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Your potato harvest is huge. You've filled the root cellar or basement, but you still have more left. No what? Is there room in the freezer? Here's how to do it, complete instructions in easy steps and completely illustrated. And it is much easier than you think!
Seal and freeze.
Select smooth new potatoes directly from the garden. Peel or scrape and wash.
Just like when you were in the army! And if you weren't, just use a paring knife or peeler to peel them and cut out eyes and any soft or discolored areas.
NOTE: According the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service at NC State University, to Potatoes must be peeled before canning. Potato skins contain a high bacteria count increasing the chance of botulinum toxin formation.
Small potatoes (2 inches or less) may be left whole. Larger potatoes should be cubed, cut into 1/2 inch cubes. If you are unsure which to do, the uniform size of the cubed potatoes produces a higher quality finished product.
Place in ascorbic acid solution (1 cup lemon juice to 1 gallon of water, or 2 tablespoons of fruit Fresh to a gallon of water) to prevent darkening; until you get the jars filled. How long is pretty much immaterial; your are trying to keep the potatoes from being exposed to air until you can get them sealed in the jars. The ascorbic acid / lemon juice prevents oxygen dissolved in the water from browning the cut potatoes, too!
Just pour off the water and discard it. Obviously, KEEP the potatoes...
Water blanch for 3 to 5 minutes, depending on the size.
Blanching (scalding vegetables in boiling water or steam for a short time) is a must for almost all vegetables to be frozen. It stops enzyme actions which can cause loss of flavor, color and texture. Blanching cleanses the surface of dirt and organisms, brightens the color and helps retard loss of vitamins. It also wilts or softens vegetables and makes them easier to pack.
Blanching time is crucial and varies with the vegetable and size. Underblanching stimulates the activity of enzymes and is worse than no blanching. Overblanching causes loss of flavor, color, vitamins and minerals. Use one gallon water per pound of prepared vegetables. Put the vegetable in a blanching basket and lower into vigorously boiling water. Place a lid on the blancher. The water should return to boiling within 1 minute, or you are using too much vegetable for the amount of boiling water. Start counting blanching time as soon as the water returns to a boil. Keep heat high for the time given in the directions for the vegetable you are freezing.
Let in ice water for 5 to 10 minutes, then drain..
Pack into containers, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. You can pack it containers, like Ziploc bags or plastic containers, exclude as much air as you can, and freeze it!
Seal and freeze.
... or to start making tasty treats.
Freezing keeps potatoes safe to eat almost indefinitely, but the recommended maximum storage time of 12 months is best for taste and quality. The quality of the frozen potatoes is maintained best in a very cold freezer (deep freezer), and one that keeps them frozen completely with no thaw cycles. Excluding any air from inside the bags which leads to freezer burn, by using vacuum-sealed bags, is also important to maintaining quality
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