Month: April 2012

Legumes

Can you freeze tofu?

Can you freeze tofu? Tofu is a food made from soy milk and it’s often used in many Asian cuisines. There are many varieties of this dairy-free food, but they have one thing in common – they go bad pretty quickly. Because of that, one might wonder if freezing tofu to preserve it for later is possible and if it actually makes sense. Fortunately enough, you can freeze your leftover tofu and it’s not difficult to freeze and thaw it with satisfactory results.

How to freeze tofu

Drain the tofu

You should remember that only pretty dry and firm tofu freezes well. Because of that, if your tofu is soft and tender, you need to drain it beforehand. You can do that easily using paper towels. Just unwrap it from its original packaging, an place on a plate (or a cookie sheet) covered with a few layers of paper towels. Once the tofu is on the paper towels, cover it with a paper towel and push it a little. You can even put something on it to provide constant pressure on the tofu. Leave the tofu that way for some time so it’ll dry out. If the paper towels under the tofu are soaked, discard them and place there new ones.

Of course if you wish to, you can freeze tofu in its original packaging as long as you won’t open it before freezing. Keep in mind that freezing tofu this way will result in softer texture and consistency of the product after thawing. Some people like it, others not so much. It’s a matter of personal preferences really. Bear in mind that some ice is going to form inside the package because of the moisture inside. If you decide to freeze tofu without any preparation, just put the package into the freezer and you’re done.

 

Tofu
Image used under Creative Commons from Crystal

 

Packaging tofu and putting it into the freezer

When it comes to packaging tofu, you’ve got a few options. Firstly, you might want to freeze it all in one piece. Just wrap it tightly with cellophane foil or put into a freezer bag. If you want to freeze it for an extended period of time (like a few months), I suggest wrapping it tightly and then placing inside a freezer bag. Before sealing the bag remember to remove all air from it.

If you want to, you might cut tofu into smaller portions before freezing. After cutting you can freeze each part individually (package it as described in the previous section) or wrap each part with foil and put a few portions in one freezer bag. Whichever way works best for you.

There is also a third possibility. Cut tofu into small cubes, place them (in a way that they won’t touch each other) on a cooking sheet or a tray and put into the freezer. Once the cubes are frozen, transfer them into a freezer bag. They’re ready to be frozen for the long term. This way you can easily scoop some tofu from the package as you need it.

 

Tips and additional information about freezing tofu

Remember that tofu darkens a little once frozen, the exact shade depends on how long the product is stored in the freezer. Another thing to keep in mind is that thawed tofu is pretty chunky (depends of how moist it were when put into the freezer). It won’t work well in dishes where its chunky texture is undesirable.

Before putting the package into the freezer remember to date and label it. For best quality, tofu shouldn’t be frozen for more than 5, maybe 6 months. Thawing tofu is easy – just put it into the fridge overnight. If it’s too watery after thawing, just squeeze it over a sink to remove the excess water. If your tofu pieces are of eligible size for the dish you’re cooking, you can directly add frozen tofu (if it’s been drained before freezing, otherwise it might add too muchwater to your dish once thawed) intothe dish.

Summary
As you can see, freezing tofu is pretty straightforward and many people freeze it with satisfactory results.

Herbs & Spices

Can you freeze basil?

Can you freeze basil? Basil is a culinary herb used both fresh and dried. It plays a major role in some cuisines. Is there anything (besides drying it) you can do to preserve it if you’ve got more basil than you can use at a time? Or is there a way to save some basil for the winter months? Fortunately enough, you can freeze fresh basil with good results. It’s also pretty easy to do that.

Freezing basil – how to

There are a few methods how you can freeze basil. I’ll discuss them in details. In every case you should start off by washing basil leaves and discarding any stems. Make sure every leaf is green, other leaves should be thrown away. Let leaves dry thoroughly.

 

Basil
Image used under Creative Commons from Amanda Slater

 

Freezing whole leaves

If you’d like to freeze whole leaves, there are a few options for you. Once the leaves are dry, they’re basically ready to be frozen for the long term, but freezing them without any further preparation won’t give you best results. Take note that basil leaves after thawing won’t be as bright green as they’re before freezing. There are a least two things you can do to prepare the leaves for freezing for the long term.

