There are very few foods that are as delicious as having fresh vegetables just picked from your garden or from the local farmer’s market. As I mentioned earlier in the week, growing your own foods such as fruits and vegetables, has amazing rewards. To preserve all the nutrients, flavor and color, freezing is the best way to go. Freezing allows you to take advantage of the quality and quantity of seasonal vegetables and have them on hand all year round.
Preparing the best quality frozen vegetables involves following certain procedures depending on the type, composition and texture of the produce. Here are some steps to freezing your vegetables.
- Choose the freshest young, tender vegetable possible:Peas, corn and starchy vegetables are best if slightly immature.
- Wash vegetables in cold water;rinse with fresh water at least twice:Remove leaves and stems, don’t let vegetables soak–vitamins may be lost.
- Sort or cut vegetables into similar sizes for efficient packaging:Use quart or gallon zip-loc freezer bags depending on your meal plans for the week.
- Prepare and label freezer bags prior to beginning:note contents, portion sizes and use by date.
- Pack freezer bags in portions for favorite recipes and meals.
- Follow suggested freezing methods as shown below for best results.
- Remove air and freeze immediately.
Preparation and Methods For Freezing:
There are different preparation and freezing methods for vegetables, each designed to preserve the best flavor and quality of the vegetable.
Raw-pack– Vegetables such as onions and green peppers that will be used primarily as seasonings in cooking can be frozen raw. Peeled and/or chopped vegetables and herbs can be packed directly in freezer bags, or frozen in ice cube trays, then packed in freezer bags.
Blanching— Briefly steaming or boiling your vegetables before freezing. Most vegetables are blanched before freezing, to stop the enzyme action that can cause spoilage. There are several blanching methods including: water blanch, steam blanch and microwave blanch. You can use whichever method you prefer.
Just remember, Care For Your Veggies; if your food is properly frozen, it will last months in your freezer. In my future posts, I’ll share more on freezing methods and how to prepare your foods for freezing. This is a great starting point if your new to freezing your foods.