Potatoes are one of my favorite foods to substitute for commercially prepared convenience versions, especially for health reasons. For example, commercially frozen french fries typically contain all kinds of unhealthy trans-fats and preservatives. By spending just a little time in the fall, I can have delicious–and healthy–frozen french fries throughout the winter. When I take them from the freezer to fix for dinner, I cook them exactly the same way as the commercial variety. In other words, it’s just as convenient.
For the most affordable potatoes, u-pick them in the early fall. Brush off the dirt but don’t wash the potatoes, and let them sit in a dark place for 2-4 weeks before preparing them to freeze. (I keep them in my pantry in paper bags with the tops rolled up to keep out the light.)
While I always eat potatoes with their skins on when preparing fresh potatoes, frozen potatoes keep better if the skins are removed first. As with any food preservation process, you’ll want to carefully remove any bruised or damaged spots, too.
Other pre-cooked potato dishes can be frozen as well–twice-baked or stuffed potatoes, roasted potatoes, hash browns, and even mashed potatoes freeze well. You can freeze your favorite variations of these dishes, too, such as Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Cheesy Mashed Potatoes, Potatoes O’Brien (diced potatoes with onions and peppers), etc. (Watch for more of these recipes from time to time on this blog.)
- Baking potatoes (Half Acre Farm u-pick, Ferndale)
- Butter for greasing baking sheets (Breckinridge Farm, Everson)
- Butter baking sheets or cookie sheets.
- Start a large pot of water heating to a rolling boil. Put enough salt in the water to taste like seawater.
- While the pot comes to a boil, wash, peel, and chop potatoes into fries. Remove any bruises, eyes, or damaged spots.
- Put a small amount of the fries into the boiling water. Cook just until the outside of the fries are tender, about 3-4 minutes. Be careful not to overcook.
- Spread the potatoes onto the baking sheets so they are not touching. Place in the freezer for about an hour until completely frozen.
- Remove the frozen fries from the sheets and place into serving size freezer bags or containers, removing as much air as possible.
- When ready to serve the fries, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Separate the frozen fries onto a baking sheet (greased, or covered with parchment paper), and bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned.
Grill some T-bone steaks, saute some fresh kale, and add these fries for a high quality, 15 minute “convenience” dinner.
Community Food Cooperative, 1220 N. Forest St. or 315 Westerly Road, Bellingham
Half Acre Farm U-pick at Boxx Berry Farm, 6211 Northwest Road, Ferndale
Terra Organica, 1530 Cornwall Ave., Bellingham