Freezing Potato Salad Is Possible, But You May Not Want To Try It

bowl of potato salad
bowl of potato salad - Pixel-Shot/Shutterstock

Food waste is a real problem in America; it's estimated that Americans waste between 125 and 160 billion pounds of food annually. With food waste being such a concern (and grocery prices still way up even after a slower year of inflation in 2023), most people are looking for ways to keep food good for as long as possible. The most obvious method, of course, is freezing it -- but some foods just aren't going to freeze well no matter how hard you try.

One of those foods is definitely potato salad -- but it depends a lot on what you're putting in it. An ingredient like mayonnaise or sour cream will be an outright disaster because of what happens to those ingredients when you freeze them -- but you can actually pull it off if you use a potato salad held together with something like oil or mustard.

Read more: 8 Baking Sheet Mistakes You Want To Avoid

Mayo And Sour Cream Don't Freeze Well

sour cream in bowl
sour cream in bowl - Magone/Getty Images

It's important to note that it won't hurt potato salad if you freeze it; there are no food safety concerns here. It will last about three to six months, so you could freeze potato salad, thaw it, and eat it without getting sick -- other than from the taste and texture, that is.

The first issue here is that making your potato salad out of mayonnaise or sour cream is just totally hosed. Mayonnaise is an emulsion, meaning its ingredients don't want to stay together anyway, and if you freeze it, that's all the excuse it needs to separate entirely. Sour cream isn't an emulsion but consists of a combination of fat and liquid, meaning that its two components naturally separate when it freezes. If you've ever seen fats and liquids separate in milk, you know the result is not something you want to eat.

Other Types Of Potato Salad Might Work, Though

bowl of German potato salad
bowl of German potato salad - Mironov Vladimir/Shutterstock

But what if you're dealing with something like German potato salad, which is typically made using oil or mustard? That gets around the issues with mayonnaise or sour cream, right? It actually does work pretty well.

You've probably heard you shouldn't freeze potatoes, and that's true -- if you're talking about raw potatoes. Raw potatoes contain a ton of excess water, meaning that when thawed, their consistency will absolutely turn to mush. Cooked potatoes have some of this (meaning the consistency of frozen oil-based potato salad isn't going to be 100% ideal), but a lot of the water has already been released during the cooking process, helping to mitigate the problem.

So, if you're going to freeze potato salad, make sure it's made with an ingredient that can freeze without issue. After all, nobody wants to eat a soggy, separated mess of a meal.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.