Have you ever left a bag of carrots in the fridge and forgotten about them? Or maybe you buried a sack of potatoes in the pantry and just discovered they’ve gone bad?
As delicious and nutritious as fresh vegetables are, they can be a real pain to store. But, the good news is, you can freeze carrots and potatoes for longer-lasting deliciousness!
Freezing potatoes and carrots is an easy process. In general, you can freeze most varieties of potatoes and carrots with the proper preparation. But there are some exceptions to that rule.
For example, pot-roasted potatoes and carrots that you cooked together don’t freeze well, they tend to become a mushy mess. However, you can freeze potatoes and carrots together in the freezer for a quick pot roast meal prep, but preparation is key.
It’s important to note that you can’t freeze raw potatoes or carrots because they contain too much moisture. Therefore, you need to blanch carrots, potatoes, and other vegetables before trying to freeze them.
Additionally, it’s best to freeze young, fresh carrots and potatoes. Older vegetables can become mushy and turn black in the freezer.
After freezing, your vegetables will maintain their optimal texture and flavor for about six months in the freezer. You can safely keep them for up to twelve months in the freezer if you don’t mind soggy or mushy textured vegetables.
Freezing Carrots And Potatoes Together: Dos And Dont’s
Freezing potatoes and carrots together can help make a pot roast night go a little smoother, and provides a great way to save vegetables if you have an overabundance of potatoes or carrots. But in general, vegetables usually freeze best separately, so if you plan to combine your spuds and carrots, keep these things in mind:
1. Don’t Freeze Roasted Carrots Or Potatoes
If you’ve roasted too many carrots and potatoes with your pot roast, you probably want to try and save them for later. Unfortunately, vegetables you’ve already roasted won’t do well in the freezer. Roasted potatoes and carrots will turn into a mushy mess.
The Fix: If you want to freeze your roasted carrots and potatoes, turn them into a mashed mixture instead. Carrots and potatoes taste great as a unique take on the mashed potato dish. Simply add some butter, mash, and store in the freezer.
2. Do Blanch The Vegetables Separately
If you are freezing potatoes and carrots together for future meals, make sure to blanch them separately. Carrots and potatoes can sometimes cook at different speeds, and if you cook them together you may get some undercooked or overcooked vegetables.
3. Don’t Freeze Whole Potatoes Or Carrots
As nice as it would be to just throw whole carrots and potatoes into a freezer bag and call it done, it isn’t a good idea. First off, they would take up too much room in the freezer. Second, they won’t freeze well.
The Fix: Slice your carrots and potatoes before blanching. Alternatively, store them in cubes or quarters. Both methods will allow the vegetables to freeze completely and not take up much freezer space.
4. Do Freeze Potatoes And Carrots In A Single Layer
If you have a ton of potatoes and carrots to freeze together, don’t go jamming them all into a single freezer bag. You’ll want to fill a gallon size bag with a single layer of vegetables and lay them flat to freeze. This prevents uneven freezing and freezer burn, and reduces the amount of freezer space needed for the vegetables.
Preparing Carrots And Potatoes For Freezing
If you plan on freezing any fresh carrots or potatoes, you’ll want to prepare them properly to ensure a good result.
5. Clean The Vegetables
Before freezing your carrots or potatoes, you’ll want to clean them properly. Cleaning the vegetables helps prevent bacterial growth and removes dirt and other impurities from the food.
To clean your vegetables, soak them in warm water. Use a food-safe soap to scrub away any impurities. Rinse well with cold water and dry thoroughly before cutting the vegetables.
6. Skin The Vegetables
After washing the vegetables, remove the skins (unless you are making country-style potatoes and want to leave them on the skin.) Use a potato peeler to remove the skin quickly. Next, rinse the vegetables and dry them before cutting the vegetables.
7. Cut The Vegetables
After you’ve washed and skinned the vegetables, you’ll want to prepare them for storage. Think ahead. What do you plan to make with your carrots and potatoes? Slice the vegetables into the shape you need for that meal. Dice, shred or slice the vegetables into the desired form before freezing.
8. Blanch Or Cook The Vegetables
Before freezing the vegetables, you have to do the final step and blanch or cook them. Most of the time, you’ll want to blanch the vegetables unless you are planning on storing mashed potatoes.