Blanching is the first thing you can do to better prepare basil leaves for freezing. It helps with preserving natural color and taste when the herb is frozen. You simply need to place basil leaves in boiling water for a short period of time (15 seconds should do the trick) and then quickly cool the leaves down. A pot or sink of ice water is of a great help when it comes to cooling the leaves. After that you should dry the leaves. Blanching is now complete. Please remember that blanching is optional.

Pre-freezing (or flash-freezing) is another way to prepare the herb for long term freezing. It’s pretty simple to perform. Place the leaves individually on a cookie sheet or a tray and put it into the freezer for a few hours to quickly freeze the leaves. Once frozen, flash-freezing is done – you can take the tray out of the freezer. The leaves should endure the process of freezing and thawing better than without it.

Now it’s time to put the leaves into the freezer for the long term. You just need to transfer the leaves into freezer bags. Remember to push out as much air a you can. Instead of pushing it out, you can try to suck it out of the bag using a straw.

Freezing chopped basil

Basil leaves can be chopped using a food processor, a blender or simply using a knife. Of course if you want to, you can freeze chopped basil following the same steps as in the case of freezing whole leaves. There is, however, another way to freeze basil and it’s used often when people want to preserve basil’s fresh look, green color and taste.

Once the basil is chopped, take an ice-cube tray and put some chopped basil into each little spot. Now it’s time to add some water or oil to cover the herb. If you wish to, you can add water or oil while chopping, it’s up to you. Once done, put the ice-cube tray into the freezer and let little ice-cubes form. Once frozen, take the tray out of the freezer and transfer the cubes into a freezer bag. The chopped basil is ready to be frozen for the long term.

Word of caution. If you’ve decided to freeze basil in oil, add oil directly before freezing. Storing basil in oil (both in the fridge and in room temperature) is a botulism risk.

Freezing basil leaves – useful information

Before putting the bag into the freezer, remember to date and label it. To get the best quality, you should use the frozen basil within 6 months from freezing it. If you’re using it in a cooked dish, you can add frozen basil directly to your dish.

Summary
As you can see, you can freeze basil and there’s at least a few ways how you can to this successfully.

Bread & Baked Goods

Can You Freeze Bread?

Can you freeze bread? Bread is a staple food known and used throughout the world. Commercially baked bread stays fine for just a couple of days. Is there a way to extend its shelf life? Can you preserve it to consume it after a week or two if you won’t be able to consume it within the next few days? Of course – you can freeze bread. It’s quite easy to do and many people do that on a regular basis.

Loaves of bread

Image used under Creative Commons from Jim Champion

Freezing bread

The first thing to remember is that freezing can’t improve the quality of your bread. If it’s already stale, it’ll be stale when you thaw it. Fresh bread is best for freezing. Don’t postpone freezing if you know that you’ll freeze this loaf (or loaves) anyway. If you bake your own bread or buy fresh warm bread in a bakery, let it cool down before freezing.

If you plan to eat the bread within 2 to 3 weeks, you can put it in the freezer as is, in its plastic packaging. If your store-bought bread comes in paper packaging, you should repackage it into a freezer bag. Feel free to cut the loaf into slices, just remember to seal the packaging well.

To freeze bread for a period of time longer than 3 weeks, you need more wrapping. You need to wrap bread tightly and the wrapping shouldn’t let through any moisture and air. The easiest way to achieve that is to wrap it twice. First, wrap the bread tightly with plastic wrap or foil. Now you can put the wrapped bread into a freezer bag. When packaging the bread (both first and second layer) please remember to push out or suck out all air. The less air near the bread, the better it will freeze and preserve good quality for longer.

If you have a vacuum sealer, you can use it when freezing bread. But before sealing the package with it, you should flash-freeze the bread. To do that you need to put it on a tray or a cookie sheet and put it into the freezer for an hour or two. That will suppress flattening of the bread when sealing the package.

How Long Bread Can Be Frozen

In theory, you can keep bread frozen indefinitely. But after some time (like a year) its quality won’t be anywhere near acceptable. If you’ve frozen bread in its original packaging or other loose wrapping, you shouldn’t keep it in the freezer for more than 2, maybe 3 weeks. If you’ve packaged the loaf tightly and removed all air, it should remain of good quality for 3 months. If you’ve used a vacuum sealer, you can keep it in the freezer even for half a year. In reality, given periods of time depend on who is going to eat the bread. Some people don’t like its taste after only a week of freezing.

