezer for up to eight months.
Wash the desired amount of potatoes with a vegetable scrubber and water to remove dirt. Cut three or four slits in one side of each potato with a knife for venting while cooking.
Place the potatoes in an ovenproof cooking dish and cover with a lid. Cook at 175C/350F for approximately 1.5 hours.
Remove the potatoes from the oven and the dish. Allow to cool on a cooling rack. Peel the potatoes with a peeler or knife.
Grate the cooked potatoes with a cheese grater to create hash browns. Place the grated potatoes in an even layer on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
Place the tray of hash browns in the freezer for two hours until frozen. Transfer to freezer bags and store in the freezer for up to eight months.
If thawed potatoes smell or taste odd, always discard them instead of taking a chance of eating spoiled food.