When we first started gardening years ago, I was terrified of learning how to freeze garden vegetables. I can’t tell you exactly why, but once I learned, I realized that freezing garden vegetables is really quite simple. Harvest time is here in many parts of the country, so I figure now’s the perfect time to talk about the ease of learning to freeze garden vegetables.
How to Freeze Garden Vegetables
1. Determine what you will freeze. Some vegetables are great for freezing, some aren’t. We’ve successfully frozen carrots, green peppers, onions, green beans and peas. Tomatoes can also be frozen, and zucchini freezes well if you shred it first and skip the blanching process, using them for soups or zucchini breads. Potatoes reportedly freeze well, but I’ve not tried this personally.
2. Learn what’s involved with the blanching process. Just the words “blanch your vegetables” used to send panic through my bones, but really, it’s quite simple. Any quality basic cookbook will have instructions on freezing vegetables, and along with freezing most vegetables comings blanching them. Blanching vegetables is a simple process of placing your raw veggies in boiling water for a few minutes, followed by placing them in ice water for the same amount of time. With green beans, for instance, you’ll place them in boiling water for three minutes, then transfer them to ice water for three more minutes. A pot with an immersible metal basket works best for this process, but we simply drain the pot with the vegetable after the three minutes and dump them into the ice water. No need to get fancy if you don’t want to.
3. Determine how you will store your vegetables. We have a Food Saver Vacuum System. The heavy duty freezer bags are vacuum-packed and then sealed by our Food Saver, making the process simple for us and extending storage time in our deep freezer. A deep freezer or zero-degree freezer is best for long-term storage of frozen vegetables, helping them last up to a year. It was July when we finished our last package of frozen green beans from last gardening season and they still tasted fresh and delicious.
4. Wash Your Veggies Thoroughly. No need to use a vegetable soap if you haven’t added pesticides to your garden – just give them a good, hard rinse.
5. Trim ends and chop where needed. Determine what uses you’ll use your vegetables for and chop to the appropriate size. For instance, we chopped our carrots into thin slices so they’d be ready to use for soups and stews.
6. Blanch as instructed. Your basic cookbook should have blanching times and freezing instructions for vegetables. If not, get another cookbook.
7. Pat the veggies dry. Using a clean kitchen towel, get as much moisture out of the vegetables as possible by patting them dry. They’ll seal better this way and you also reduce your chances of freezer burn.
8. Place them in a freezer bag, remove as much air as possible, then seal tightly. This is where an item like a Food Saver Vacuum System comes in really handy. It does the grunt work of eliminating air from the freezer bag and sealing the bag shut for you. If you don’t have some type of vacuum system, place your veggies in a freezer bag that is appropriate in size for the amount of veggies you’re freezing (leave as little extra space as possible) and seal tight.
9. Place sealed bag in your freezer as soon as possible. Pretty self-explanatory I think. 🙂
10. Enjoy at your leisure!
If you’re willing to learn how to freeze your garden vegetables, you can get the most out of your home garden and save tons of money in the process. What’s more, you can’t beat the taste of home grown vegetables.
Have you ever frozen your garden vegetables before? What questions do you have about freezing garden vegetables?
Photo courtesy of: Coanri/Rita