Thawing Bread

If you decide to thaw the whole loaf, do it in room temperature but don’t unwrap it until its thawed. A one pound (about 450 grams) bread will thaw about 3 hours. Take note that the bigger the loaf is, the longer it takes to thaw it. If you need to thaw individual slices, you can leave them unwrapped at room temperature. You can also use a microwave to defrost bread.

Summary
As you can see, you can freeze bread and it is easy to do that.

Dairy

Can you freeze cheese?

Can you freeze cheese? There are many types of cheese, you can find it in a variety of flavors and textures. Some of them are pretty expensive. Because of that, you probably wonder whether stocking up on it on sale and freezing most of it actually makes sense. The answer to the main  question depends on how you plan to use the cheese and what kind of cheese is it. Of course you shouldn’t freeze cheese that is close to going bad. Let’s discuss this in detail.

Freezing cheese – what you need to know

As you probably expect, freezing affects cheese, no matter its flavor, texture or form. In general, freezing and thawing changes cheese’s texture – it becomes crumbly. Does the altered texture affect the taste and feel of the dish you’re preparing using the cheese? It depends on the dish itself. Usually crumbly cheese is fine as long as you use it in cooked dishes, like soups, casseroles or stews. Serving thawed cheese without treating it with heat isn’t a good idea, in most cases you won’t be satisfied with the results you’ll get.

There is another important fact about freezing cheese. The firmer the cheese, the less loss of texture and flavor after thawing. If you’re unsure whether freezing certain kind of cheese makes sense, I encourage you to freeze a small portion of it as a trial. If cheese’s taste and texture after freezing and thawing is fine, you can freely freeze it whenever you wish to.

 

Cheese
Image used under Creative Commons from Jeremy Noble

 

Freezing cheese – how to do it

Firstly, you should cut the cheese into portions. In most cases portions shouldn’t be larger than half pound (about 225 grams). While cutting the cheese bear in mind that each portion should be consumed within three days after thawing. You can grate the cheese if you wish to. If you plan to use the cheese grated after thawing, it’s good to grate it before freezing. Now it’s time to package the product and put it into the freezer for the long term.

You can wrap cheese in aluminum wrapping or put it inside a freezer bag (consider using a zipper-type one). You might even consider wrapping it twice. Remember to push out all air from the package, it’ll prevent freezer burn. Date and label the bag. Now it’s ready to be put in the freezer. To preserve best quality, keep it in the freezer for no longer than half a year. Cheese should be thawed in the refrigerator, you can do this overnight.

Summary

As you should know by now, cheese can be frozen, but it works best for firmer kinds of cheese, like Gouda, Cheddar, Camembert or Edam. Use thawed cheeses in recipes where they’ll be melted. Most frozen and thawed cheeses will taste fine if you’ll add them to cooked dishes like soups, sauces or casseroles. There are many different opinions when it comes to freezing cheeses. Because of that, try freezing a tiny portion of cheese (of kind that you want to freeze in large amount) and check out if you’re satisfied with the results you’ll get.

Vegetables

Can You Freeze Garlic?

Can you freeze garlic? Garlic, due to its flavor, is widely used as a seasoning. Some people use it often, while others use it seldom or even not at all. Even though garlic stays fine for a long time, some people would like to store it even longer. Sometimes it’s because they use it rarely. Other times because they cook only for themselves and can’t use a package of 3 garlic heads before the vegetables will sprout or go bad. No matter the cause, you can freeze garlic and you can do that in a variety of ways, depending on your needs.

Freezing whole garlic heads

This method is fairly simple. You just need to wrap it and put into the freezer. You can wrap it in plastic wrap, aluminum foil, put into a freezer bag, or a plastic container. You can remove individual cloves as you go. Please remember that this method of freezing garlic isn’t the best when it comes to preserving garlic’s flavor. If you are unsure if freezing whole bulbs will be okay for your needs, do it once and decide whether it works for your.

Garlic

Image used under Creative Commons from David Pursehouse

Freezing Chopped or Crushed Garlic

Remove cloves from garlic’s head and press each one with with a knife or a spoon. Peel each clove. Now it’s time to chop, grate or crush each one of them. You can decide to leave them whole if you want to. It’s up to you – consider how you’ll use the garlic. At this point you might decide to dry the (preferably sliced) garlic. You can even grind dried garlic – you’ll get garlic powder. Dried or powdered garlic will last longer than fresh garlic, so you need to decide if freezing it is worth it.

