To a less-than-impressive cook, the internet is both a blessing and a curse. This past week it’s been a seriously awful, horrible, wretched curse.
Exhibit A: Bananas
I drink a smoothie every morning with my breakfast. Bananas are a staple of my smoothies. The problem is, bananas tend to ripen a little too quickly and I’m not a fan of overripe bananas. My solution in the past has been to slice them at the perfect ripeness and freeze them in big freezer bags. It’s easy to grab a handful in the morning and toss them in the blender.
Recently I read on the internet that as long as the peels are intact with no rips or openings, whole bananas can be frozen and the peel will naturally protect the fruit from freezer burn.
Somehow it seemed worth it to save the five minutes it takes to slice a bunch of bananas. I grabbed several bananas on the verge of becoming too ripe and arranged them neatly in the freezer.
The next morning, I extracted a frozen banana. Not sure what I expected, but the rock-solidness of the fruit took me by surprise. Stupidly, I tried to peel it; the stem snapped right off.
At a loss and on the verge of running late for work, I tossed the banana in the microwave for about 15 seconds. It softened the peel just enough that I was able to remove a small piece just at the top. To my horror, the rest of the peel might as well have been super glued to the fruit. I ended up having to slice off the peel little bits at a time with a knife. This was the hideous result:
So, I thought of a genius idea. I retrieved another banana from the freezer and placed it in the refrigerator. My hope was that it would thaw before the next morning and I wouldn’t go through this ridiculous little battle again.
The next morning:
Not only was the damn thing solid black, but inside of it was practically liquid banana. It was revolting!
So, no more freezing whole bananas for this girl. It’s well worth the five minutes to peel and slice them first. Which brings me to…
Exhibit B: Potatoes
To pair with my smoothies, I also make a little egg-white and potato scramble in the mornings. I’ve been purchasing a bag of frozen Ore-Ida cubed potatoes each week just for this, but they’re almost four bucks a pop. For 98 cents I could buy ten pounds of fresh potatoes. Money-saving powers, activate!
Again, I turned to my friend Google. I found a Taste of Home article on freezing potatoes for hash browns. Taste of Home is a pretty credible cooking source, right?
I peeled quite a few potatoes—although I didn’t count them—and shredded each one in the food processor. As instructed by Taste of Home, I blanched them in boiling water for exactly three minutes, drained them and rinsed them in cold water, and then patted them dry before tossing them into a gallon-sized freezer bag. Start to finish, it was about 45 minutes of work. Not to mention the time it took to clean up the mess it made in my kitchen. Mind you, this is just one section of the affected counter space:
The next day when I opened my freezer, 50% of the shredded potatoes had turned dark brown. Google tried to tell me this was due to oxidization and they are still probably okay to eat, but I just don’t know that I can stomach eating something that looks like stringy poop. Anyhow, the potatoes all froze into a single, solid block. I’m going to cut my losses and consider it 49 wasted cents.
I think I’ve had my fair share of freezer experiments as of late. For now I’m going to leave it to the professionals.