Table of Contents
Why Freeze Dry Potatoes?
Freeze drying potatoes preserves most of the nutrients, making them a healthy choice for long-term food storage.
Long Term Storage Benefits
When properly packaged, freeze dried potatoes can last up to 25 years, making it an excellent choice for long-term food storage.
The Process of Freeze Drying Potatoes
Before you begin the freeze drying process, scrub the potatoes thoroughly and cut off any bad spots. Slice or dice them into small pieces and rinse until the water is clear.
Once prepared, you can place the potatoes on freeze dryer trays and pre-freeze them. The freeze drying process can then begin.
Post Freeze Drying
After the freeze drying process, the potatoes will be ready for packaging and long-term storage.
Tips for Freeze Drying Potatoes
Choosing the Right Potatoes
When choosing potatoes for freeze drying, Yucon Gold potatoes are a preferred choice due to their flavor and texture.
Blanch the potatoes in boiling water in batches for 3 minutes. Afterward, transfer them to ice water to stop the cooking process. Place them on a large cookie sheet lined with paper towels and blot the water off before placing them on the freeze dryer trays.
Freeze Drying Tips
Pre-freezing the potatoes before placing them in the freeze dryer ensures they freeze evenly, promoting a better freeze drying process.
Reconstituting Freeze Dried Potatoes
Preparing the Potatoes: Slice your potatoes to the desired size. Keep in mind that bigger pieces will take longer to freeze-dry and rehydrate. You can also bake or boil the potatoes before freeze-drying for about 45 minutes to an hour, ensuring they are cooked enough without turning them to mush. Once cooked, let the potatoes cool to solidify their texture and make them easier to prepare.
Blanching the Potatoes: Raw potatoes can turn gray when dehydrating in the freeze dryer. To prevent this, you need to blanch your potatoes. Blanching stops enzyme actions that can cause a vegetable to lose its color, flavor, and texture. The blanching time depends on how you cut your potatoes. For instance, for quarter-inch slices, some people blanch for 5-12 minutes. For shredded potatoes, you only need to blanch for a couple of seconds. After blanching, immediately immerse the potatoes in ice water to stop the cooking process and prevent them from getting mushy.
Pre-Freezing the Potatoes: This step is optional, but it can help shorten your process. Dry the potatoes on towels, then line the freeze-dryer trays with silicone to prevent the potatoes from sticking to the trays.
Freeze-Drying the Potatoes: Turn on your freeze dryer and choose whether or not your potatoes are pre-frozen. When the machine is ready, close the valve and open the chamber door. Place the trays of potatoes inside, then close the door securely. Press continue on the machine and let it do its work. This can take 24-36 hours depending on how thick and how many your potatoes are.
Checking the Potatoes: The potatoes are ready 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.
Storing the Potatoes: You can store the freeze-dried potatoes in Mylar bags or jars, which are a reliable storage solution as they keep moisture and air away from the food as long as they're properly sealed. It's good practice to use oxygen absorbers to remove any residual oxygen in the container that you couldn't take out through vacuum sealing.
When stored properly in a room that’s draft and moisture-free, with a stable temperature not going above 72°F (22 °C), freeze-dried potatoes can last for up to 30 years.
To rehydrate freeze-dried potatoes, you can soak them in a bowl of water, steam them, or use milk, depending on how you plan to use them. The rehydration process can take 5-15 minutes for warm or hot water. If you plan to add your freeze-dried potatoes to a soup or a dish with sauce, there is no need to rehydrate beforehand.
You can use freeze-dried potatoes in a variety of dishes, including baked potato dishes like scalloped potatoes, mashed potatoes, and even potato salad.