Freezing Produce Part 2 Vegetables
As we saw in freezing fruit, freezing vegetables at their peak allows us to have delicious vegetables all winter long and there best nutritional value.
There are more rules to freezing vegetables than there are for fruit. You must blanch vegetables before freezing as they often have an enzyme that can make you very sick if it is not cooked off before freezing.
Again, label your freezer bags well and include the date. I also like to include how long you can keep it for. Carrots for instance last for up to 10 months in the freezer. I typically try to eat things up within 6 months of freezing. This is the optimum time for flavour and texture.
To freeze vegetables you can follow these easy steps:
Step one: prepare the vegetable. Wash it, peel it and cut it up. You will want fairly large pieces/sticks so they survive the blanching without getting soggy.
Step two: prepare your ice water bath and get your water boiling on the stove. You want a good roiling boil. You will also want to make sure your timer is handy. I typically use about 2 cups of water for blanching. If you have a lot of vegetables, do them in stages. You will want about 1 cup of produce to 2 cups of water. Overloading the pot will result in uneven blanching.
Step Three: boil the vegetable. Following is a guideline for blanching times for common veggies:
Asparagus – 2-3 minutes (if it is tender do 2 minutes. For woody asparagus do 3 minutes)
Broccoli and Cauliflower – 3 minutes
Brussels Sprouts – 2-3 minutes
Carrots – 2 minutes
Corn (on the cob) – 2 minutes (Use a sharp knife to remove kernels. Place the corn on a plate upright and using the sharp knife, slice down the cob keeping it as even as possible . Freeze Kernels on a single layer on a baking sheet. Once completely frozen you can then transfer to freezer bags.
Green beans – 3 minutes
Peas – 1-2 minutes
Sliced summer squash and zucchini – 2-3 minutes
Step Four: when the timer goes off, immediately plunge the vegetables into your ice water to halt the cooking process.
Step Five: freeze on a baking sheet in a single layer until frozen solid. Then you can transfer them to a freezer bag. I like to freeze in portion sizes.
You can also roast vegetables like beets and freeze them as well. I like to roast them until they are just about done. (Still firm in the middle but softened on the outside). I roast them without skins in a little olive oil. Some people leave the skins on and when they get a little wrinkled they pull them out, cool them and peel them. Try both methods and decide what works best for you.
Throughout spring, summer and early fall, you can freeze things as they come into season and stock up for the winter.
Here is a link for U.S. Seasonal Produce Guide:
Here is a link for Canada Seasonal Produce Guide
Do you have any other tips and tricks for freezing produce? Please share with us!