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Salvaging frozen raw potatoes

                            


Joined: Nov 25, 2009
Posts: 11
Location: Corvallis OR
We had an unexpectedly long and deep cold snap here in the Willamette Valley.  The result was that the shed where we had stored our potato harvest, and which never got below freezing last winter, spent several days at below freezing temps, and we did not realize, having never accidentally frozen a raw potato before, what would happen.  We now know we should have kept a heat source, even just lights, running in the shed, but it's too late for that.

So now we are faced with large quantities of potatoes that are no longer holding their moisture!  Puddles of liquid are forming and potatoes are becoming mushy and wrinkled.  I'm cooking them and freezing them as mashed potatoes and as soup base.

Has anyone experienced something like this?  How long do we have before they rot?  Any ideas for other ways to preserve them before they become completely inedible?

The winter squash were in there, too.  They look OK at the moment.  Have they been compromised as well?  What symptoms should we look for?  Should I bake them all sooner rather than later?

All this will be a moot point next year, we hope, as we will have the root storage area of the unheated but insulated porch built and easily monitored for temperature.  This year, with the house still under construction and us in an apartment, it was harder to keep tabs on things.


Patricia
of
Sunrise Corner

"plant seeds and sing songs"
Leah Sattler


Joined: Jun 26, 2008
Posts: 2603
what a bummer! I would be experimenting just as you with making things and freezing them.
some ideas in my head

could you shred and boil them and freeze for hash browns?

can them? this depends on how bad off they are already I suppose.

would dehydrating in slices be an option for you? I know dehydrating potatoes on a large scale wouldn't be easy or fast but might at least give you some variety.




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Joel Hollingsworth
volunteer

Joined: Jul 01, 2009
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
You could try making Chuño (traditional freeze-dried potatoes):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chu%C3%B1o


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Jocelyn Campbell
steward

Joined: Nov 09, 2008
Posts: 2450
Location: Missoula, MT
    
  60
I'm not so experienced in this area, but the winter squash might be compromised, too.

If you have the freezer space, I'm a big fan of freezing completely raw veggies. For the ones that aren't too mushy, I think if you simply scrubbed and cubed the potatoes and squash, skins on, you could freeze them that way, without cooking. The skins are yummy and full of nutrients, or, if they're too tough, I think you could still remove them after steaming or boiling even the frozen cubes.

Good luck!

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Jocelyn Campbell
steward

Joined: Nov 09, 2008
Posts: 2450
Location: Missoula, MT
    
  60
Sunrise Corner - were you able to salvage much of the potatoes and squash that froze in your shed?
                            


Joined: Nov 25, 2009
Posts: 11
Location: Corvallis OR
Jocelyn Campbell wrote:
Sunrise Corner - were you able to salvage much of the potatoes and squash that froze in your shed?


Thanks for asking! 

We cooked what we could of the really mushy potatoes, and spread a lot of the marginally frozen but not too bad looking ones out to dry once the freeze was over.  About 60% of the stored potatoes seem to be OK after thawing and drying off.  We are inspecting weekly and eating anything that seems at risk of spoilage.  We didn't lose more that 10-15% of the crop, between cooking and freezing and drying out the less damaged ones.

The squash has recently started to develop soft spots and mold, so I've been cooking that quicker than we would otherwise have.  I don't know if they would have done that without having frozen; I doubt it.


Patricia
of Sunrise Corner
                        


Joined: Jan 28, 2010
Posts: 175
If the situation is urgent to keep the potatoes from spoiling, you can wash, cut up with skins on, and make mashed potatoes and then dehydrate the mashed potatoes.  You can use the powder in soups or to make potato pancakes.  Or if you have a mandoline slicer, you can slice with skins on, blanche a few minutes, and dehydrate.  This results in potato chips.  If you have winter squash you can make squash chips or sweet potato chips the same way.
 
 
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