When I first started making mashed sweet potatoes, I deemed them “annoying-but-worth-it.” Annoying because it took longer than 30 min to make, and thirty minutes is sort of my standard when it comes to judging a recipe’s user-friendliness. (If it takes longer than thirty minutes, it better be darn good.) But worth it because they are just so good, and go so well with so many things. Not to mention, they’re green tier, so here we have a pretty, yummy, healthy side dish that is kid friendly and spouse friendly. So, ok. I’ll put forth the effort.
Then I noticed Trader Joe’s has pre-made, frozen mashed sweet potato packs. Um, WHA?
Then, unfortunately, I checked the price. Do they think I’m made of money??? At my Trader Joe’s, it’s $2.49 for 18 ounces, or roughly $2.21 per pound. Conversely, nearly every week at one grocery store or another I can find sweet potatoes for $.79 per pound. So buying pre-made sweet potatoes, while easy and healthy, costs nearly three times what buying plain sweet potatoes costs. For some of you, this may be well worth it, but as for me, I’m chalking this up in the “costs too much so I’ll just do a little work and save myself a bunch of money so I can have more lattes” column. (And maybe that’s a bad name for a column. Did you come here to discuss the naming of my budgetary columns? I didn’t think so!)
We Can Do This!
Ok, so if you know me at all you know that the way my brain works is that just because I choose not to buy something, doesn’t mean I necessarily have to live without it. I’m very much a “If they can do it, I can do it” person. So I figured out how to make my own frozen sweet potato packs. And let me tell you! It was quite the trial-and-error process. It went something like this:
“Ok, so I’ll just make my mashed sweet potatoes like I normally do but I’ll make a lot and then I’ll freeze it.
Yep. That works.”
Seriously it was that easy. Why I had to let Trader Joe’s give me the idea I’ll never know, and I’ll likely never forgive myself.
So, for less than $1 per pound, you, too, can have your own frozen mashed sweet potatoes ready to go the next time you need a quick and easy healthy side dish. (Perfect for just about any 1-2-3 Eat! meal! We love them as a side for The Perfect Grilled Steak or Heidi’s Never-Fail Meatloaf.)
Instructions - Frozen Mashed Sweet Potato Packs
STEP 1: Get Some Sweet Potatoes
To make your own frozen mashed sweet potato packs, first get some sweet potatoes. I usually make mine in quantities of 8 because that’s what fits into my 5 quart instant pot. You can make as many or as few as you want here. I estimate 1/2 to 3/4 of a large sweet potato per serving. So figure out how many servings you want per pack, and how many packs you want to have in your freezer, and do the math. (Sorry, math.) Or you can just do 8 like I do and not do math.
STEP 2: Peel The Potatoes
The hands-down best vegetable peeler I’ve ever used is my Pampered Chef Vegetable Peeler. If you get frustrated peeling vegetables, it’s probably because your peeler isn’t very good. (At least that has been my experience.) Also, don’t put sweet potato peels down your garbage disposal. Don’t ask me how I know or I will be forced to tell you about one Thanksgiving with my sister-in-law that involved a plunger.
STEP 3: Cook The Potatoes
Place 1 cup water in the insert of an Instant Pot. Top with the trivet that came with it. Add potatoes. Don’t worry if the stacked potatoes go a little higher than the max line. As long as the lid will close and seal, it will be fine.
Lock lid; set valve to sealing. Program for manual-high and 20 minutes. Allow for natural pressure release. (You might note, here, that this will take longer than 30 minutes, which was my standard for recipes. I don’t count non-active time. In other words, I don’t count the time when my IP is doing the work and I can be doing other things like drinking lattes.)
When the pin drops, it’s safe to open the IP. Remove lid and drain potatoes. Remove trivet.
STEP 4: Mash The Potatoes
Use an immersion blender to mash the potatoes for your frozen mashed sweet potato packs. (I use a Cuisinart like this one.)
If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use a blender (vent lid unless you want to clean mashed sweet potatoes from your ceiling) or a potato masher.
STEP 5: Package, Label, and Freeze
To assemble your frozen mashed sweet potato packs, divide the mashed potatoes into freezer bags. (I use quart size.) Label and lay flat in your freezer.
STEP 6: Reheat
To reheat your frozen mashed sweet potato packs after freezing, remove from bag and place frozen potatoes in a microwave-safe dish.
Cover and vent. Microwave on high 2 minutes. Stir. Microwave 2 minutes longer. Check.
If they’re not hot enough, microwave on high in 30 sec increments, stirring after each increment, until they’ve reached desired temperature.
Add 1 tablespoon unsalted butter per 4 potatoes before pureeing.
Add 1 tsp cinnamon and 1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup per 4 potatoes before pureeing.
The End Result
And here is the final result of making and reheating your own frozen mashed sweet potato packs.