All the flavor, without much fuss. Here’s how to freeze a big batch of stewed potatoes for a delicious and nutritious side dish all year long.
Steamed potatoes are the epitome of comfort food. Not only are they hearty, delicious, and filling enough for even the hungriest family members, but—for the cook’s convenience—they can also be prepared in large batches.
Since you’re here, we’re going to assume that you know all this, and a large batch of stewed potatoes is precisely what you cooked this week. In fact, you’ve prepared such a large quantity of it that now, you’re wondering if and how you can store them in the freezer for the long term.
We nailed it, didn’t we? If that’s the case, we have good news for you:
Stewed potatoes can be frozen and, though they will stay safe to eat in the freezer indefinitely, they will keep their best quality for up to a year.
Freezing stewed potatoes can be beneficial for several reasons, and learning how to use this to your advantage can help you spend more time in the kitchen.
Why You Should Freeze Stewed Potatoes
Potatoes have long been a staple in the kitchen. Learning how to freeze them not only help you avoid food waste, but can keep them fresh longer, speed up meal preparation, and give you more control over the texture of the final meal.
While there are other reasons that someone might want to freeze stewed potatoes, these are the most common ones we see in the everyday kitchen.
Frozen potatoes last longer:
One of the best ways to save money on groceries is to buy potatoes in bulk from the store and add them to your meal, whether as the main course or as a side dish, regularly.
The problem with this is that unless you are great at freezing the potatoes, and you will be by the time you are done reading this article, you can end up wasting your hard-earned money by letting the potatoes spoil before you and your family can eat them.
That tends to happen if you don’t store the potatoes properly or if your family doesn’t want to eat potatoes as the main course all that often. Stewed potatoes provide a great opportunity for a palatable side dish that is cheap, tasty, and can fit almost every meal.
By freezing them, you can increase the lifespan of the potatoes, saving money and reducing the amount that you need to buy.
Frozen potatoes speed up meal preparation:
Another reason for freezing stewed potatoes is to use them for meal preparation. As mentioned earlier, stewed potatoes go well with almost any meal. If you freeze them, you can store your stewed potatoes in batches—and use them for lunches, dinners, and even some breakfasts as needed.
Taking the time to cook the potatoes beforehand reduces the amount of work you need to do when preparing the individual meals; when you want to add them to your dish, all you have to do is to thaw and reheat them.
Frozen stewed potatoes can easily be a staple that you rotate through the dishes you meal-prep.
It actually improves their texture:
What if we told you that, by freezing stewed potatoes, you can make them as soft and as powdery as the dehydrated potato flakes they sell at the grocery store?
In numerous instances, people discover that they prefer stewed potatoes that have been frozen and then thawed to fresh stewed potatoes.
This is not true for everyone, but you may find that you or someone in your family prefers that texture. When you freeze and store potatoes, it alters their appearance and consistency, including their texture, aroma, and flavor.
This can go the other way around, but the only way to find out is to try freezing them. You may discover a new favorite way to prepare this simple dish.
How to Freeze Stewed Potatoes
Because of their high moisture content, raw potatoes don’t freeze well. So, the best way to freeze potatoes is actually when they are cooked. Fortunately for us home cooks, the process for freezing cooked potatoes is relatively straightforward.
The process goes like this:
- Cool the stewed potatoes to room temperature;
- Transfer them to serving-sized food storage containers;
- Freeze, label the date of freezing, and eat up within 1 year.
Once the potatoes are done stewing, and you have removed them from the heat, let them cool down to room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour. It’s important to not let them sit out for longer than 1-2 hours, or they may spoil—especially if your recipe has cream or cheese in it.
If you are in a hurry and cannot wait for the dish to cool on its own, fill your sink with cold water and ice and place the pot in the sink, being careful not to let the ice water in the sink mix with the stewed potatoes.
Transfer the stewed potatoes to serving-sized food storage containers with the lid closed and put them in the freezer. Label them with the date of freezing and be sure to eat them all up within a year.
Do Frozen Stewed Potatoes Lose Nutritional Value?
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s FoodData Central database, potatoes are a rich source of carbohydrates and dietary fiber, as well as potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, magnesium, and iron.
“When boiled or baked,” the European Food Information Council (EUFIC) says on its website, “potatoes are a virtually fat-free food. The main energy-providing nutrient in potatoes is carbohydrate, in the form of starch.”
Contrary to what some of you may think, frozen, thawed, and reheated stewed potatoes don’t have a nutritional profile that’s all that different from when they are freshly cooked.
However, quite a few of the nutrients will have leached out into the cooking liquid—so you will want to add plenty of it to your food storage container, since that’s where the good stuff is.
This is because boiling vegetables causes some of their nutrients to leach out, whereas freezing retains them. Simply put, the nutrient loss happens during the cooking process, and not during the freezing process.
Victoria Jarzabkowski, Nutritionist with the Fitness Institute of Texas at The University of Texas at Austin, tells Live Science that, during boiling, the water-soluble nutrients in potatoes leach out into the water.
Those nutrients, she explains, include B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, potassium, and calcium. Specifically, she points out that as much as 80% of the potatoes’ vitamin C content can leach out into the cooking liquid.
How Long are Frozen Stewed Potatoes Good?
Raw or cooked, refrigerated or frozen, potatoes as a whole stay safe to eat for a longer time than other vegetables.
At room temperature, potatoes can last for 3-4 weeks. Bought fresh and stored in a cool and dark place, such as your pantry or root cellar, they can survive for a few months. Cooking and freezing potatoes extends that storage period even further.
According to the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, frozen food stays safe to eat indefinitely. However, it eventually dries out and loses its best texture, aroma, and flavor. This is why, when freeze the stewed potatoes properly, they will keep their best quality for up to 1 year.
This time may vary depending on how fresh the potatoes were when you bought them, how quickly you cooled and froze them, and how good your freezer is at keeping a steady, constant temperature that keeps your food safe.
So if you froze several batches of stewed potatoes, always eat the ones with the oldest freezing dates first.
Thawing and Reheating Frozen Stewed Potatoes
When you are ready to eat the stewed potatoes, you have numerous options for thawing and reheating them. (Of course, you could always try to eat them from the freezer, even though stewed-potato ice cream isn’t everyone’s idea of a good dessert.)
For obvious reasons, most of us would choose to thaw and heat the stewed potatoes before we eat them.
That thawing can be done by moving the food storage container from the freezer to your fridge the night before you plan to eat them. It can just as well be done in your microwave by using the “Defrost” setting in 2-3 minute intervals.
The easiest ways to reheat the stewed potatoes is to place them in an oven-safe dish and put them in a 350°F oven for 20-30 minutes. Keep an eye on them the first few times you try this so that you can pin down an exact time that works for your serving size.
Not only can you freeze stewed potatoes, but it is recommended to cook potatoes before freezing anyway. This is an easy way to cut costs and make mealtime a breeze while preserving a simple and tasty dish.