What's The Best Way To Freeze Sweet Potatoes?

Sweet potatoes have a fairly long shelf life, but they can still rot or form mold, especially when stored at room temperature. Generally, it's recommended to keep them in the pantry for up to two months or in the fridge for seven to 14 days. However, refrigerated potatoes may change their color and develop off-flavors. A better option is to freeze them for up to one year. But first, you'll have to do some prep work and pre-cook them.

These starches freeze well, though their texture may change over time. Because they're high in water, their cell walls will expand and burst in response to freezing, which can result in a softer consistency. Therefore, they can be a great choice for casseroles, soups, and stews, but not for hash browns, pommes Anna, gratins, or salads. Also, you'd be better off using fresh potatoes to make gnocchi dough or french fries.

Apart from that, freezing sweet potatoes will preserve their flavor and reduce food waste. The key is to blanch or cook them beforehand, even if that means spending more time in the kitchen. 

Why you should cook sweet potatoes prior to freezing

Raw sweet potatoes contain more than 70% water and, therefore, can turn mushy in the freezer. That's why packaged fries and potato wedges are pre-fried before hitting the store shelves. Another reason is that freezing can increase their sugar content, as well as their levels of acrylamide, explains Healthline. On a similar note, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration advises against exposing potatoes to cold temperatures during storage and transportation.

Acrylamides form when starches and some vegetables are cooked at high temperatures, but they also occur naturally in certain foods, including potatoes. Over time, these chemicals can accumulate in your body and put you at risk for cancer, neurological disorders, and other issues, according to 2022 research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Additionally, freezing raw potatoes may alter their flavor and result in a soggy mess. Your best bet is to steam, boil, roast, or bake them for a couple of minutes, let them cool, and then store them in the freezer. 

How to freeze sweet potatoes without ruining their texture

Sweet potatoes and white potatoes are only distantly related, but both varieties can be stored and cooked in similar ways. First, wash them under cold running water to remove any dirt or debris. Next, peel and cut them into chunks, slices, or wedges, depending on how you plan to use them later. Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil.

Place the potatoes in boiling water and cook them for up to five minutes. The smaller you cut them, the faster they'll cook. Transfer them to a bowl filled with ice water and let them cool. This process is known as blanching and helps preserve the color, texture, and flavor of vegetables prior to freezing. Once cooled, drain the potatoes and pat them dry. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze them for two or three hours to ensure they won't stick to each other. After that, store them in airtight containers or plastic bags and freeze them for 10 to 12 months.

As mentioned earlier, you can also fully cook the potatoes before freezing them. For example, some people prefer to bake sweet potatoes with the peel on. Once cooked, wrap each potato in aluminum foil and store them in airtight containers in the freezer. Similarly, you can boil whole sweet potatoes without removing the peel and then freeze them individually in Ziploc bags.