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How to Store Cut Potatoes (For Boiling, Roasting, or Frying)

How to Store Cut Potatoes (For Boiling, Roasting, or Frying)

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Potatoes are versatile and well-loved. Who can imagine a world without homemade fries, baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, potato salad, or hashbrowns? Absolutely no one!

Now, the ideal way to store some potatoes is to leave them uncut. But what if you have a large batch of cut potatoes that need proper storage?

To store cut potatoes for later use, you must prepare them first. Peel, cut, and submerge potatoes in water, then store in a non-metal bowl in the refrigerator for about 8-24 hours before cooking. For long-term storage, parboil the cut potatoes, then place them in your deep freezer for a few months.

Keep on reading for an in-depth guide that shows you the ideal techniques and tricks to store cut potatoes and prevent them from turning brown. 

Let’s dive in!

The Best Way to Store Cut Potatoes

Choose from two methods to store your cut potatoes (based on the length of time you want to store them).

  • Short-Term Storage: Prepare potato cuts as per the recipe and refrigerate the portion amount as per the storage method I use below. (Ideal for a few days)
  • Long-Term Storage: Cut, dice, or slice potatoes, then freeze them after parboiling. (Ideal for several months)

The Best Way to Store Cut Potatoes for Boiling

A proven method to save time in the kitchen, which worked for generations, is keeping chopped potatoes covered in water, preferably in a glass bowl because it’s much less active than metal.

This technique prevents browning due to enzymatic oxidation. You can boost its effectiveness slightly by putting the potatoes in the refrigerator, as it generally slows down enzymatic reactions.

To do this, start by cleaning the potatoes. Use a bowl filled with water and lightly scrub each potato to remove dirt residue. 

Give the spuds a final rinse under cool running water; then cut the potatoes as directed in the recipe. Yet, you should only keep the potatoes in water for no longer than 24 hours. 

Additionally, it works well for whole or bigger cubes and cuts (especially for larger varieties like Russets and Yukon gold. For smaller diced pieces, it’s better to cut and use them straight away.

Since the technique introduces moisture into the potatoes, you should only use it if you’re boiling potatoes in stews or mashed, but it doesn’t work well for fried or oven-baked.

What you need:

  • Peeled (or not) potatoes as per your recipe
  • A colander
  • A bowl to hold the volume of potatoes you need and enough water to cover them. Glass or plastic containers are preferable.

Method:

  1. Fill the bowl at least halfway with cold water.
  2. As you finish cutting each potato, transfer it to the water-filled bowl.
  3. When complete, rinse the cut potatoes once using the colander.
  4. Return rinsed potatoes to the bowl and add enough cold water to cover them well. A good tip here is to add ice if the water is at room temperature.
  5. Cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap.
  6. Refrigerate for a maximum of 24 hours for larger-cut cooking potatoes. The ideal time to drain the water from the potato and cook it is between 8 to 10 hours.

When it’s time to use the potatoes, drain and rinse once again with cold water; rinsing the potatoes twice will remove excess starch, which helps them cook better.

Often, it’s advised to add lemon juice or vinegar to the potato water bath to prevent browning. Although acidic additives help reduce browning, adding them can have unintended consequences: an altered taste.

The Best Way to Store Cut Potatoes for Roasting and Frying

You Can Store Cut Potatoes For Roasting Or Frying In Air Tight Container In Fridge For 12 Hours

So, how to food-prep for your favorite frying or roasting dishes without compromising potato quality? By using the salty water short soak method.

A simple 10-minute soak in a salted water mix prevents browning, and it won’t saturate the potatoes as lengthy soaking does or leave a salty aftertaste.

What you need:

  • Peeled (or not) potatoes as per your recipe
  • A colander
  • Kosher salt and water. Varies on the number of potatoes you have:
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt-to-1 cup water ratio (or 4 teaspoons of salt per 1/2 gallon of water
  • A bowl to hold the volume of potatoes you need and cover them in water. Glass or plastic containers are preferable.
  • Airtight storage container

After soaking the potatoes in saltwater, rinse them to remove any salt residue and let them air dry. 

