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Can You Freeze Raw Sweet Potatoes?

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Sweet potatoes are a delicious and nutritious vegetable that can be used in many recipes. Their sweet flavor pairs well with both savory and sweet dishes.

Many people grow their own sweet potatoes or buy them in bulk when they are in season. This leads to the common question: can you freeze raw sweet potatoes? Let’s take a look at the answers.

Should You Freeze Raw Sweet Potatoes?

Freezing raw sweet potatoes is not recommended. Raw sweet potatoes contain an enzyme called amylase. This enzyme helps break down starches into sugars during the cooking process. If raw sweet potatoes are frozen, the amylase will still be active even at freezing temperatures.

When thawed, the enzymes will cause the starches in the sweet potato to start breaking down without heat being applied. This can lead to sweet potatoes turning an unappetizing grayish hue and developing a mushy, unpleasant texture.

So for the best quality and texture, sweet potatoes should always be cooked first before freezing.

How to Prepare and Freeze Cooked Sweet Potatoes

To freeze cooked sweet potatoes properly:

  • Wash and peel the sweet potatoes. Cut them into cubes, slices, or mash them according to your preference.
  • Boil, steam, or roast the sweet potato pieces until they are soft when pierced with a fork. Allow them to cool completely.
  • Place the cooled sweet potato pieces in a single layer on a baking sheet. Freeze until solid, about 2–3 hours.
  • Transfer the frozen sweet potatoes to freezer bags or airtight containers. Squeeze out excess air and seal.
  • Label with contents and freeze-by date. Frozen cooked sweet potatoes will keep for 8–10 months in the freezer.
  • To use, simply remove the desired amount and reheat in the microwave, oven, or stovetop. They can be enjoyed in many recipes.

Tips for Freezing Sweet Potatoes

  • Choose sweet potatoes that are firm and free of bruises or soft spots. Overripe or older sweet potatoes will not freeze as well.
  • Cook sweet potatoes until very soft before freezing. Undercooked potatoes may become tougher when frozen.
  • Freeze sweet potatoes in single layers on trays before bagging. This prevents them from freezing into a solid clump.
  • Blanch or steam sweet potatoes rather than boil them prior to freezing. This helps them retain more nutrients.
  • To retain their bright color, dip cooked sweet potato cubes in citrus juice or pineapple juice before freezing.
  • Frozen sweet potatoes lose moisture over time, resulting in a slightly dried-out texture. Use within 8–10 months for the best quality.
  • Do not thaw frozen sweet potatoes before cooking. Cook frozen potatoes directly in recipes.

Following these guidelines will help you successfully freeze cooked sweet potatoes to enjoy their sweet flavor year-round!

Can You Freeze Canned Sweet Potatoes?

Many people use canned sweet potatoes in recipes like casseroles, soups, breads, and more. Leftover canned sweet potatoes can be frozen for later use.

To freeze leftover canned sweet potatoes:

  • Drain the sweet potatoes well and rinse if they contain excess sodium or sugar.
  • Mash the sweet potatoes thoroughly with a potato masher or ricer.
  • Portion into freezer bags or airtight containers, leaving 12 inches of headspace. Squeeze out the air and seal.
  • Label bags with contents and a freeze-by date. Use within 4-6 months for the best quality.
  • When ready to use, thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Use them in recipes as you would fresh or cooked mashed sweet potatoes.

Canned sweet potatoes that are properly frozen maintain their texture well when thawed. Freezing helps prevent waste and allows you to enjoy canned sweet potatoes at a later date.

What You Should Not Do When Freezing Sweet Potatoes

There are a few common mistakes to avoid when freezing sweet potatoes:

  • Do not freeze raw sweet potatoes. Always cook them first.
  • Do not freeze sweet potatoes whole or in large chunks. They take too long to thaw and cook evenly.
  • Avoid storing frozen sweet potatoes for more than 10 months. Quality deteriorates over time.
  • Do not thaw sweet potatoes at room temperature or in hot water. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Do not freeze sweet potatoes in containers without leaving headspace. They will expand and crack the container.
  • Do not freeze sweet potatoes after they have been previously frozen and thawed. Only freeze once.