Benefits of Blanching
Blanching works primarily to stop the enzyme foods produce, which reduces flavor and texture after freezing. It allows vegetables to last longer in the freezer without becoming a pile of mush. Additionally, blanching kills bacteria on the surface of vegetables and makes them safer to freeze.
Steps to Blanching
After washing, cutting, and drying the vegetables, set a pot of water to boil. You’ll need one gallon of water for every pound of vegetables. After the water starts boiling, place a single layer of veggies into the pot.
As soon as the water returns to a boil, begin counting the minutes. Most potatoes and carrots require five minutes to blanch completely. Immediately move the vegetables to cold water when the timer goes off. Dry completely before freezing.
Color Indicates When Potatoes and Carrots Have Blanched Long Enough
You’ll know your vegetables are done blanching when their color becomes brighter. For example, carrots will become a brighter orange while Idaho potatoes will have a vibrant, bright white coloring.
Carrots and Potatoes That Freeze Well Together
In general, you’ll want to use waxier or baking potatoes in your freezer preparations. The more starch a potato type has, the better it will freeze and the less likely it is to turn into mush.
Popular potatoes to freeze include Russet potatoes, Peruvian potatoes, Yukon gold, and red potatoes. You can also freeze cubed or mashed sweet potatoes with carrots.
As far as carrots go, any type of carrot will freeze well. You can usually find Danvers or Nantes carrots in the store, they’re the long, orange carrots people love. Baby carrots are another easy freezing solution, but you’ll want to halve them before putting them in the freezer with your potatoes.
Thawing Frozen Potatoes And Carrots
When you’re ready to eat your potatoes and carrots, you’ll want to give them adequate time to defrost. It’s best to defrost your frozen vegetables in the fridge; exposing potatoes and carrots to hot water or the microwave for defrosting can cause uneven defrosting and turn them into a bit of a mushy mess.
Place your freezer bag of vegetables in a bowl to defrost. Occasionally, defrosting vegetables may sweat and cause a small puddle of water to form in the fridge; the bowl will catch the water and make it easier to clean up.
You should expect your vegetables to take about twenty-four hours to defrost in the fridge.
For Best Results, You Should Freeze Carrots And Potatoes Separately
While you can freeze carrots and potatoes together, doing so does not produce the best results. Carrots and potatoes are very different vegetables texturally; potatoes are softer and contain more fiber and only 80% water, while carrots are more water-dense. Because carrots contain 85-95% water, they freeze better than potatoes.
Mixing vegetables with different textures and make-up means you’re having to guess how long to blanch the potatoes and carrots so they will defrost and cook at similar textures. If you guess incorrectly, you can get extremely mushy carrots or potatoes falling apart.
To make the best possible potatoes and carrots after freezing, consider taking the time to freeze each vegetable type separately using the following methods.
Freezing Just Cooked Potatoes
You can freeze most preparation styles of potatoes, but each version requires a slightly different preparation and storage method.
Freezing French-Fry Style Potatoes
French-fry style potatoes won’t need blanching as long as other preparation styles. Blanch them for about two minutes before moving them to cold water. You can make cooking the potatoes easier by drizzling olive oil on the dried potatoes before storing them in the freezer.
Freeze french-fry style potatoes by laying them flat on a baking sheet or resting them flat on a freezer shelf.
Freezing Hash Browns
Hash browns will take a little longer to blanch than French fries. You’ll want to blanch them in hot water for about three minutes before transferring them to a cold water bath. Dry hash browns on a layer of paper towels, and pat them thoroughly dry.
For easy storing, place hash browns in a Ziplock bag. Press the hash browns into a flat layer inside the bag, and push out all the air from the bag. Store on a flat shelf in the freezer. You can stack multiple bags on top of each other for more storage.
Freezing Mashed Potatoes
Mashed potatoes are one of the easiest potatoes to freeze. Simply prepare your mashed potatoes as you would normally. After mashing, let the potatoes come to room temperature. Then, spoon the potatoes into a freezer-safe bag. Press the bag flat and store it on a shelf in the freezer.
