Most recipes call for fresh vegetables, but not all produce is available all season, so what to do? You can freeze veggies at any time to ensure a constant supply of your favorite produce! Freezing vegetables properly takes more effort than simply sticking them in the freezer. Just like fruit, vegetables are very delicate and haphazardly putting them in the fridge can bruise them, inevitably leading to spoilage and waste.
The key to freezing perfectly is blanching the vegetables. Blanching involves “shocking” products in hot water for a few seconds before lowering the temperature with cold water. When properly frozen, vegetables can be stored in the freezer for up to 14 months. Read below for the step-by-step guide:
How do you freeze vegetables?
The proper way to freeze vegetables is to do so when they are fully ripe. The fact is, freezing prevents near-ripe produce from fully ripening, so you want to make sure the veggies are at the peak of their ripeness before freezing them.
Preparation of the vegetables
Once you’ve chosen the vegetables you want to freeze, thoroughly clean each one under the running water. Remove unwanted parts, including stems, grit and dirt, and cut off the product piece by piece. After you have cleaned your vegetables, cut them into the desired size or slice for your intended use. Once the preparations are complete, you can start blanching the vegetables.
Blanch the vegetables
Blanching your produce prolongs freshness because it prevents wilting, kills bacteria, and slows the breakdown of vitamins and minerals.
To blanch your veggies, bring a large pot of water to a boil and place in hot water using a colander and immerse in that water for 1 minute. Blanch quickly so you don’t cook the produce! Remove the strainer from the hot water and place the products in a bowl of ice water. Drain the vegetables with the help of table napkins and you’re ready to pack!
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Packing the vegetables for freezing
To pack your vegetables, you can use either a freezer-safe, rigid plastic container or glass jars. The type of container you use depends on the type of vegetables you are freezing. If you wrap the vegetables loosely, you can use a baking sheet to freeze them. Just make sure there is enough space between each product. Pop the container in the freezer and that’s it!
How do you thaw frozen vegetables?
Frozen vegetables are best thawed straight away, even if they are frozen solid. To thaw vegetables, bring ½ to 2/3 cup water (per 16 ounces frozen vegetables) to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the frozen vegetables, cover with the lid, separating the vegetables occasionally while cooking. Cook until the vegetables are soft.
For larger batches of frozen vegetables, you can place the packaging under cold water until it is completely thawed.
If you freeze vegetables properly, you can stock seasonal produce right at home. Now that you know how to properly freeze veggies, you can save your favorite veggies for later use.