Potatoes and their many varietals have been a constant companion of humanity. They are hardy, able to grow in many environments and survive for a long time without modern methods of storage. But all the same, modern methods of storage are here. That being the case, you will want to know how to freeze them.
So, can you freeze sweet potatoes?
Yes, you can freeze sweet potatoes. They will require some preparation before freezing however, as they have a high water content that means that freezing them normally kills them. In order to freeze them without killing them, you will have to put them through a process called “blanching”.
What Is Blanching?
The actual act of blanching your food is quite simple, though the purpose and internal functionality of blanching is not. If you want to perform blanching, it is simple: Begin by boiling some water, then submerging your vegetables into it (in this case, sweet potatoes). Once those vegetables are hot, submerge them in iced water.
The process, as stated before, is quite easy. Then, once your sweet potatoes are blanched, they should survive the freezing process. But how does this work? Visually, nothing about your sweet potatoes will be different. They went from steamy to freezing, but how much did that really change in them?
That is the harder question to answer. Two things are worth noting at this point: First, knowing how blanching works does not change the blanching process. It cannot really be optimized any further than that base set of instructions. There is no better heat than boiling, no better cold than freezing.
Second, it is pretty mission critical to blanch your sweet potatoes before freezing. You will find out why soon enough, but this is worth mentioning because once you know the outcome that blanching works to create, you might get to thinking there is another way to get that outcome. There is not. Blanching is the only way.
How Does Blanching Work?
Consider the two steps of blanching. Blanching involves boiling your sweet potatoes, and then freezing them while they are still piping hot. If you are wondering what is going on in the sweet potatoes during this, then think about salt water: If you boil salt water, the water boils away before the salt does.
Something similar happens inside your sweet potatoes when you are blanching them. As stated before, sweet potatoes have a higher amount of water inside of them than other vegetables. Normally, when they freeze, that was bonds with the enzymes that give the potato life. Ice bonding with enzymes kills the enzymes.
If the sweet potato is blanched beforehand, however, then the water inside the sweet potato separates out from the enzymes, much like how water separates from salt when salt water evaporates. Then, once the blanched sweet potatoes are frozen, the water is unable to bond with the enzymes.
All of this is invisible to the naked eye, but it is the reason (and the only way) that sweet potatoes can survive the freezing process. Because it is invisible, however, you might have to try it on individual sweet potatoes before you try freezing all your sweet potatoes at once, just to get good at it.
How Long Can Sweet Potatoes Stay Frozen?
The great thing about freezing sweet potatoes is that if they were properly blanched before freezing, then there is no reason they cannot stay frozen for up to a year. Granted, that is on the higher end of their lifespan. But it is entirely possible, due to the way freezing effects the chemical reactions inside of them.
You see, freezing things slows down all chemical reactions inside of them. This has long been what has motivated humanity to investigate cryogenics as a method of prolonging human life. Currently, freezing humans cannot preserve them due to the way water works, but it can work on produce.
Relating back to the previously mentioned effect freezing water can have on enzymes, it takes a long while for that frozen water to negatively effect the enzymes of sweet potatoes when the water is frozen in place.
The health benefits of potatoes are well documented, even if they are not widely known to the public. However, the potato is widely available and easily mass produced. So, no matter what your situation in life is, you can rely on it to take care of you, so long as you take care of it as well.