If you’ve sliced the cloves or left them whole, you might want to easily scoop them from the freezer bag, one at a time. That’s where pre-freezing comes in handy. If you won’t pre-freeze the pieces will freeze into clumps and you won’t be able to easily scoop a few pieces as you go. Pre-freezing is easy. You need to put the vegetables on a tray (make sure the pieces don’t touch one another), and put the tray into the freezer. Keep it there until garlic slices are frozen. Please remember that this procedure is optional.

Now it’s time to put the chopped, crushed or grated garlic into the freezer for the long term. Choose a packaging suitable for your needs. You can wrap the chopped garlic with plastic foil, put it into a freezer bag or a plastic container. Choose wrapping that you have on hand. If you haven’t pre-frozen the veggies, consider dividing them into a few small packages and freezing them together in one larger bag.

Freezing Farlic in Oil

It’s said that freezing garlic in oil is the best to preserve its taste, but you should do that with care. First, please remember that garlic must not be stored in oil in room temperature. That results in botulism risk . Because of that, you should use garlic frozen in oil immediately after taking it from the freezer.

Freezing garlic in oil is quite easy: you can choose to freeze it as a puree or in whole cloves. To freeze it in puree form you need to puree the garlic, 2 parts oil to 1 part garlic, and pack it in a container that is suitable for you. A food processor will come in handy to do that.

You can also choose to pour the mixture into ice cube trays. If you choose to freeze whole cloves, the easiest way to do that is to put the peeled cloves into ice cube trays and pour oil over them. Of course you don’t have to use ice cube trays, you might just put the cloves into a container and add oil. Ice cubes will allow you to scoop or or two cloves easily though.

Summary
As you can see, you can freeze garlic and there are a few methods how you can do it. You can freeze it for up to 12 months while preserving good quality.

Fruit

Can you freeze tomatoes?

Can you freeze tomatoes?  Tomatoes are grown around the world and widely used in various ways. You can consume raw or processed tomatoes. But is there a way to preserve tomatoes for an extended period of time and avoid spoilage? Cay you buy them in bulk (or cultivate and harvest on your own) and save for the winter? Fortunately enough – you can. You can freeze tomatoes, but you need to know that thawed tomatoes won’t work great in every recipe. Freezing and thawing has an effect on this fruit. Let’s discuss this matter in details.

 

Freezing tomatoes

Tomato, similarly to other vegetables (tomato is botanically a fruit, but it’s considered a vegetable for culinary purposes [1], becomes mushy after thawing. Because of that, you should use it only in cooked dishes like soups, stews or sauces. Using thawed tomatoes for raw dishes won’t work well, bear that in mind.

 

Choose appropriate tomatoes and wash them

For freezing purposes choose only ripe, tender and blemish-free tomatoes. If you cultivate them yourself, you should freeze the tomatoes the same day you harvest them. Now it’s time to wash the tomatoes. You should wash them individually, under running water. Don’t use any detergents nor wash them in a sink filled with water. Once washed, rub them with paper towels.

 

Tomatoes
Image used under Creative Commons from Corey Burger

Blanching, chopping and peeling the tomatoes

When in comes to freezing tomatoes, there are tens of possible combinations. I’ll try to discuss here the most important possibilities that you have.

Blanching tomatoes is optional. Blanching suppresses some bacteria and enzymes that are responsible for spoilage, taste change and the vegetable becoming mushy. Therefore, blanched tomatoes should better tolerate the freezing process and be of good quality for a longer period of time. If you don’t want to peel the tomatoes and you plan to use them in next couple of months, you can omit blanching. Blanching is pretty easy – put the tomatoes into boiling water for a maximum of 2 minutes, then submerge them in cold water for a minute or two and dry them.

Peeling tomatoes is also optional. If you plan to blanch them, peeling is a great idea – you can easily slide off tomatoes’ skins after scooping them from cold water. If you don’t plan on blanching the tomatoes, you can peel raw tomatoes (it takes some time) or .. blanch them and then peel. If you won’t peel the tomatoes, you don’t have to worry. Once you need to use the tomato, run it (while still frozen) under warm water, its skin will go off easily.

Chopping the tomato is another field where you’ve got a whole bunch of options. You should start off by cutting out the tomato’s core. You can freeze the tomato whole, cut it in halves,  quarters, chop it, cut off its seeds or even puree it using a food processor. The choice is entirely up to you – consider how you plan to use the tomato in the future.