Store the potatoes for up to 12 hours in an airtight container in the refrigerator. No need to rinse again. Just follow your recipe and enjoy!

How to Store Cut Potatoes in the Freezer

Freezing is the best method for storing peeled and cut potatoes for between three and six months. 

The advantage of this method is that it’ll save you cooking time in the future. Before freezing, you must first parboil the potatoes to retain their quality for cooking.

Raw potatoes have a high water content, so they don’t freeze well and might become mushy, watery, or even stringy. Cooking before freezing helps in reducing this problem significantly.

Additionally, partially cooked potatoes take less time in the oven, which is especially useful when cooking for many people, and several dishes are contesting oven space.

How to Parboil Potatoes for Freezing

  1. Prep the potatoes and cut them into the size and shape of your choice.
  2. Drop the potatoes into boiling water and parboil until almost cooked (it should be tender but still on the firmer side)

The size of the potato chunks will determine the boiling time; a couple of minutes is perfect for small diced potatoes, whereas larger potato chunks may take up to 10 minutes.

How to Freeze Parboiled Potatoes for Boiling

The process is simple:

  1. Arrange potatoes on a tray without letting them touch each other.
  2. Pop the potatoes into the freezer for about six to 12 hours (flash-freezing).
  3. Transfer to a resealable freezer bag, remove excess air, and pop back into the freezer.

Remember to label the bag with the date frozen and the type of potato cut before filling to keep track of your storage.

How to Freeze Parboiled Potatoes for Roasting and Frying

If you’re planning to roast or fry potatoes, coat them in oil after the parboiling process – once cooled to the touch.

Arrange the roasties or chips on a tray and pop them into the freezer. When potatoes are frozen solid (about six to 12 hours), transfer them to a Ziplock freezer bag, remove excess air, label, and return to the freezer. 

Freezing home-cut items for frying is a risky business and doesn’t always provide the best quality chip, but it can be done.

How to Cook Frozen Potatoes

Now that you’ve frozen your potatoes, you might be wondering about the ideal way to cook them when necessary, and that’s where this section comes in handy!

How to Cook Par-Boiled Potatoes from Frozen

You won’t need to defrost smaller pieces, such as chopped potatoes, because the cooking process will do it for you. Drop them into boiling water or into the food you’re cooking until they’re done.

As for larger chunks, you can defrost them by placing them in the refrigerator overnight. Then, in a pot of boiling water, cook the parboiled potatoes until they are fully done, drain, and use.

How to Cook Roast Potatoes/Fries from Frozen

You Can Roast Potatoes Straight From The Freezer

Luckily, you don’t need to defrost potatoes before frying and roasting. Instead, you can go ahead and use them straight from the freezer. 

Place potatoes in a preheated oven at the same temperature, as usual, adding 10-15 minutes to the cooking time for roasted potatoes. 

The same goes for frying potatoes, but you should rely on the golden brown color as the indicator of readiness.

Freeze and Microwave Roasted Potatoes

This method is an excellent preparation technique because it speeds up your cooking time dramatically when it’s time to use the potatoes. Here’s how it goes:

  1. First, you should roast the potato pieces in oil for half to three-quarters of the recommended time. 
  2. Allow the potatoes to cool down completely.
  3. Spread the prepped pieces on a lined baking sheet in a single layer, spaced so as not to touch each other.
  4. Flash-freeze the potatoes (until they’re solid)
  5. Seal the frozen potatoes in a freezer-friendly container or bag.
  6. When you’re ready to cook them, pop them in the microwave from frozen, and finish off by heating and cooking them through.

A good guideline is to microwave at 75% power (around 800 Watts) until thawed out to remove any water the potatoes may have released. 

After that, crank up the microwave to 100% for a few minutes until cooked through. Keep the dish covered while cooking and check the potatoes constantly to avoid overcooking the potatoes.

