I love Hash Brown Casserole and most any recipe I use calls for a bag of frozen storebought hash brown potatoes, or shredded potatoes. When using those, the recipe always turns out good but I never like using those potatoes for several reasons.
- Frozen hash browns or shredded potatoes are not something I keep on hand and since I don’t go to the grocery store real often, that’s something I have to put off til I’ve been to the store. I think that if you keep them in the freezer too long, they end up smelling funny – like the plastic bag or something. Everything else for that casserole, I keep on hand – just never have the main ingredients.
- They’re way more expensive than a bag of potatoes or, better yet, home grown potatoes.
It’s been over a week since I was at the store and when I saw this Amish Breakfast Casserole recipe, I wanted to make it NOW and didn’t have the hash browns. For a long time, I’ve been thinking that there should be a way to make the homemade hash browns work but two things kept me from trying it.
- When I grate potatoes, they oxidize very quickly. Being exposed to the air, they turn dark and unpleasant looking. Keeping them covered in water, or even adding a little ascorbic acid to the water will prevent them from discoloring but that would kind of defeat my purpose of doing most of the work ahead.
- Grated hash brown potatoes drain and drain and drain. Potatoes have lots of water. If using them in a casserole, I don’t want to think about what the casserole would look like if all that liquid leaked out of the home made hash browns.
With a little research, I came up with a plan and I’m happy to say, it worked perfectly in our breakfast casserole.
First I peeled and grated the potatoes. Then I grated the potatoes.
You can see that the potato on the back right, which was the first one I shredded, is already beginning to darken.
Next, I added the potatoes to salted boiling water and let them boil for 5 – 7 minutes. Then they were drained in the colander and rinsed with cold water to stop the cooking process.
They were then spread out on clean dish towels to completely drain. Since I was going to use these in a “make ahead” casserole, once they were drained, I wrapped them in paper towels to catch any additional liquid, and placed the potatoes and paper towels in a zipper bag.
The potatoes are in the bag behind the bacon.
When I have time, I am going to try this method and freeze some of the hash browns and see how well they do when thawed. When growing potatoes, I can never use them all and without a root cellar or a place to store them, they go bad. I have canned potatoes and they’re ok .. nothing to write home about. I have blanched them and then grated or sliced them and dehydrated them. When rehydrated, they aren’t bad but they aren’t the best. If freezing hash browns this way will work, and be good enough for frying for breakfast or using in casseroles, I will be a happy potato grower!
In summary, here are the steps I used.
- Start a large pot of water to boil. Add salt . . however much you want. I would probably add at least 1/2 tsp. per potato or maybe even 1 tsp. per potato.
- Peel and grate the potatoes. I grated these by hand but if doing a lot, I would use my food processor.
- Add the grated potatoes to the boiling water and allow to boil for 5 – 7 minutes.
- Drain and rinse with cold water. When preparing them for freezing, I will rinse, then dump them into a bath of ice water.
- Drain again and dry as thoroughly as possible. I find that spreading several bath towels on the counter, then covering those with several layers of lint free dish cloths is a great way to drain the potatoes.
- For freezing, place in bags and vacuum seal for longer storage.
At this point, I used them in a casserole. I will come back to this post and update it once I have frozen the potatoes.