 

Pre freezing tomatoes

If you decided to freeze tomatoes whole, halved, quartered or with its seed cut, you might consider pre freezing them before putting them into the freezer for the long term. If you will do it, tomatoes won’t freeze into clumps and you’ll be able to easy scoop from the freezer as many tomatoes as you need at a time. In order to do that, you need to put the tomatoes on a cooking sheet or a tray, in a way that the pieces won’t touch each other. Then you should put this utensil into the freezer and leave it there until  the vegetables are frozen (time depends on the size of the tomatoes’ pieces). Once done, the vegetables are ready to be frozen for the long term.

 

Freeze the tomatoes for the long term.

You can choose whichever container seems appropriate for your needs. You can use freezer bags (a ziploc bag might be a good idea), or plastic containers. Just make sure the packaging is airtight. If you decide to freeze the vegetables in a freezer bag, push out any excessive air before sealing the bag and remember to leave some headspace. Choose containers or bags of suitable sizes – consider how you plan to use the tomatoes.

If you haven’t blanched the tomatoes, I suggest you should use them within a couple of months after freezing. If you’ve blanched them, they should be fine (of good quality) for about a year. In order to use them you can place them directly (frozen) into the dish you’re cooking or thaw them in their packaging in the fridge. Please remember that you must not refreeze once frozen and thawed tomatoes.

Summary

As you can see, you can freeze tomatoes. Frozen tomatoes work great in cooked dishes like soups or casseroles. They won’t work well in raw dishes.

Vegetables

Can You Freeze Asparagus?

Can you freeze asparagus? Asparagus is a spring vegetable but many people would like to cook with it in winter as well. That leaves you with two possibilities. It’s either buying commercially frozen asparagus or freezing it yourself.

If you’ve found asparagus on sale for cheap and you’d like to buy a bunch of it, but you’re worried that it might go bad, freezing is the solution. So, as you probably expect, you can freeze asparagus. Here’s how to do it.

Freezing Asparagus

The process of freezing asparagus is similar to freezing other vegetables. Please bear in mind that you should put frozen asparagus directly into your dish.

Trimming
The ends of asparagus aren’t edible so you need to cut them off. You should get rid of any woody parts as well. Now you need to wash the asparagus thoroughly and cut the stalks into pieces. Some people like to cut them into halves, other prefer bite-sized pieces. It’s up to you. Please consider what size of pieces is eligible for the dishes you’re going to prepare with the frozen asparagus. Please remember that you won’t thaw it and cut into pieces, it’s going straight into the dish.

Chopped asparagus

Image used under Creative Commons from Michael Hollander

Blanching
Blanching delays spoilage, color change and suppress the enzymes that are are responsible for it becoming mushy. It is optional, but most sources recommend doing it. If you plan to freeze asparagus only for a few weeks, you might omit blanching, but that’s not recommended.

To blanch asparagus you need to bring a pot of water into a boil, put the stalks in there and leave them there for about 2 minutes. Instead of putting asparaguses into boiling water, you can steam them. After heating you should quickly cool the vegetables down to stop the cooking process. A pot or a sink of cold water would do the trick. Once done, you should drain the vegetables

Since it’s best not to leave trimmed asparagus for too long, I suggest you should put the pot on heat before trimming the asparaguses.

Pre-freezing Asparagus
If you’d like to be able to scoop one or two pieces of asparagus from the freezer bag, pre freeze the pieces before putting them into the freezer for good. Pre freezing will stop pieces from clumping. You can do that using a cookie sheet . Just put all pieces of asparagus on a cookie sheet and put it into the freezer for a few hours. Once the vegetables are frozen, take the cooking sheet out of the freezer. Asparaguses are ready to be frozen for the long term. Please bear in mind that this step is optional, you don’t have to pre freeze asparagus.

Packaging and freezing asparagus for the long term
Prepare a freezer bag or a plastic airtight container and transfer the pieces of asparagus to it. It’s good when the amount of asparagus in one package is suitable for one dish. It’s not a must, though. Especially, if you’ve pre frozen it using the guidelines given in the last paragraph. If you decided to store asparagus in freezer bags (recommended), make sure to push out the air from the bag before putting it into the freezer. Label and date the packaging and put it into the freezer. You can keep it there for even one and a half year while preserving good quality of the vegetables.

Summary
As you can see, you can freeze asparagus and it’s easy to do this.

