Life on the farm: Processing potatoes four ways

Last week I shared how to preserve farm-fresh eggs. Today I want to share another project I’ve been working on… Processing potatoes!

I am such a foodie at heart, and I think that’s because my gramma raised me and she was an old-fashioned cook who allowed me to help her in the kitchen at a very young age. Today I cook some of the same dishes for my family that she taught me to make way back then. Her generation cooked because it was affordable and better for you. I carry on that tradition in my own home.

I preserve food year-round, and because of that I eat those delicious foods year-round.
Last week I checked my walk-in cooler, where I store bulk items like potatoes. I had about three five-gallon buckets full of potatoes, right from a potato farmer. I noticed that some of the potatoes were starting to soften, so I knew I needed to use them fast. I decided to process my potatoes to preserve them for some of our favorite recipes. I took my passion to Pinterest, of course, and pinned lots of frozen potatoes ideas and recipes.

In order to freeze potatoes, you really need to partially cook the potatoes. If you don’t, the texture doesn’t hold up after freezing. Since I’m processing my potatoes to freeze in several different ways, I’ll parboil and bake.

Here are four potato recipes I tested that turned out great: hash browns, diced, steak-fries and tater tots. Before you begin any of these recipes, be sure to wash and scrub the potatoes thoroughly.

Hash browns 

When I thought about freezing potatoes, hash browns instantly came to mind. Who doesn’t love frozen hash browns?! I took my larger whole potatoes, equal in size, spread them out on a baking sheet and pierced each a few times (to avoid exploding in the oven) then baked them for one hour at 350 degrees. Your potato is ready when you can stick a fork into the center with a little pressure. You don’t want to cook it to mush. Allow potatoes to cool and then refrigerate. I refrigerated overnight.

To process those partially baked potatoes, either peel or leave skins on, however your family enjoys them. Get you grater out and get ready for an arm workout! Grate the potatoes and lay the shreds out in a single layer on cookie sheets and put them in the freezer until frozen, then simply add them to freezer bags. (I like to use my FoodSaver.)

Freeze in servings convenient for your family. I even added some already frozen peppers and onions to my packages. When you’re ready to use, simply cook up and enjoy. A tip I learned: cook the hash browns from potatoes’ frozen stage. If you allow them to thaw before cooking, they become mushy and can turn brownish.

Diced

Instead of baking, you may want to try partially boiling your potatoes before freezing in small bite-sizes.

First, peel and dice the potatoes. Add them to boiling water and boil for about five minutes, maybe more depending on your dice size. You don’t want to cook them completely! If your fork breaks the potatoes apart, they are too cooked. Once boiled to the correct doneness, strain potatoes and add to ice cold water to stop cooking process. Once cooled, spray cookie sheets and lay out in single layer and freeze. Use the same technique to finish as the hash browns. Cook from frozen state, fry for breakfast diced potatoes.

Steak-fries

Another favorite. Take whole potatoes that have been refrigerated and cut into steak-fries, and season with Johnny’s Seasoning Salt. Freeze in single layer and finish by packaging with freezer bags or a FoodSaver. To cook, remove from freezer and bake in a 425 oven for 20 minutes. Cooking time varies. I finished mine off from oven to fryer for a few minutes for that added crunch. Yummy!

Tater tots

Once you try these, you won’t buy another bag of frozen, store bought tots again! They are sooo delicious.

Shred potatoes. Wrap shreds in cheesecloth and squeeze excess water out of potatoes. Add your own favorite seasoning and fry! Here’s how I seasoned mine:

2 lbs potatoes
1 tablesoon flour
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
Kosher salt & pepper to taste.

Combine all ingredients. You should have a dry but workable consistency. If not, add more flour. Form into tots and add to a FryDaddy — AKA a deep fat fryer — at 375 degrees for six minutes, give or take. Remove from oil and salt. Try not to eat right away…but oh the urge is about too much. Dip in ketchup and your taste-buds will be rewarding that decision to make your own tots. So worth the effort!

So, as you can see, we stockpiled a ton of potatoes in our favorite ways! This stuff takes  a little work, but my family gave all of these recipes a 10!

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