How to Freeze Vegetables - A Step by Step Guide to Freeze Vegetables from A-M
Benefits of Vegetables
According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control), there are a growing number of research reports that show that fruits and vegetables are critical to promoting good health. Fruits and veggies contain essential vitamins, nutrients, minerals, and fiber that help the human body proect you from ailments and diseases. Incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet and reducing higher calorie foods, can also promote and help sustain healthy weight loss.
But, how are you suppose to each vegetables all year round, when they may not be available in your area or the growing season is short? The answer is to freeze your vegetables. The majority of vegetables can be frozen for 6-12 months, long enough to cover the off season until they become available again. By freezing your vegetables, you not only guarantee having the benefits of vegetables year round, but you also can save money on your grocery bill. Many grocery stores still offer the main vegetables year round, but you pay a premium in the off season. Increase your health, and reduce your debt by freezing. Below is just a small sample of the different types of vegetables you can freeze and how to do it.
Ways to Freeze Vegetables
Blanching is a simple technique used in cooking or food preservation to keep vegetables crisp and tender. It also destroys the enzymes that would normally cause the vegetables to deteriorate much faster. The vegetables are boiled in water very briefly, then immediately chilled in ice water, to cool them back down quickly.
Freezer burn is something that occurs to frozen food when it has become damaged by dehydration and oxidation, generally due to air reaching the food.
Head space is referred to as the gap left between the top of liquid or semi-liquid foods and the rim of the container or bag they are being frozen in. It is important to leave this gap with liquids because they will expand when frozen.
What vegetables can you freeze?
How to Freeze Asparagus (9-12 months): Select firm stems with good color (white, green, or purple) and thickness. Trim the woody base of the stems (about 2 inches). Blanch for 1-3 minutes based on thickness of stalks. Drain, plunge into ice water bath until cool. Dry with paper towel and pack for freezing.
How to Freeze Beets (4-6 months): Select beets with good color and healthy leaves. Trim the leaves, leaving just a short stalk (1-2 inches). Use damp towel to remove any dirt, but be careful not to rip or peel the skin. Boil in water until tender (18-20min). Drain, plunge into ice water bath until cool. Dry and then remove skins and stems. Can be packaged whole or sliced.
How to Freeze Cauliflower (9-12 months): Select firm, tight heads without discolored florets. Separate head into quarters (or smaller quantities if so desired). Blanch for 2-3 minutes. Drain, plunge into ice water bath until cool. Dry with paper towel and package.
How to Freeze Dandelion Greens (9-12 months): Select firm leaves with good color (not brown or wilted). Wash greens thoroughly and cut off woody stems. Blanch for 2 minutes. Drain, plunge into ice water bath until cool. Dry gently with paper towel and package.
What other vegetables can you freeze?
How to Freeze Eggplant (10-12 months): Select firm eggplants with healthy, shiny skin with no blemishes. Blanch for 5-6 minutes. Drain, plunge into ice water bath until cool. Peel skin and then dry with paper towel. Slice thickly and place on flat sheet or oven pan. Do not cover. Freeze uncovered. Once frozen then you can repackage into containers or bags.
How to Freeze Fennel (4-6 months): Select firm white bulbs, with fresh, healthy, green leaves. Avoid limp and wilted leaves. Trim off the leafy greens (can be frozen separately, simply chop real fine and package in polythene bag), scrape the stalks, and cut into quarters. Blanch for 2-3 minutes, drain, and plunge into ice water bath until cool. Dry gently with paper towel and package.
How to Freeze Green Beans (10-12 months): Select firm, thick, healthy colored green beans. Avoid thin or wilted looking beans. Trim the ends (not required) then blanch for 2-3 minutes. Drain, plunge into ice water bath until cool. Dry with paper towel and package.
How to Freeze Horseradish (4-6 months): Can freeze whole or grated. Whole: Select young roots, do not cut, wrap in paper towel and package in freezer bags. Grated: wash, peel, grate. Place 2 tsp grated horseradish, 1 tsp water, 1 tsp lemon juice in each ice cube tray pocket. Freeze until cubes, remove cubes and repackage in bags and freeze.
Freezing lettuces and peppers
How to Freeze Iceberg Lettuce (4-6 months): Leaves can only be frozen in soups, hearts can be frozen cooked. Wash hearts, and then blanch for 1-2 minutes. Drain, plunge into ice water bath until cool. Dry with paper towel and package.
How to Freeze Jalepenos (2-12 months): Can be frozen raw (2mths) or blanched (10-12mths). Select firm, shiny peppers. Raw: wash and dry, package to freeze whole. Blanched: Cut off tops and remove seeds, leave whole or slice, then blanch for 2-3 minutes. Drain, plunge into ice water bath until cool. Dry with paper towel and package.
How to Freeze Kale (4-6 months): Select dark colored, healthy leaves. Avoid limp, discolored leaves. Do not cut. Blanch whole leaves for 1 minute. Drain, plunge into ice water bath until cool. Dry with paper towel and package.
How to Freeze Leeks (4-6 months): Select small leeks. Trim roots and outer leaves. Wash, then slice, then rinse again. Blanch for 2-3 minutes. Drain, plunge into ice water bath until cool. Dry with paper towel and package.
How to Freeze Mushrooms (1-3 months): Can be frozen raw (1 mth) or cooked (3 mths). Raw: Wipe with damp cloth, DO NOT RINSE. Package and freeze. Cooked: Saute in butter or oil for 2-3 minutes. Cool quickly by placing mushrooms in container and placing container in ice bath. Do not cool mushrooms directly. Package and freeze.
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