Sweet potato is a very popular root vegetable. It is often chosen by athletes and dieters due to its GI score being lower than that of normal potatoes.
Although they are often available throughout the year, it is a good idea to freeze them at the height of the harvest season when their nutritional value scores better. The peak harvest season for sweet potatoes is from the start of October through to the end of November in the northern hemisphere.
The best way to freeze sweet potatoes is to first blanch them for 8 to 10 minutes before freezing them. Do this in an airtight, freezer-proof container for up to 6 months. Alternatively, you can bake whole sweet potatoes in foil before freezing them once they have cooled to room temperature.
Let’s take a closer look at what your options are when it comes to freezing sweet potatoes. And also how this can make meal preparation much easier for you when you’re pressed for time during the week.
How To Freeze Sweet Potatoes
The method for freezing sweet potatoes that works the best for me is by freezing them as baked potatoes. What I do is I use a fork to pierce the skin a few times and place them on a large baking tray.
I bake my sweet potatoes for 90 minutes and then let them cool down to room temperature. Once the sweet potatoes are cool I wrap each one in aluminum foil and store them in freezer bags.
Depending on the size I usually have about half a dozen sweet potatoes in each freezer bag. I find it that my baked sweet potatoes can easily last for 6 months in the freezer.
The Relative Nutritional Value Of Fresh vs Frozen Sweet Potatoes
The way that sweet potatoes are cooked makes a big difference to their GI (Glycemic Index) score or the effect they have on spiking your blood sugar. This is because the relative temperatures of different cooking processes break down the starches of the sweet potato into component sugars differently.
Raw sweet potato has a GI score of 63, making it a medium GI food. Medium GI foods score 56 to 69 on the scale. Low GI foods are below that range and high GI foods are higher.
If you blanch sweet potatoes for 8 minutes prior to freezing the GI score drops to 61. Boiling them for 30 minutes in order to make frozen sweet potato mash will drop the GI score all the way down to 46.
On the opposite end of the scale, roasting peeled sweet potatoes in the oven will cause their GI score to increase all the way to 82!. This is higher than white bread at 75, watermelon at 76, and boiled white potatoes at 78.
How Do The Different Varieties Of Sweet Potato Freeze
The two primary varieties of sweet potatoes are what are referred to as dry flesh and moist flesh sweet potatoes. Dry flesh sweet potatoes have a tan-colored skin and much lighter flesh inside. They also tend to have a much higher starch level and, consequently, a slightly higher GI score.
The other primary type of sweet potato is the moist flesh sweet potato. It has darker skin and a rich orange-colored interior. Moist-flesh sweet potatoes just generally taste sweeter.
I often notice that moist-flesh sweet potatoes are more commonly available in the supermarket. That works fine for me because I prefer eating moist-flesh sweet potatoes over the dry-flesh variety. I find the moist-flesh varieties to be a fuel source for my athletic activities.
How Do You Store Cut Sweet Potatoes In The Freezer
If you have cut but uncooked sweet potatoes your best option is to submerge them in cold water and keep them in the refrigerator. This will keep them good enough to cook with for approximately three to four days.
If your intention is to freeze them, then you must first blanch them and then transfer them to an airtight container in which they can be frozen. Your frozen, cut sweet potatoes can last for up to six months in the airtight container in the freezer.
Can You Freeze Raw Potatoes Without Blanching
Uncooked sweet potatoes can’t be frozen. I’ve just mentioned the importance of blanching the sweet potatoes before freezing. This naturally raises the question of whether or not you can freeze raw potatoes without blanching them first.
Unfortunately, uncooked sweet potatoes do not freeze very well at all.
Sweet potato needs to be precooked before freezing or the texture and flavor will degrade during the freezing process. The cold temperatures will make the flesh of the sweet potato turn black when they thaw out after being frozen. This is a result of enzyme action which also causes flavor and texture degradation. Blanching the sweet potatoes is enough to stop these enzyme actions. That allows you to have frozen sweet potatoes that will keep their original color, flavor, and texture.
Can You Freeze Sweet Potato Mash
Sweet potato mash can definitely be frozen. Whenever I make mashed sweet potato, I always make enough to have ample leftovers. When my mashed sweet potato has cooled down to room temperature, I transfer it into freezer-safe containers. Each container has a serving-size portion of sweet potato mash.
