Make Your Own and Save - Prepared Frozen Vegetables
If you are like most people, you need quick and easy meal ideas. Those convenience foods are always calling your name at the grocery store. How about making your own? Prepared frozen vegetables are one area that you can save money on by making them yourself. It doesn't take much prep work at all and can save you a good bit of money.
The most important way to save money on preparing frozen vegetables is to purchase the fresh ones at rock bottom prices. Summer and fall is a great time to do this. If you can grow your own vegetables you will save the most money. If you can't do this, purchasing large quantities of loss leaders at the grocery store will work too. For something fresher than the grocery store, stop by a farmers market at the end of the day and take advantage of some great deals. Buy items like peas, corn, beans, squashes and broccoli in bulk. Putting these wonderfully fresh veggies in the freezer when you get home is super easy to do and you will then enjoy these all winter.
Some foods need to be par boiled before freezing. Boil ears of corn for about 5 minutes, and then chill in ice water for 5 minutes. Freeze immediately in freezer bags. It is easiest to freeze foods in meal size portions. If you have children that only eat a half an ear of corn, break it before boiling, so that everything is exactly how you want it before freezing. If you prefer loose kernels of corn, take a sharp knife and while holding the ear of corn upright slide the knife straight down at the base of the cob. The kernels should come off clean and you can bag them up and freeze immediately.
Boil shelled and washed peas for 1 minute and then chill for 1 minute in ice water. Boil squash (cut however you want) until tender and cool at room temperature. Store in appropriate size freezer bags. Tender young heads of broccoli freeze best - boil for 3 minutes and then cool in ice water for 3 minutes. After you purchase beans, snap off the ends and wash well. Boil for about 3 minutes and then cool.
Tomatoes freeze great. Make a small X at the base of the tomato and boil for 1 minute. After removing from the water, the skin should come right off. You can then freeze them whole, or quartered or diced. However you want to use them later on cut them that way now. Zucchini also freezes great and we all know how easy it is to grow zucchini! You can dice the zucchini and sauté in a little bit of butter or oil until almost done. Cool and freeze. Or better yet, grate it up and freeze in 2 cup portions for zucchini bread.
Pumpkin also freezes well. Pumpkin puree is very easy to make. Cut pumpkin into quarters and bake on 300 for an hour. When it cools the pumpkin will come right off the skin. Mash up with a hand blender and freeze in 1 cup portions for pumpkin muffins or bread and also pumpkin pie.
Anything that you puchase frozen at the store, you can freeze yourself. It really is a great way to save money. Make sure you use freezer bags or containers that will leave a little extra space after packing. Foods will expand while in the freezing the process so you can't fill things up to the very top. You also want to get as much air out as possible when freezing foods, this will help to avoid freezer burn.
There is nothing better than pulling out veggies from the freezer that you know were frozen at the peak of freshness. All those vitamins, minerals and antioxidants were locked in these vegetables at their peak. That is hard to get with store bought veggies. Spending a few minutes in the kitchen preparing your own frozen vegetables will be better for your health and save you money. It is easy to do and good for you. Check here for information on other vegetables and how to freeze them.