Top 10 Tips for Vegetable Freezing
Freezing fresh vegetables is the best way to enjoy your favourites year round. But do you know how to prepare them for the deep freeze? The following tips can help you keep your veggies their freshest while they’re under ice.
Most vegetables can be frozen with excellent results. Prepare vegetables as directed below, then pack them snugly in resealable freezer bags or sturdy containers that can be tightly closed. The bags are ideal because they allow you to expel excess air, which prevents frost from accumulating, and to readily vary the portions from one serving to four. Once thawed, cook frozen vegetables, covered, in a small amount of boiling water. Don’t refreeze.
Asparagus, green beans, carrots
Wash, trim, and cut into lengths suitable for chosen containers or into 2-inch pieces. You can also slice carrots 2 inches thick. Sort asparagus according to the thickness of the stalks; water-blanch thin stalks for 2 minutes, thick stalks for 4 minutes. Blanch whole carrots for 5 minutes, slices for 2 minutes. Rinse briefly under cold water, drain thoroughly, and pack. Seal, label, and freeze. You can water-blanch small green beans whole, but you may want to cut larger beans into pieces. Blanch whole beans for 3 minutes, pieces for 2 minutes. Cool quickly, drain, and pack. Seal, expelling all the air; label and freeze.
Wash and trim, leaving 1-inch stems (be careful not to pierce the skins). Sort according to size and cook small beets in boiling water for 25 to 30 minutes, large for 45 to 50 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork. Drain and cool. Peel off the skins. Slice or cube, as desired, and pack. Seal, label, and freeze.
Wash and peel stalks if woody. Cut stalks and florets into 1½ -inch pieces. Steam-blanch for 5 minutes. Cool quickly, drain thoroughly, and pack. Seal, label, and freeze.
Trim off coarse leaves and stems and sort by size. Water-blanch small sprouts for 3 minutes, large sprouts for 5 minutes. Cool quickly, drain, and pack. Seal, label, and freeze.
Use young cobs only. Remove the husks and silks. Water-blanch for 4 minutes. Cool quickly. Drain well. Wrap each ear individually, airtight, in freezer paper or foil, molding it to the shape of the ear. Pack several together in a freezer bag, expelling as much air as possible. To freeze corn kernels, blanch the ears as above and cool. Cut the kernels off the cobs and pack in meal-size containers. Seal, expelling as much air as possible; label and freeze.
Wipe with a damp cloth to remove any dirt. Do not peel or rinse. Button varieties can be frozen whole, raw. Spread on a baking tray and place in the freezer. When hard, pack into bags, label, and return to the freezer. Wild mushrooms, such as Portobello and shiitake, should be sliced and sautéed in butter and packed in small containers with their cooking liquid.
Shell sweet peas, discarding any damaged ones. Water-blanch for 1½ minutes. Destring pods of sugarsnap peas and water-blanch for 2 minutes. Cool quickly, drain thoroughly, and pack. Seal, expelling as much air as possible; label and freeze.
Pumpkin and hard squashes
Wash fruit, peel, and cut in half; remove any seeds and strings. Cut into slices or cubes. Steam-blanch until tender. Mash. Cool and pack into containers, leaving a ½ -inch space at the top of the container. Label and freeze.
Spinach and greens
Wash the leaves thoroughly; remove any thick stems and imperfect leaves. Water-blanch for 30 to 60 seconds, or until just wilted. Cool quickly by running cold water over the leaves. Drain thoroughly, pressing out excess moisture. Pack in a plastic bag. Seal, expelling as much air as possible; label and freeze.
Wipe firm sweet peppers and cut out the stems, removing all seeds. Cut in halves, slices, or rings. Blanch halves for 2 minutes, slices for 1 minute. Cool quickly, drain, and pack. Seal, expelling all the air; label and freeze.