Using this method gives you something of a roasted taste to the potato. It’s not crisp and creamy but can become soft without being stringy.

Why Does Water Stop Potatoes from Browning?

Browning occurs when vegetables and fruits are sliced or peeled, and the PPO (polyphenol oxidase) enzyme reacts with oxygen.

A huge dish of cold water will stop enzymatic browning in its tracks. Add enough water to cover the skinned or cut potatoes in the mixing basin. The water acts as a barrier between the potatoes and the air, slowing down the reaction significantly.

What Happens to Submerged Potatoes in Water If Kept Longer Than 24 Hours?

If the potatoes are left for longer in the refrigerator they will start to develop a slightly sweet flavor, and their structure weakens – good for mashing, bad for frying and roasting. 

Large-cut potatoes can withstand up to 24 hours in the refrigerator while smaller ones only last for about 8 to 12 hours.

Is It Okay If the Potato Water Discolors?

Depending on the type and the starch content of the potatoes you store, the water in the bowl may turn brown. 

If this happens, don’t worry, as this is a natural reaction that results from enzymatic functions and isn’t a sign of decomposition, so your potatoes aren’t compromised in any way. Simply rinse and replace with clean water and you’re good to go.

Why Do Stored Potatoes Turn Brown During Cooking?

If refrigerated potatoes brown during cooking, don’t be worried. The response which causes the potatoes to be brown doesn’t make them unfit to consume.

This happens because starch in potatoes begins to convert into sugar after a few hours of exposure to cold temperatures. 

This sugar caramelizes and darkens, turning the potatoes brown. Caramelisation may slightly alter the taste of the potatoes.

Is It Okay to Freeze Raw Potatoes?

Although freezing raw potatoes helps them last for an incredibly long time, it’s highly unrecommended. 

Besides being difficult, they look appetizingly brown with time. Additionally, after being thawed and cooked, their texture and flavor suffer.

Luckily, parboiling solves this issue. Potatoes freeze better when they’re freshly harvested or bought. When cut or shredded, cooked potatoes freeze well for a few weeks but lose their flavor rapidly.

Does Wrapping Cut Potatoes Protect Them from Browning?

Wrapping many vegetables in foil or plastic wrap is enough to prevent them from discoloring.

Unfortunately, however, it doesn’t work well for potatoes, whether you leave them at room temperature or on the refrigerator shelf.

The Difference Between Blanching and Parboiling

Some root vegetables freeze well after being blanched. Others, like the potato, need to be parboiled to freeze successfully. So what is the difference between the blanching and parboiling process?

BlanchingParboiling
WhyBlanching prevents enzymes from causing flavor, color, and texture loss with minimal cooking. Only the outermost layer is cooked.Parboiling is cooking something in boiling water to give it a head start. Typically, the purpose is to cook an item to speed up the cooking time while also preventing enzymatic reaction.
HowA few seconds to a minute dip in already-boiling water, followed by a dip in ice water to halt any further cookingBoil an ingredient just until it’s soft but not cooked through.
UsesOften used for vegetables that will be eaten raw or stored in the freezer.Ensures that the ingredients that take longer to cook will be soft or completely done when a recipe calls for many ingredients.

Final Thoughts

Remember, whole potatoes keep for months under the right conditions, so they’re typically the best option if you want to keep your potatoes fresh for as long as possible. The ideal spot for storage is a dark place with relatively high humidity and temperatures between 42° and 55°F.

However, if you need to store cut potatoes, prepping using the previously mentioned methods is quite necessary to prevent browning. It also helps you save a lot of time when you’re in a hurry, as the potatoes are already prepped up.

That being said, refrigerated potatoes should be used within 8 to 24 hours, depending on the size of the cut.

Freezing entails chopping to size and parboiling potatoes, cooling, and freezing portion sizes. The faster stored cut potatoes are used, the better the chance of a good texture and taste.

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