Month: April 2013

Vegetables

Can you freeze potatoes?

Have you ever wondered “can you freeze potatoes?”. If so, and you don’t know the answer to this question yet, I’m here to help. There are quite a lot of things you might need to know about freezing potatoes and here I will provide you at the very least the most important ones. If you’re looking for a quick answer to the main question, it both yes and no. When it comes to freezing raw potatoes, that’s a bad idea, because they don’t freeze well, so that’s a “no”. When it comes to cooked potatoes, however, they freeze quite well, especially in certain forms and that’s why I said “yes”. If you would like to know more, read on.

Backyard potatoes
(credit: avlxyz)

Freezing cooked potatoes – mashed potatoes

If you’d like to freeze a lot of potatoes, mashing them and then freezing is probably the best idea. Many people freeze mashed potatoes with success, and I suggest you do the same. In fact, we have on Can You Freeze This an article on freezing mashed potatoes, check it out!.

Freezing cubed potatoes

First off, peel the potatoes and cut them into cubes (a typical 1” cube will suffice). Then cook those cubes in salted water just until they are tender (not as long as you typically cook potatoes). Once done, dry those cubes thoroughly. Now it’s time to take a cookie sheet and line it with aluminum foil (you can spray it with a non-stick cookie spray instead of using the foil) and put potato cubes on it, making sure they don’t touch one another. Then put the cookie sheet into the freezer until the cubes freeze solid. After that, you take out the pan, transfer the cubes into freezer bag (or bags if needed), label them properly and put into the freezer. You can reheat them in simmering water.

Freezing for french fried potatoes

If you’d like to make french fries from your potatoes in the future, this way is definitely most suitable for your needs. Like usual, you need to peel the potatoes and cut them into strips of your favorite size. Wash them in cold water and then dry. Now it’s time to ‘pre-fry’ those strips. Fry them in hot oil (but not as hot as it usually is when you’re frying potatoes) for a couple of minutes, so they’ll become tender but not brownish (ready to eat). Then you need to drain them (paper towels will be helpful) and let them cool. Once they’re cool, transfer them into freezer bags, squeeze all air out and seal those bags tightly. Label the bags and put them into the freezer, where they can be stored for a couple of months. When you’ll be ready to prepare french fries, you just need to transfer the frozen strips into deep oil and proceed as you always do.

Summary
As you can see, there are a few methods of freezing potatoes. I suggest you try out at least two of them and pick one that works best for your needs. Also, it’s quite possible that different methods will be suitable for different situations, so trying out all of them is a reasonable thing to do as well.

Grains

Can you freeze corn on the cob?

Ever wondered about freezing corn on the cob? If you did and you don’t know whether you can freeze corn or not, probably you will find this article helpful. Why would one consider freezing corn? Well, there are at least two choices. First is when you’ve got too many fresh corn cobs from your garden. Second on is when there’s this big sale at a super market where you usually buy corn and you would like to buy way more ears of corn than you’d be able to use in reasonable time (without that corn going bad). Either way, you can freeze corn. There are at least a couple of ways to freeze corn, so I suggest you test each one of them on your own, examine the results you’ll get and choose your favorite one.

Corn on the cob
(credit: Phil Roeder)

Freezing corn on the cob – plain and simple method without blanching

This method requires almost no work. To start, you take each ear of corn you would like to freeze and you cut off its sharp end, below the cob (leave the husks and silks in place). Now you just need to wrap each ear separately using a plastic wrap or freezer wrap and put them into the freezer. If you plan to keep them there for a longer period of time, make sure you wrap each one a couple of times, or put all of them into a freezer bag. When they are needed, you can thaw them in the microwave. Once thawed, you can remove husks and silks and it’s ready to be consumed.

Here’s where I found this method.

Freezing corn on the cob with blanching

This method is definitely more time-consuming than the one mentioned earlier, but you may find it more successful in certain cases (e.g. if you would like to freeze corn for quite a long time, like a couple of months). First off, start by removing all the silks and husks. Now take a pot, pour in water (to about half the pot), add two tablespoons of sugar and bring the pot to a full boil. Then add the cobs to the solution, bring it back to a boil and cook it for a few minutes, until the cobs will turn darker yellow. You might need to turn each cob over in the pot so they will heat evenly. Once done, transfer the cobs into very cold water (possibly with ice cubes), so they will cool thoroughly. Then dry each cob and foil-wrap individually. Put wrapped cobs into a freezer bag and then into the freezer. This way you can easily take as many cobs from the freezer as you need at a time. Thaw them on the counter or using a microwave.

Here’s where I found this method.

Freezing corn kernels

This method is very similar to the last one, so make sure to read the description above before reading this. First off, remove husks and as much silk as you can. Then you need to bring a half-full pot of water to a boil, add the prepared cobs, bring it back to a boil and keep them in boiling water for a couple of minutes (usually 4-6 minutes). After that transfer those cobs into ice-cold water for few (6-8) minutes and then drain them. Now it’s time to cut the kernels off each cob. You can use this using a sharp knife. You can also remove them in any other way, depending on your preferences. If needed, separate the kernels into individual kernels. Then it’s time to transfer those kernels into a freezer ziplock bag (or a bag that you’re using for vacuum sealing), remove as much air as you can (a straw might be helpful) from the bag and seal it tightly. Now you just need to label the bag and you can put it into the freezer. Thaw on the counter or using a microwave.

