Cooking the Kumara
Bulk buying and freezing is my top tip for reducing the food budget. It is something that I have learnt to do fairly well – mainly through trial and error.
Recently I managed to score 10kgs of kumara for $20 (outrageous price, I know!). And it got me thinking that I wanted to share my bulk buying tips for kumara as this is such a good vegetable that can be found in bulk. I also like to use these methods for Potatoes (I buy 1 x 10kg bag of potatoes and that lasts me a year).
My rule of thumb is two medium-large sized kumara or potatoes per meal and when I cook its usually for 4 or 5 meals at a time. The reason for that is because I try to align it with the meat I choose so that nothing is sitting in the fridge for too long (reducing food waste is my second top tip).
I have also included “place into glad bags” on some of the instructions – I have been using my glad bags up for now. I have been washing and re-using the ones I currently have until they are broken and need to be thrown out, then replacing these with more sustainable container options. Saving containers from the supermarket (or from my flat mates takaway’s) and rewash these to use in the freezer is always a good money and environment saver too. The little ones from the service deli are perfect for a one serving of mash. I understand glad bags are a cheaper option and if you need to use these then go ahead, but if you can invest in some proper freezer containers then I do highly recommend that – they will save you so much money in the long run! Perhaps something to ask for as a Christmas or birthday (or housewarming) present?
Here are some of the key methods I use for these two vegetables.
Mashing to freeze
- Grab 8 Kumara and peel them. Then cut into cubes and place in a pot of boiling water.
- Boil for 15 minutes (or until soft). Drain excess water.
- Mash the kumara until all lumps have been removed.
- Either place into a large dish ready for the freezer or quarter into smaller dishes.
- Defrost by taking it out the morning that you intend to use. (In my experience it doesn’t defrost well in the microwave, makes it too runny).
- When re-heating, ONLY reheat the amount you want to use that night. Avoid reheating the whole lot and putting the rest in the fridge. You can defrost a large container load – take out the bit for that evening and put the rest back into the fridge for reheating the next day. Reheating instructions below:
- Microwave – pop into the microwave for one minute. Remove and add any extras you want (butter, cream, milk, fresh herbs – whatever you would normally add to mash). Pop back into the microwave for one minute then stir well and serve.
- Stove top – place the mash into a pot on the stove. Keep stirring the mash while it is heating up, add any extras (butter, milk, fresh herbs – whatever you normally add to your mash). Keep stirring until the consistency is nice and thick. Serve.
My favorite is adding butter and fresh herbs to the mash and enjoying with sausages. I also use this to make a variety of mash’s – in the past I have tried: pumpkin and kumara mash, parsnip and pumpkin, carrot and kumara, carrot and parsnip, pumpkin, potato and kumara (with cheese) and many more! There are lots of veggies you can buy in bulk for cheap, just have to play around with ideas.
- Grab 8 kumara, no peeling. Cut lengthways into desired chip size.
- Heat oven to 180 degrees. Pop chips in the oven for no longer than 10 minutes. (you don’t want to cook them but you want to just crisp up the outside).
- Remove from oven and let them cool completely. Place into a freezer proof dish or glad bag and place in freezer. If using a glad bag then make sure you squeeze all the air out.
- Oven – heat oven to 180 degrees. Place chips straight from freezer in an oven proof dish and place in the oven for 10 minutes. Check for crispiness. If you have cut really thick pieces then cook for an additional 5 minutes. Take out and serve.
- Air fryer – place chips straight from frozen into the air fryer on 200 degrees for 10 minutes. Take out and serve.
If you don’t cook your kumara or potatoes first they will go a black colour – there is nothing wrong with the texture if you choose to cook them but they just look weird.
- Heat oven to 180 degrees. Cut kumara into halves or quarters (depending on your preference on size) and place in an oven tray.
- Toss to coat with some olive oil in a bowl (and I like to include fresh herbs). This makes sure the outside gets nice and crispy.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes in the oven. You want to take them out just before they are cooked. Leave in tray to cool down completely.
- Place into a freezer proof dish or glad bag and place in freezer. If using a glad bag then make sure you squeeze all the air out.
- Oven – heat oven to 180 degrees. Place in an oven proof dish straight from freezer and place in the oven for 10 -15 minutes. Check for crispiness. If you cooked them a bit more before you put them in then they will need less time when you reheat.
- Air fryer – place kumara straight from frozen into the air fryer on 200 degrees for 10 minutes. Take out and serve.
Not sure what to do with Kumara – I always end up with a few that I don’t know what I want to do with. Or I want to use them for salads later, I couldn’t think of a better title so here it is.
- Boil a pot on the stove. Place whole kumara or potato in the boiling water for about 5- 7 minutes. *It’s really important that you don’t let these go mushy – you want to remove from the pot BEFORE they go soft. If the vegetable has gone soft then you will need to turn it to mash*
- Let them cool down completely and place in a freezer proof dish or glad bag. Place in freezer.
- To reheat: take out of freezer and let them defrost. Because you only boiled them for a very short amount of time the texture should be almost identical to a fresh kumara.
- Now use in whatever dish you would like to use them in – or cook anyway you would like to.
The whole point of boiling is to help the kumara and potato hold its form and not get discolored. You literally only need to put it in the water for a very short amount of time.
These methods are definitely my favorite for bulk buying and freezing. And most of them can be used on a wide range of vegetables too! I have learnt to freeze almost anything and this is one of the key reasons I am able to save so much on my grocery budget and still eat healthy!
I hope you find this helpful and remember you can adapt the methods to something that works for you.