Vegetables

Can you freeze zucchini?

Can you freeze zucchini? Zucchini is a hybrid of the cucumber, but unlike it, it’s mostly served cooked. It’s available at stores all year round, but when winter comes, its price rises significantly. If you live a long way from a store, where you can buy fresh zucchini, or you’d simply like to have some zucchini at hand all year round, you need to have a way of extending its shelf life. Fortunately enough, you can freeze zucchini and it’s a fairly simple process.

Freezing zucchini

Chopping

The first step of the process is to chop the zucchini. Size and shape of zucchini’s parts are of your desire. You can even grate the vegetable. Please remember that you’ll probably put the frozen parts directly into your dish, so it should be chopped in convenient sizes and shapes.

Blanching

Blanching is a process that deactivates some vegetable enzymes that cause vegetable to change color and become mushy after some time. This process is recommended for probably all vegetables before freezing them, or storing in the fridge for an extended period of time. The process is simple: you need to bring a pot of water into boil, put the vegetables into the boiling water for a few minutes (3 minutes should be enough [1][2]) and then quickly cool the vegetables down. A pot or a sink of cold water will allow you to cool the vegetables almost immediately.

Chopped zucchini
Image used under Creative Commons from Matthew Jolly

Since zucchini shouldn’t stay chopped and on air for too long, I suggest you should chop them after putting the pot on heat. After blanching the zucchini particles, you should dry them out pretty quickly. Paper towels might become very handy here. Please bear in mind that blanching is recommended but optional. You can freeze zucchini as-is if you’d like to.

Pre freezing zucchini

This step is optional. Pre freezing is used to prevent vegetable pieces from freezing to each other. If you know exactly how much zucchini you’re going to need for every dish you plan to make with them, you can omit this part. If not, pre freezing might me a great idea. You simply need to put chopped zucchini individually on a plate or a baking sheet and freeze them. That takes at least a few hours, sometimes even a day. It depends on how the vegetables are chopped. After the parts are frozen, you get the plate out of the freezer and it’s time for the last part of the freezing process.

Packaging chopped zucchini

Now you just need to put the chopped parts into freezer bags or containers. Remember that packaging vegetables in suitable amounts makes easy scooping vegetables from the bag as you go.If you’ve pre frozen chopped zucchini, it should be easy to get only a portion of vegetables out of every packaging.

Freezing zucchini – video

If you’d like to watch a short video that shows how you can freeze zucchini, check out the video below (if the video doesn’t show up, watch it on Youtube):

Summary
As you can see, you can freeze zucchini and it’s pretty easy to do that. The whole process is pretty similar to the process of freezing other vegetables.

Vegetables

Can you Freeze Carrots?

If you have ever asked youself “Can you freeze carrots?” and didn’t know the answer, this article is for you. One can eat carots in many ways: raw, cooked, fried, boiled or steamed. In the summer we can easily buy fresh carrots or even cultivate them ourselves. But can we buy them in bulk and put some of them into the freezer to use them in winter? Or can we freeze carrots of our own harvest so we can enjoy them in winter? Sure we can – you can freeze carrots. Please remember that it makes sense only if you plan to use them in cooked dishes. Here’s how to do it.

Freezing Carrots

The process of freezing carrots is like freezing other vegetables. Please note that you should put frozen carrots right into your dish, without thawing them.

Choose Appropriate Carrots

If you want your frozen carrots to be of best quality, you need to choose best carrots for freezing. The carrots that are going to be frozen should be as fresh as possible. If you cultivate your own carrots, you should freeze them the same day you harvest them. Refrain from freezing cracking or dry carrots, you won’t be happy with the outcome.

Frozen carrots

Image used under Creative Commons from Julie

Chopping Carrots

You need to wash the carrots, cut their ends and peel them. You can peel them using a vegetable peeler. It should take no longer than 30 seconds to peel one carrot with this kitchen utensil. Now it’s time to chop the carrots. You can chop them in whichever fashion you like: lengthwise strips, slices or small cubes. You can leave small carrots whole. Consider how you plan to use those carrots and then chop them.