Here’s where I found this method.

Summary
As I’ve mentioned, there are at least a couple different ways to freeze corn. Try all of them out and pick on that yields the best results. As you can see, the answer to the question “can you freezer corn on the cob?” is affirmative.

Herbs & Spices

Can you freeze cilantro?

Can you freeze cilantro? If that’s the question bothering you, you’re in the right place to find the answer. Since cilantro doesn’t stay fresh in the fridge for long and most often in comes in a bigger bunch than it’s needed, people search for a way to preserve it for longer. Basically, there seem to be two possible choices – drying and freezing cilantro. In this article we will focus on the latter. If you’re interested, read on.

Cilantro
(credit: LeafLanguages)

Freezing cilantro – important information

When it comes to cilantro, you can freeze it, but not everyone will be really satisfied with the end result. The most important thing you should know is that freezing changes the appearance of this veggie, so it probably won’t work that well for salads and other similar dishes. When it comes to cooked dishes, frozen cilantro works pretty well and in most cases you will be satisfied with what you’ll get. That being said, please remember that you’re the one who has to freeze it a couple of times and make sure frozen cilantro works (or doesn’t work) for your needs.

Before you get to freezing itself, you need to do a little prep. Rinse the cilantro to remove any impurities and pat it dry. Not it’s time to trim off any yellowish or brownish leaves, we don’t want them anyway. Now cop it. Once done, you can proceed to on the two described ways of freezing cilantro. Make sure to try out both and choose one that works better for your needs.

Freezing cilantro using a cookie sheet

Take a cookie sheet and line it with wax paper, then place as many leaves as you can on it, making sure they don’t touch one another. Then transfer the cookie sheet into the freezer for few hours, so the leaves will freeze. Once they’re frozen, take the tray out of the freezer and transfer the leaves into a small freezer bag. Push as much air from the bag as you can, seal it tightly and label it properly. Now it’s ready to be put into the freezer. Make sure it’s in a place where it won’t get crushed.

Freezing cilantro using an ice-cube tray

Take an ice-cube tray and add a few leaves into each cube (depending on how large the cubes are), make sure leave doesn’t stick out of the cube. Now fill each cube with water, so it will cover the leaves, and the tray into the freezer for a day. Once done, get the tray out of the freezer, transfer cubes into a freezer bag and put the bag into the freezer. This way you can quickly and easily get as many cilantro leaves as you need by getting as many ice cubes from the bag as needed.

Summary
Cilantro can be frozen and quite a few people do it, although it will work well only in cooked dishes like soups or stews. It’s suggested that cilantro shouldn’t be frozen for longer than half a year because of quality reasons. I encourage you to test out both described methods of freezing cilantro and pick the one that works well for your needs. If neither one does, that’s fine as well, you will learn that you shouldn’t freeze cilantro for this certain purpose you’ve frozen it for.

Vegetables

Can you freeze eggplant?

If you’ve ever wondered about freezing eggplant (often called aubergine), this article will give you all the answers you need. Eggplant is not a very popular vegetable, although quite a few people seek information about freezing it. What you should know for starters is that eggplant can be frozen and the whole freezing process is pretty similar to other veggies, so if you’ve frozen some vegetables already, you’ll feel like home when reading the rest of the article. If you’re interested, read on.

Freezing eggplant (aubergine) – preparation

Before we get to the last step, meaning putting the eggplant into the freezer, we need some prep. It will take about 20-30 minutes, depending on how many eggplants you would like to freeze. Some of the activities require as much time no matter how many eggplants you plant to freeze, so it’s always better to batch freeze. First thing to do is of course washing the eggplants. Next you should cut off both ends of each one of them, peel them (if you desire to) and slice them. Now they’re ready for the next step.

Eggplant
(credit: jordanfischer)

Blanching

Once eggplants are prepared, it’s time for blanching, which keeps the veggies from getting discolored. Now you should boil a mixture of water and a half cup of lemon juice. Once the mixture is boiling, place the slices in it for about 4 minutes. After that, transfer the eggplants to cold (possibly ice) water for a few minutes, so they’ll cool thoroughly. Once they’re cool, drain and dry them. Now they’re almost ready to be put into the freezer.

One thing to note – if you’ve got an already cooked eggplant, you can (and should) of course omit the preparation and blanching steps, since you’ve already accomplished them.

Eggplant – freezing

Ok, sliced eggplants are cool and dry, now it’s time to package them. You can put them into airtight containers or freezer bags, although the latter ones seem to be the better choice, because the don’t take as much place in the freezer. When packaging, consider dividing the veggies into several freezer bags, so you can easily defrost as much eggplant slices as you need at a time. Make sure you remove all the air from those bags (a straw might be quite helpful), seal them tightly and label properly. Now they’re ready to be put into the freezer.

If you wonder how long eggplant can be kept in the freezer, most sources suggest keeping it in there for no longer than 6-9 months. Of course you can keep it there for longer, but you might not be satisfied with its quality after defrosting. Of course frozen and thawed veggies work best in stews, soups and casseroles, but you probably know that already.

Summary
As you can see, the answer to the question “can you freeze eggplant?” is affirmative – this veggie freezes quite well and it’s not that difficult to freeze it. Just test it out for a couple of times to be sure that freezing eggplant works well for your needs.