- How To Freeze All Kinds Of Vegetables
Garden-good vegetables all year round–so wonderfully tasty, and so easy to freeze! Save money by stocking up now on fresh produce–the quality and prices can’t be beat when vegetables are in season (better yet if you grow your own!).
You can freeze perfectly most vegetables which you’d cook before serving. Salad vegetables lose crispness when thawed; however, cabbage, celery, and peppers may be scalded and frozen for use in cooking–or unscalded green peppers frozen for limited storage. You’ll find a chart below full of different kinds of vegetables you can freeze with instructions.
Quick-frozen foods offer a number of advantages that are not found in foods prepared by other methods of preservation. More food value is retained. The frozen product resembles fresh food in color, flavor and texture. Less time is required for preparing food for freezing.
How To Freeze Vegetables
Prepare vegetables for freezing just as you would for the table. Wash thoroughly in cold running water; discard imperfect and overripe ones. Sort or grade, according to size, so that the contents of each package will be uniform.
Freeze as soon after picking as possible. Ideally, vegetables should go from the garden to the freezer within 2-3 hours; the longer they are allowed to stand, the more food value is lost. If you don’t have your own garden, buy early in the day and freeze immediately for top quality and nutritive value.
Blanch All Vegetables Before Freezing
Blanching helps to preserve vitamins, brightens colors, keeps vegetables from becoming tough. Generally speaking, hot water scalding is preferred because of its ease and speed, however, if your water is high in soluble iron salts, you may want to steam scald some vegetables to prevent discoloration. Scald no more than 1-1 1/2 pounds at a time. Blanching time differs with each vegetable; the correct times are given below. If you live over 4,000 feet above sea level, add 1 minute to times given.
Water Blanching (Scalding)
In large kettle, bring to boil 1 gallon water for each 1-1 1/2 pounds of vegetable to be placed in kettle. Lower vegetables in wire basket, colander or cheesecloth into water. Cover. Start timing immediately; keep heat on high. Remove from water promptly at end of scalding time. Change water every third or fourth batch.
Steam Blanching (Scalding)
Bring to boil 2-3 inches water in large saucepan. Use rack (trivet) to keep vegetables out of water. Lower vegetables in wire basket, colander or cheesecloth onto rack. Cover. Start timing when steam comes freely around cover. Remove from rack immediately at end of scalding time. Not recommended for leafy vegetables.
Cool And Drain Quickly
Immediately after blanching, immerse vegetables in iced or cold running water. A general rule of thumb is to chill for the same length of time as the vegetable was scalded. Test by biting through one or two pieces; if not warm to the tongue, vegetables are cool enough to pack.
Keep the vegetables moving in the cold water so that all parts are cooled. Left too long in the water, the vegetables may become water-logged. If, however, they are not cooled completely, they will go sour.
Drain for a few minutes on clean towel or absorbent paper towels. Put into freezer with as little delay as possible.
Pack And Freeze Immediately
Select the size and type of container suitable for your family’s needs. If you choose a bag-in-box type, or use plastic bags without cartons (tip: store the lot in large paper bags for more protection), exclude as much air as possible by bringing top sides of bag together close down to the point of the packaged food; seal by twisting and folding tops and securing with cord, rubber bands or covered-wire bag closures (or zip lock freezer bags).
If you choose freezer containers, allow 1/2″ headroom at top for expansion–except for asparagus, broccoli and Brussels sprouts.
Put packaged food into freezer at once.
Do Not Thaw Before Cooking
Most vegetables are best when taken directly from the freezer and cooked without previous thawing. The exceptions to this rule are corn on the cob, beets, pumpkin, winter squash and sweet potatoes. Thaw these in their unopened freezer wrappings for 2-3 hours before cooking.
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