Blanching Carrots

Blanching is a process that suppresses many enzymes and bacteria from doing what they do. They are responsible for changing the color of the vegetable, its flavor, texture and nutritional value over time. If you plan to use frozen carrots within the next month or so, you can omit blanching. If you’d like to store them in the freezer for an extended period of time, you should blanch them first. The process is simple – boil a pot o water, put carrots into the water for some time and immediately cool them down. The time in boiling water should be 5 minutes for small whole carrots or 2 minutes for sliced, striped or cubed ones. When it comes to cooling them. a sink or pot of cold water will do the trick. Please remember that this step is vital – cooling the vegetables down stops the cooking process. Drain the vegetables before proceeding further. If you need to blanch a lot of carrots, you can easily blanch them in batches.

Pre-freezing Carrots

If you don’t mind that your vegetables are frozen in one solid block (sticking to each other), you can omit this step. If, on the other hand, you’d like to easily scoop a few stripes or slices from your freezing bag, there are some steps you have to take to make this happen. First, take a cooking sheet and lay the carrots on it. Make sure they don’t touch each other. Put the the baking sheet into the freezer and leave it there until the vegetables are frozen. Once done, take the cooking sheet out of the freezer – carrots are ready to be frozen for the long term.

Actually Freezing Carrots

Transfer the carrots into a freezer bag of your choice. Make sure it’s airtight so the vegetables won’t end up dry or suffer from freezer burn. If you’ve pre-frozen the carrots, you don’t need to leave any headspace. If you’ve omitted this step, it’s good to leave a half inch headspace to let the vegetables expand a little. Remember to push out all the air from the bag before locking it. Date and label the bag. Now you can put it into the freezer for the long term. Carrots should be of good quality for about a year to year and a half. Please remember that they won’t work well in raw dishes, use them only in cooked dishes, like soups or stews.

Summary
As you can see, you can freeze carrots, but it only makes sense in certain cases.

Vegetables

Can you Freeze Cabbage?

Can you freeze cabbage? Cabbage is a widely used vegetable. It’s often used raw in salads but it’s also often added to soups or stews. So you’re growing you own cabbage and you’d like to freeze some cabbage to use it within few months. Or you’d like to buy a few cabbage heads on a sale to save some money and keep some of them for later. Or you live far away from a store that sells great fresh cabbage and you’d like to stock up on it. Freezing cabbage seems to be the best solution for all mentioned issues. In fact, you can freeze cabbage and there are a few ways how you can do it.

How to Freeze Cabbage?

Freezing cabbage – preparation

Firstly, you need to wash the cabbage and discard the coarse outer leaves. Now it’s time to cut the head into wedges, separate it into leaves or just shred it. Don’t forget to cut out its core.

Blanching cabbage

Blanching cabbage is an optional process, but most sources recommend doing it. I don’t see a reason why you shouldn’t do it – it takes only a few minutes. In order to blanch cabbage you need to boil a large pot of water, put the cabbage in there and after some time (it depends on how you’ve cut it; if you’ve separated it into leaves, 2 minutes should be fine) you should take it from the boiling water and rapidly cool it down. You can do that easily using cold running water.

Cabbage

Image used under Creative Commons from Rachel Andrew

Freezing shredded cabbage

If you’d like to freeze shredded cabbage, you have at least two possibilities on how to freeze it. You can freeze it in boilable bags or in a container. If you choose boilable bags, you need to put the cabbage into a boilable bag, push out excessive air and seal the bag. You add some seasonings if needed. If you decide to blanch the cabbage, now it’s time to do that. After blanching you should dry the bag and put it into the freezer.

If you choose freezing it in a container, you should proceed similarly. Blanch cabbage (if you want to), dry it out, put into a container, seal it and put it into the freezer.

Freezing cabbage leaves or wedges

If you’d like to freeze cabbage leaves or wedges, you can freeze them in a container or in a freezer bag. Once you’ve prepared and blanched the cabbage, it’s time to fast-freeze it. Put the wedges (or leaves) on a baking sheet one by one and put the plate into the freezer. Once the veggies are frozen (that might take even 24 hours), transfer them into a container or a freezer bag. Make sure to leave half-inch headspace and put the container (or bag) into the freezer.

Tips about freezing cabbage

Before putting the bag or container into the freezer, make sure to seal it tightly, label and date it. You can keep cabbage in the freezer for about a year to year and a half.

Summary
As you can see, there are a few ways how you can freeze cabbage. You should choose a way that is the most appropriate for your needs. Please remember that frozen and defrosted cabbage works best in cooked dishes like soups or stews. When it comes to using it in raw dishes, it will be not as good as fresh cabbage.