Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Preserving Potatoes: Day Two

Hello Fellow Homesteaders!

Well, here is day two of my potato preservation with more tutorials and some comedy for your entertainment! (Here is Day One if you missed it.) I did all this in record time. It was all on a Monday morning! More on that later...but now...

Here are the dried potatoes, and here is the browning and discoloration I said could happen if the starch isn't blanched out all the way. These are still good to eat, just not as pretty. I probably should have stirred these a bit better in the blanching process.

Here is a tray of yummy looking slices! You can see how much dehydrated slices shrink down. This tray was full with the edges just barely touching.

I put them all in jars to store. I'll cover how to do that on a later day.

Just in case you have never blanched anything before, I decided to show you how step-by-step. I'm guessing if you follow me it's because you are a newbie too, or you enjoy the comedy, either way, I don't want to insult your intelligence, nor do I want to leave you hanging if you want more instruction. So, here's how to blanch the potato slices...

I start off by boiling a pot of water to a full rolling boil. Then add all the potatoes at once, and very carefully to keep from splashing scalding water on yourself (especially if you have a giant pregnant belly in the way!) I let this boil for 2 minutes. Sometimes you need to let it get back to a boil first. All that foam is the starch coming out of the potatoes. This is also why you don't want to blanch more than one batch at a time in the same pot of water. I know it seems a waste, but, you can pour it on the weeds outside to kill them, or let it cool down and use it to water your plants. (Truth be told, I just dumped it down the drain since it's winter. I know, wasteful...shame shame!)

Then I strained them in a colander while running cold tap water to help cool the water going down the pipes. You can also rinse the potatoes in order to help the cooling process.

Then put them in ice water right away to stop the cooking process. Blanch does not mean cook. These aren't actually fully cooked and you wouldn't want to eat them at this point. I hope that makes sense!

After they cool for a couple of minutes, then they are ready to go into the dehydrator. As you can see, these are all touching and will shrink up quite a bit as shown in the pictures at the top of the page. Then I set the dehydrator at 115 degrees (as explained in Day One) and let it run until all the potatoes are completely dry.

Next it's time to do something with all the tator tots I froze up. Here are the rounds, which on day one I decided was the way to go. Less time consuming to make.

Then when I went to get the other tots out, I found! I guess I got the pan too close to the middle part of the lid that sticks down farther than the rest of it! Hey, I bagged these up with the rest of them anyway!

And here it is! This is a gallon-sized bag. I always put cooking instructions on the foods I freeze. (Well, if I remember anyway!) Even though I think I'll remember, it never fails...I don't. Plus it frustrates my Knight to no end when he has no idea what to do with this!

I decided I loved making the tots so much, perhaps I'd try hashbrowns in my regular-sized muffin pans. If you have a mini-loaf pan, this would be excellent! But, alas, I do not.

While I am in the process of preserving these, I always keep a pot of cooked potatoes in the fridge for the next day. So here I started one up. It will sit in the fridge overnight and I won't burn my fingers when I go to use them.

Next I prepared raw potatoes to freeze into loose hashbrowns. I don't often use my food processor because it is insanely loud, but it was perfect to shred a bunch of potatoes in a short amount of time. Notice I left the peel on. Make them however you prefer. I do a bit of both to switch it up.

With shredded potatoes, the blanching process is a bit different. You can do them the same way as sliced potatoes, but since the pieces are smaller, they don't need to be boiled nearly as long to get them blanched. I put them in a colander and poured a couple of pots of boiling water over them. You'll know they are blanched when they start to get a little bit translucent.

Then I drop them all into ice water also.

Now, here comes the down-side to freezing them. You need to dry them off. So, I use a couple of bath towels lined with lint-free towels, like a flour-sack towel or flat diaper. You can also use paper towels of course, but I started using cloth quite some time ago and no longer keep paper towels around. (In case you are wondering, I keep my worn out lint-free towels around for draining bacon or fried foods on, cleaning up oil, etc, then throw them out directly in the dumpster. Don't ever let cloth with oil on in sit in your house! It can create enough heat to build up and start a fire. If you decide to try to wash oil-stained cloth, wash it several times in the hottest water you can before you dry it. But you have to get all the oil out or it could catch the dryer on fire! So, that's why I just don't mess with it and throw them out after they touch oil. Ok, done with the safety speech...)

After your shredded taters/hashbrowns are dried pretty well, time to lay them out and freeze them. Don't freeze them in a bag or you will end up with a giant brick! Spread them out as much as you can so they'll break apart easily to fit into a freezer bag after they are frozen. Trust me, this will save you a lot of heartache later on. Don't ask me how I know. ;)

So, now how did I do all this in one morning while my Knight was at work and I was solo with my two small crazies? This is how... Little Buddy being sweet!

And Stitch being precious! Seriously, I was shocked and proud at their behavior that morning! Even when they are well-behaved, it's rarely to this degree!

Well, I hope you are having success in the food preservation department as well as the child behavior department! Tell me what you are preserving and how you are doing it! I'd love to know!

Happy Preserving!

Jen Hen

1 comment:

  1. Jen I agree we are meant to be friends. I love your goals. I can't wait for Spring to start gardening.


    Cottage Making Mommy


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