headintheforest

things i like to eat

Adventures in sweet potato (part 1)

on March 26, 2012

Hello everyone!

I absolutely love sweet potatoes. I can remember the first time I tried them: it was at a New Orleans style diner in Edmonton named Dadeo‘s. The sweet potatoes were fries with a side remoulade of sorts. They were crispy and spicy, not traditional fries but sweet and soft on the inside. From then on, I tried them in casseroles and roasted with other root vegetables, but one of my favourite ways to eat them is as hashbrowns.

For a time, the only place that I had sweet potatoes as hashbrowns was at Urban Diner. The hashbrowns served there are mostly regular potatoes with surprise sweet potato hashbrowns tossed in for colour and flavour. Obviously, I can’t eat there every day, so I decided to learn how to make and store my own Sweet Potato Hashbrowns.

Freezing Sweet Potato Hashbrowns

What I am going to show you in this post is how to prepare your own sweet potato hashbrowns to freeze and then fry to use however you wish. In my next post, I am going to use them in a ridiculously easy (but cool and delicious) recipe.

Sweet potatoes are cheap and tasty and with a little bit of work, you can have these hashbrowns on hand to fry up at any time. First thing to know is that chopping and directly freezing sweet potatoes will cause a gross, discoloured, freezer burnt, wrinkly pile of wasted effort in your freezer. The secret to freezing the sweet potatoes is blanching them first.

According to Epicurious’s Food Dictionary, blanching means to plunge food (usually vegetables and fruits) into boiling water briefly, then into cold water to stop the cooking process. Blanching is used to firm the flesh, to loosen skins (as with peaches and tomatoes) and to heighten and set color and flavor (as with vegetables before freezing).

Before we get started, you are going to need a sweet potato, plus a knife, cutting board, pot of boiling water, colander, large bowl of ice water and cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Here is the step by step breakdown on how to do this:

1. Put the water on to boil.

2. Dice the sweet potatoes. (For my friends who recently asked how to do this, I will break it down in pictures.)

  • Cut slices of sweet potato
  • Cut the slices into sticks with vertical cuts
  • Turn the sticks and make vertical cuts again to make perfect little cube

3. Squeeze some lemon or lime into the water to prevent the sweet potatoes from discolouring.

4. Dump the potatoes in the water and allow to boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Strain the sweet potatoes in the sieve.

6. Put the sweet potatoes in the ice bath. If you, like me, don’t have ice on hand, you can use the coldest tap water you’ve got and then run it over the sweet potatoes until they are cool. The idea is to prevent them from continuing to cook.

7. Strain the sweet potatoes again. You want them to be quite dry, so shake your colander!

8. Spread the sweet potatoes out on the parchment covered baking sheet. Make sure they are spread out to prevent them from freezing into a glob. If you need extra space, you can lay another sheet of parchment paper on top of the original layer of sweet potatoes to save space in your freezer and put more sweet potatoes on top.

9. Put them in the freezer. When they are frozen, take them out and put them in a ziploc bag. Put them back in the freezer until you are ready to use them.

Ta-da! You have your very own, spectacularly cheap, frozen sweet potato hashbrowns!

Sweet Potato Hashbrowns

2 cups of diced, blanched sweet potato

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp of chopped green onions

1/2 tsp of cajun seasoning

dash of sea salt and pepper (to taste)

To prepare your hashbrowns to eat, heat 1 tbsp of oil in a pan on medium-high heat. Dump in about two cups of hashbrowns.

Sauté for 5 minutes. Add the onions, cajun seasoning, sea salt and pepper.

Sauté for another ten minutes, until hashbrowns are browned and heated through.

Notes on this recipe

These hashbrowns are not exactly crispy. The starch in sweet potatoes doesn’t easily allow for crispiness. However, they are delicious and worth a try! If you do try them and wish desperately that they were crispier, try this trick from The Art of Doing Stuff: Coat the sweet potatoes in corn starch and then toss lightly with oil. Put them in the oven at 425F for 10-15 min. Crispy and delicious!

Also, if you really don’t want to blanch your sweet potatoes before frying them, I totally understand. Note that the cook time will be MUCH longer and they may not cook evenly. This is what I have learned, my friends.

That’s all folks! Next time, I will be using these hashbrowns in a recipe that is simple and yummy.

How do you like your sweet potatoes? 

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One response to “Adventures in sweet potato (part 1)

  1. […] another WordPress.com site « Adventures in sweet potato (part 1) Mar […]

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