Following proper methods for blanching, draining, cooling, and packaging will result in successfully frozen sweet potatoes every time!

Frequently Asked Questions About Freezing Sweet Potatoes

Freezing sweet potatoes is a great way to preserve them, but you may have some questions.

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

How long do frozen sweet potatoes last?

Properly frozen, cooked sweet potatoes can be kept for 8 to 10 months before their quality starts to decline. Store them at 0°F or below.

Can you freeze mashed sweet potatoes?

Yes, mashed sweet potatoes freeze very well. Cook them fully until soft, cool, place in airtight bags or containers, leaving headspace, and freeze for up to 10 months.

Should you blanch sweet potatoes before freezing?

Blanching is recommended to stop the enzyme activity and help retain color and nutrients. Blanch slices or cubes for 2-3 minutes in boiling water, then quickly cool in ice water before freezing.

Do frozen sweet potatoes need to be thawed before cooking?

Frozen sweet potatoes can be cooked in their frozen state. There is no need to thaw first. Just increase cooking times as needed.

What is the best way to thaw frozen sweet potatoes?

For food safety, thaw frozen sweet potatoes in the refrigerator overnight or for 24 hours. Do not thaw at room temperature.

Can you refreeze thawed sweet potatoes?

It is not recommended to refreeze sweet potatoes after they have been thawed. Refreezing can lead to further texture and quality loss.

How do you prevent frozen sweet potatoes from turning brown?

Prevent browning by blanching prior to freezing and dipping blanched pieces in citrus juice or pineapple juice. Proper airtight packaging also prevents oxidative browning.

By keeping these common freezing questions in mind, you’ll be ready to freeze sweet potatoes like a pro!

Enjoying Frozen Sweet Potatoes

Frozen sweet potatoes are versatile and can be used in either sweet or savory recipes.

Here are some delicious ways to use them:

  • Mash with butter, cinnamon, and maple syrup for frozen sweet potato pies or muffins.
  • Puree and use as a base for soup recipes like curried sweet potato soup.
  • Toss cubed frozen sweet potatoes into stews, chili, or pot pies.
  • Sauté frozen sweet potato cubes with spices as a side dish.
  • Bake frozen sweet potato fries or tots for a tasty snack.
  • Make a sweet potato casserole by thawing cubes and baking them in a creamy sauce.
  • Blend into smoothies for added nutrition and natural sweetness.

Freezing cooked sweet potato pieces or prepared puree makes preparing these types of dishes easy on busy nights. Just thaw and incorporate into your favorite recipes.

The Benefits of Freezing Sweet Potatoes

Freezing is a simple way to preserve fresh sweet potatoes at their peak ripeness and enjoy their goodness all year.

Here are some of the key benefits:

  • Saves money by purchasing bulk when in season.
  • Reduces food waste from spoilage
  • Allows enjoying sweet potatoes out of season.
  • Retains flavor well when properly frozen and thawed.
  • Locks in nutrition like vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber.
  • Saves prep time by having frozen pre-cut pieces on hand.
  • Provides convenience for quick side dishes and meals.
  • Lets you take advantage of seasonal prices and availability.

So don’t be afraid to stock up on sweet potatoes in the fall and freeze them to enjoy delicious baked, mashed, or fried sweet potatoes throughout the year!

Conclusion

Freezing raw sweet potatoes can lead to unpleasant textural changes and should be avoided. For the best results, always cook sweet potatoes fully prior to freezing.

With the proper preparation of blanching, draining, cooling, and packaging, cooked sweet potatoes can be frozen and stored for 8–10 months. Their flavor and nutritional quality are retained quite well using the correct freezing methods.

Frozen sweet potatoes are simple to use right from the freezer in diverse recipes, from breakfast muffins to dinner casseroles and everything in between. With a freezer full of cooked sweet potato pieces, you can enjoy their sweetness in convenient meals all year round.

 

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