Freezing Potatoes: Frugal Frozen French Fries and Hash Browns
by Reader Contributors
Don’t let those potatoes go to waste. Use these tips from our frugal readers for freezing potatoes and make your own frozen french fries and hash browns so you can stop paying for the pricey premade frozen potatoes.
Dear Dollar Stretcher,
I grow potatoes in my garden. Does anyone have instructions on how to freeze them as homemade hash browns, french fries, etc.? We eat on the go quite frequently and these foods would be handy to have in the freezer without having the expense associated with convenience foods.
Plus, I think it would be a good way to use up our excess potatoes. I hate for them to go bad when we have an abundance.
Freezing Homemade Hash Browns
You should grate the potatoes in a food processor. Then rinse for several minutes with massive amounts of cold water to wash off the starch that could oxidize and give that ugly brownish-black dead look. Then spread the grated potatoes about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick on a waxed-paper lined cookie or cake roll pan.
I like to add a lot of melted butter. You can also mix in chopped onion, garlic, bacon bits, or any other seasonings you like.
I found it very helpful to put “crease lines” in the tray of potatoes before freezing, marking off the individual patties in whatever size you want. After they’re frozen, you can just snap them apart — like a perforated line. After freezing on the tray, you can break or cut them into individual servings, stack with waxed paper between them, and store compactly.
When you take out the number you want to fix for a meal, just put them in the frying pan. Be sure to leave them alone until they are nicely browned on the bottom before you flip them over. Some beaten eggs mixed in before freezing can help them hold their shape.
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Freezing Partially Cooked Potatoes
Make and partially cook fries, homefries, and whatever other style first. Then freeze in portions (big or small – size doesn’t matter). The real “trick” to freezing potatoes is cooking or partially cooking them first. Raw or new potatoes just don’t freeze well. I think it has something to do with their water content – they turn mushy!
Though it takes a little time to cook before freezing, you make up the difference on the other end, and, in my experience, don’t loose any flavor. Certainly better and less expansive than commercial products.
Freezing Homemade Hash Browns and French Fries
The secret to good frozen, homemade hash browns is cooking it all in advance. Boil the potatoes until they’re cooked, shred them with your cheese grater, and then put them into individual freezer bags (the kind that locks shut). Do this neatly — don’t just clump a whole bunch in each bag or you’ll end up with a ball. Shut them almost all the way, then suck the rest of the air out of the bag and seal. This keeps air out and really stretches the freezing time for you.
Set aside a whole day to do the preparation, or a day a week, or some time during a favorite television show, to do the prep work en masse. This time invested will pay off big time for you later.
I have not done the french fries, but I would do them the same way. Wash all the potatoes, cut into thick strips, take a food storage bag and pour in 1/2 cup olive oil, 1-tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper. You can add more or less salt/pepper depending on your taste. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. After you cut the potatoes into strips, put them in the bag, hold the top shut, and roll the potatoes over and over in the bag, making sure they are thoroughly coated. Empty them onto a baking pan, bake for an hour, or until they’re a nice brown. Take out; let cool.
Fill bags, suck out air, and freeze. Shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes for them to re-warm when it’s time!
Reviewed March 2021
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