Shepherds pie, fish pie and fish cakes are some of my daughter’s top meals.
And personally I love stomach lining gnocchi … home made from a big heap of mashed potatoes … and slathered in cheese sauce.
And mashed potatoes are simple, right?
So what’s not to like about them for the busy mum trying to make dinner fast?
Errmm … well the fact it takes 30 minutes to peel the potatoes, boil’em and mash’em for a start! Because once you’ve made the mash, you’re still talking another 30-40 minutes to get food on the table.
And I don’t know about you, but any meal that takes longer than 30 minutes to make is a disaster in my house during the week.
I don’t want to spend all the time after school cooking … that time is too precious for both of us. And if it takes an age to make dinner, bed time slips and we are on a slippery slope for the rest of the week.
Anyway, this all got me wondering a while back back whether you could freeze mashed potatoes. And you know what? You CAN!!! Hurrah!
I can now bulk cook a whole load of mash, shove it in the freezer and then whip up all those yummy, winter warmers in half an hour during the week!
And from over a year of doing it, here are my top tips on how to bulk freeze mashed potatoes …
How To Freeze Mashed Potatoes
I reckon the best time to do this is over the weekend ‘cos then you can get the whole family involved peeling the spuds :-)
I do about 8lbs worth of potatoes in one go. That’s roughly enough for 4 meals for 4. And it fits in my big spaghetti pan.
Cut the potatoes into large pieces. If you cut them too small the potatoes will get soggier which you want to avoid when freezing.
Put the cut potatoes in a big pan of cold salted water. I know Delia swears by steaming them for the best mash but that’s a non-starter when you’re bulk cooking. Bring to the boil and boil for 15 to 20 minutes.
Once cooked, cut into smaller pieces and very roughly mash. I hate lumpy mashed potatoes but you’re not going for the finished article here. And rough mash gives you more cooking options as things like fish cakes aren’t so great with a fine mash.
Do NOT add milk, cream, butter etc! You add these when defrosting.
Now divide the potato up into small freezer bags so that you just have one flat layer of potato in each bag.
This is a KEY tip … I learnt the hard way … as it makes it much, much quicker to defrost. And they are easier to store in the freezer.
Cooking With Frozen Mashed Potatoes
Now if you are all organized … I wish! … you will have taken the mash out of the freezer in the morning so it is all nicely defrosted.
But assuming … like me … you completely forgot, sit the bag(s) in a bowl of hot water a few minutes to start them defrosting. Then tip into a pan with small amounts of butter and milk and let them defrost in the pan, stirring around until it is soft enough to start mashing.
The mashed potatoes will have absorbed water in freezing so you need less milk than if you were cooking from scratch.
I go heavier on butter than milk and just add a little at the time as I need it.
If you’ve frozen the potatoes in small, flat bags, it should only take 5 minutes-ish to defrost enough for you to mash up nice and smooth and lump free.
And that’s it … just chuck the mashed potatoes in whatever you’re making.
Couldn’t be simpler :-)