I run a sweet potato farm. My town has been hit by a storm, so I have no other choice but to sell all my sweet potatoes. However, there are still a lot of unsold stocks and I worry that they might rot soon. Can I freeze these sweet potatoes so that they may have longer shelf life?
I am sorry for the disaster that happened in your place. Nature, indeed, can be a farmer’s worst nightmare. Rotten crops would be a huge loss especially to your income as a farmer. By freezing them, you would gain more time to sell your stocks.
The sad thing is that raw sweet potatoes can not be successfully frozen. However, freezing cooked sweet potatoes is possible. With this method, they can last for 10 to 12 months when properly stored. The sweet potatoes to be frozen should be fresh, else it will result to a poor quality food.
Can you freeze sweet potatoes?
Sweet potatoes cannot be frozen effectively. Freezing them raw would decrease its taste and nutritional content. They also become brittle.
However, boiled and baked sweet potatoes can be frozen. There is no significant change in taste when freezing is done correctly.
For successful freezing, fresh sweet potatoes should be used. Note that their skin is even and has smooth tones. Sweet potatoes with bruises should be avoided as they are prone to bacterial growth.
The sweet potatoes would have to be cured first for at least a week in order to get a desirable taste. They can be mashed or sliced, all up to your choice. It is also recommended to dip or mix lemon juice on the sweet potato to prevent discoloration.
Sealing of the sweet potatoes in a freezer bag where air is removed is also important. It prevents the growth of microbes in your food, extending its shelf life.
In room temperature, raw sweet potatoes have an average shelf life of 1 to 2 weeks. When cooked and frozen, they may last 10 to 12 months depending on how it was stored.
How to freeze sweet potatoes
The only way to freeze sweet potatoes successfully is to cook it first. Though it involves cooking, it is still a very easy method.
- Cure the sweet potatoes for about a week. You can cure them by letting them dry outside where it is warm.
- Pick only fresh sweet potatoes. The fresh ones have smooth and blemish-free skin. The overripe ones have decaying spots.
- Boil the sweet potatoes in water. You can also bake them in an oven. Cook until the sweet potatoes become mushy.
- Let them sit in room temperature. Freezing while they are still hot may result to food spoilage.
- Skin the sweet potato and you can choose to either chop or mash it.
- For chopped sweet potatoes, dip into two tablespoons of lemon juice. For the mashed ones, mix it into the same amount of lemon juice. This will prevent discoloration of your frozen sweet potato.
- Place them in a freezer bag. Remove as much air as possible in order to prevent bacterial growth.
- Seal the bag and freeze. They can be stored for 10 to 12 months, depending on how careful you were on freezing.
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