Never Freeze Completely Raw Potatoes
You can’t freeze completely raw potatoes successfully. Raw potatoes have too much water to last in the freezer; if you try freezing raw potatoes without blanching them, they can turn black and become grainy and mushy in texture.
Shelf Life Of Frozen Potatoes
Frozen potatoes of all variations (French fries, hash browns, etc.) have a shelf-life of six to twelve months in the freezer. Technically, potatoes can last longer than a year in the freezer, but their nutrition, flavor, and texture will deteriorate the longer they remain in the freezer.
Best Potatoes To Freeze
The best kinds of potatoes to freeze are young, starchy potatoes. Variations with more starch also have less water and therefore freeze better. These variations include russets and Idaho potatoes.
However, you can still freeze waxier potatoes like fingerlings and Red Bliss varietals; they just may lose some of their flavor and texture after freezing.
Thawing Frozen Potatoes
If you plan to heat your frozen potatoes for dinner, you’ll want to do so in the fridge. Thawing potatoes in the fridge reduces the chance of textures going awry – this is especially true for mashed potatoes with dairy products, which can separate from the potatoes when thawed too fast. It usually takes twenty-four hours for frozen potatoes to thaw in the fridge.
If you need potatoes to thaw sooner, place them in a bowl of cold water on the counter. This method won’t split the potatoes from dairy products or cause grainy textures as much as thawing potatoes in the microwave or hot water.
Freezing Cooked Carrots Alone
Carrots, like potatoes, do best in the freezer after you have blanched them. Follow the same steps for blanching potatoes to blanch carrots properly. Carrots usually take about the same time as potatoes to blanch, roughly three to five minutes, depending on the preparation type.
Baby carrots freeze well, both blanched and fully cooked. If you’re a fan of cooked baby carrots, you can prepare them as you would typically by boiling the carrots for about ten minutes. After blanching or boiling, place the baby carrots in a single layer inside a freezer-safe bag.
Diced carrots respond well to blanching and freezing. First, follow the usual steps for blanching by submerging the carrots in boiling water for about three minutes.
Next, cool the carrots in a cold water bath and dry them before placing the diced carrots into a ziplock bag or freezer-safe container. Diced carrots freeze well in a single, flat layer or a block shape inside a freezer container.
If you like shredded carrots for salad or toppings, you can freeze those too. Shredded carrots take about five minutes to blanch. It’s a good idea to flatten the carrots once they are inside a freezer-safe bag. This ensures even freezing and makes storage easier.
If you have a baby or enjoy a good carrot casserole, freezing batches of mashed carrots can make food prep for the future easier. Prepare mashed carrots the same way you would mash potatoes, though you can choose to omit butter or milk to smooth the carrot mixture if you like.
Cool the mashed carrots to room temperature before spooning them into a freezer-safe bag.
If you choose to use dairy products in your mashed carrots, remember that the dairy may separate from the carrots in the freezer, but you can usually remix it together after thawing.
Freezing Raw Carrots Doesn’t Work Well
Raw carrots have a high water content, just like potatoes. Because of their water content, uncooked carrots can turn black and mushy in the freezer. While some people do choose to freeze whole carrots, it is a bit of a gamble and won’t work nearly as well as for blanching or cooking carrots before freezing them.
Additionally, raw carrots won’t preserve as long in the freezer since the enzyme that causes food to go bad wasn’t stopped by blanching or cooking.
Thawing Frozen Carrots
When you’re ready to thaw and enjoy your carrots, you’ll want to follow a similar practice as thawing frozen potatoes. To preserve the texture of the carrots, it’s best to defrost them either in the fridge over twenty-four hours or in a bowl of cold water.
Most carrots take about six hours to defrost in cold water. If you decide to thaw carrots in the microwave or in hot water, be prepared for the carrots to become mushy and possibly lose their flavor.
Freezing potatoes and carrots can provide a long-term storage solution for vegetables that may otherwise go bad. If you want to have carrots and potatoes last for up to a year in the freezer, make sure to blanch them and keep them in an air-tight container. Finally, remember to defrost your carrots and potatoes in the fridge to preserve their flavor and texture.
Please see more list about Can you freeze stew with potatoes