I’m able to freeze sweet potato mash for up to 6 months. When I next have it on my meal plan, all I have to do is place a container in the refrigerator overnight to thaw out. It’s perfect for eating the next day!
How Long Does Cooked Sweet Potato Last In The Freezer
Generally speaking, frozen sweet potato can easily last 6 months in the freezer. Cut and blanched sweet potato as well as baked whole sweet potato last 6 months.
However, what I have noticed is that the frozen sweet potato blocks I put in my post-workout smoothies lasted as long as 10 months. This is probably because I use the cubed sweet potato as ice in my smoothie and don’t thaw it out beforehand.
How Can You Tell If Cooked Sweet Potatoes Are Bad
The easiest way to tell if your cooked sweet potato has gone bad is if it starts getting mushy, noticeably soft to the touch, and has a slight odor.
Typically this is a sure sign that your sweet potatoes have begun to rot. You might also start to see brown or black spots on the skin or it may even start wrinkling.
Naturally, you won’t notice any mushiness while your sweet potato is frozen solid. It will only become apparent as it thaws out.
How Do You Reheat Frozen Sweet Potatoes
When it comes to reheating your frozen baked sweet potatoes, you do so by placing them in a 350 F oven for about 25 to 35 minutes.
In theory, you’re supposed to remove the foil and wrap them in fresh foil before baking. However, back when I was a student at college I used to reheat my baked sweet potatoes in their original foil that they were frozen in and those sweet potatoes still came out just fine.
Once you have heated them in the oven for 25 to 35 minutes, they will be ready to serve. All you have to do is split them open and add a little butter and cinnamon sugar before serving. It’s absolutely delicious.
How Do You Preserve Sweet Potatoes
When it comes to storing sweet potatoes, you can keep them in a cool dry dark place such as your pantry for up to two months. Or at room temperature for up to a week. As I mentioned before cut sweet potatoes can be stored in the refrigerator go 3 to 4 days before you really need to use them in a dish. On the other hand, cooked sweet potato can be refrigerated, frozen, dried, or canned.
One of the great things about sweet potatoes, and why they were my staple food during my athlete days, is even though their prime season is during the fall, sweet potatoes are actually available year-round even though the nutritional value does drop marginally outside of the peak season.
Therefore sweet potatoes are available at my local supermarket more or less all year round. After their prime season, I check the ends to make sure that they haven’t started to go soft and that there are no dark spots on the skins.
I’d rather come back a week later when the supermarket has stocked up with a fresh supply of sweet potatoes.
How Long Do You Blanch Sweet Potatoes
When it comes to blanching sweet potatoes you need to follow the following steps:
- Bring your pot of water to a boil and then add the cubed sweet potatoes. We want to cook until they are tender but not yet soft.
- Pour the boiling water into the sink and replace with cold water. As a trick, I like to add some ice cubes too.
- Allow 3 minutes to cool down and get rid of the water.
- Put in a container or tray and place in the freezer for a few more minutes.
- Finally store them in plastic bags and don’t forget to date them!
Can I Freeze Raw Sweet Potato Fries
When it comes to freezing sweet potato fries, I would definitely not freeze raw sweet potato fries simply because they will tend to go black when they thaw out.
Instead, what I’ll do is simply blanch my sweet potatoes that have been cut into the French fry strips before freezing.
What I do is that I will lay them out on a parchment-lined baking sheet that I place in the freezer. Once they have been frozen I can then transfer them from the baking sheet to a large freezer bag and return them to the freezer.
By doing the first part of the freezing process on a baking sheet I can prevent them from freezing together into one solid lump of ice.
How To Freeze Sweet Potatoes For Smoothies
I love using sweet potatoes in my post-workout smoothies. I find that turning my sweet potatoes into the ice cubes that I’m going to use in my smoothie is by far the most efficient way of doing things.
What I do is cook my sweet potatoes. Once the cooked sweet potatoes have cooldown I remove the skin and cut them into one-inch cubes. I then place the cubes onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze the cubes for 12 hours to make sure they’re properly frozen.
I then transfer my cubes into a freezer bag until I’m ready to use them for my smoothie.
If I want to add sweet potato into a post-workout smoothie all I have to do is go to my deep freeze, take out 4 or 5 cubes of sweet potato drop them into the blender in place of some of the ice cubes make my smoothie as normal.