Category: Vegetables

Vegetables

Can You Freeze Bean Sprouts?

With their crisp, clean taste and mild flavors, bean sprouts are a staple in Asian cooking and vegan dishes. Bean sprouts make a fine ingredient in soups, salads, stir-fry’s, and stews! They are quite nutritious too.

Bean sprouts are a great source of vitamin C, folic acid, dietary fiber, and protein. They are also high in copper, which promotes better cardiovascular, kidney, skin, and muscle health. If there’s one type of vegetable that you simply need to stock up on, you can’t go wrong with bean sprouts. But can you freeze bean sprouts?

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Yes, bean sprouts can be frozen but you have to work the veggies a bit so the sprouts won’t lose their crunchiness. When kept in the fridge, bean sprouts will only stay fresh for a week. But when kept in the freezer, bean sprouts will last for 10 months to a full year! As always, the freezer temperature must be kept at a steady 0° Fahrenheit to extend the vegetable’s shelf life. Below is a step by step guide on how can you freeze bean sprouts:

How to Freeze Bean Sprouts?

Bean sprouts may lose their crunchy texture once they’ve been frozen. The crispiness of the veggie is attributed to its high water content. The good news is, it’s possible to retain the crunch of bean sprouts by blanching the vegetables prior to freezing.

Start by washing the bean sprouts thoroughly, removing dirt and other bits. Boil a pot of water and prepare a large bowl of ice water nearby. Vegetables tend to cook quickly and blanching is a quick process so make sure the chilled water is just a few inch away from where you’re blanching.

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As soon as the pot of water boils, immerse the spouts (use a metal colander so the sprouts are easy to collect) for 3 minutes. After 3 minutes, take the blanched veggies directly into the chilled water, immersing the sprouts completely to stop the cooking process.

After 3 minutes in ice water bath, drain off excess moisture and start prepping the sprouts for freezing. We recommend packing the sprouts in manageable portions just so thawing is easier. Get a resealable plastic bag or a rigid plastic container and pour the sprouts in. Do not overfill or the veggies will bruise. Seal or close the airtight lid and write the storage date before sticking in the freezer.

For leftover bean sprouts, those that have been cooked thoroughly, just transfer the vegetables to a rigid plastic container. Make sure the container has an airtight cover so frost won’t seep in and ruin the bean sprouts. Finally, write the storage date and stick in the freezer.

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How to Defrost Frozen Bean Sprouts?

To thaw the sprouts, transfer the container from the freezer to the fridge. Leave the veggies to thaw for about 2 hours or so. Drain excess liquids and the bean sprouts are now ready to use. If you’re using the bean sprouts in soups or other hot dishes, there’s no need to thaw the bean sprouts at all. Just add the frozen bean sprouts straight into the hot dish during cooking.

Summary

Bean sprouts add a delicious crunch to soups and stews, not to mention a long list of essential nutrients! It’s great to know that bean sprouts keep so well in the freezer. Now that you know how can you freeze bean sprouts, there’s absolutely no need to worry about what to do with the leftovers.

Vegetables

Can You Freeze Yams?

Yams make the perfect diet food. They are high in energizing complex carbohydrates as well as dietary fiber. Whether baked, fried, mashed or boiled, yams are filling, delicious, and nutritious! That’s why keeping these root crops in stock is always a good idea. But can you freeze yams?

The fact is, yams are not available all year round. Freezing yams ensures that you have your favorite starchy vegs in stock when supplies are limited. Just like other starchy root crops, cooked yams keep well in the freezer.

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However, the starchy flesh of a yam is quite delicate so prepping the root crop is essential to maintain its original taste and texture. As for fresh yams, we don’t recommend freezing raw yams because the texture and flavor will change no matter how careful you are with prepping.

When kept at room temperature, uncooked yams will keep fresh for 2 weeks or so. Cooked yams kept in the fridge will keep for 2 to 3 weeks. Freezing boiled yams will extend their shelf life to 10 to 12 months at 0° Fahrenheit. Below is a step by step guide on how can you freeze yams:

How to Freeze Yams?

Because raw yams aren’t recommended for freezing, you should boil or bake the yams first prior to freezing. Heat a pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil, place the yams in the pot and boil for 10 to 15 minutes or until the yams are tender but not 100% cooked through.

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After boiling the yams, turn off the stove and leave them to stand at room temperature until completely cooled. Once the yams have cooled completely, dice or slice them with a sharp knife. Get several storage bags, the resealable kind, of course, and place a proper portion of the cut yams inside. Squeeze as much air as you can then seal. With a marker, write the storage date and stick in the freezer.

If you’d like to bake or mash the yams first prior to freezing, refer to the boiling instruction above. After the yams are cooled completely, cut, season, and process the yams accordingly. Then, prepare several resealable plastic bags, place ample portions of the yams inside and squeeze as much air as you can before sealing. If you have a vacuum sealer, use it to suck the air out of each bag before sealing. Finally, write the storage date before sticking in the freezer.

How to Defrost and Reheat Frozen Yams?

Peeled yams are prone to oxidation so they should never be exposed to air after freezing. This means boiled cut yams should be used as soon as they are taken from the freezer. If you’re not cooking the thawed yams immediately, try immersing the yams in salted water until you’re ready to cook. For mashed or baked yams, they won’t discolor when exposed to air but we suggest reheating the dish as soon as they are thawed for optimal flavor.

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To reheat baked yams, just place the yams in a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Reheat in the oven for 350° Fahrenheit for about 25 to 35 minutes. As for mashed yams, you can reheat in a skillet over medium heat. Add a little milk to the mixture as you stir to loosen the consistency then serve once piping hot.

Summary

Yams may be delicate root crops but as long as you take extra steps to maintain their freshness, they can be stored in the freezer for a year or more. Now that you know how can you freeze yams, there’s no fear of ruining a batch or dealing with spoilage when you buy yams in bulk!

Vegetables

Can You Freeze Yellow Squash?

Summer is in full swing and that means enjoying the bounty of the season, including yellow squash! Yellow squash is a type of gourd that’s often used in cooking. It’s best used in stews and soups because the vegetable adds richness to the broth. From the rind to the flesh, every part of the yellow squash can be eaten. Although yellow squash can be enjoyed all year long, how do you keep the vegetable for long-term storage? Can you freeze yellow squash?

As long as the gourd is prepped and packed properly, you can freeze yellow squash. That goes for fresh, blanched or cooked yellow squash! Yellow squash has an extremely short shelf life. It only keeps for a week in the fridge. That’s because yellow squash contains enzymes that break down quickly at room temperature.

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By freezing the vegetable, yellow squash could keep up to 3 months. However, we recommend consuming yellow squash as soon as possible for optimal flavor. Even when you freeze yellow squash, there’s no guarantee that the enzymes won’t break down and cause flavor or texture changes. Storing the gourd could also reduce its nutritional content.

There are two ways to prep yellow squash for freezing. You could either freeze the yellow squash uncooked or blanched. While it’s much easier to freeze yellow squash without cooking, blanching the vegetable will extend its shelf life. Here is a step-by-step guide on how can you freeze yellow squash:

How to Freeze Yellow squash?

If you’re freezing whole and uncooked yellow squash, we don’t recommend cutting the gourd into pieces prior to freezing. The rind will protect the yellow squash from freezer burn and preserve its natural texture and/or flavor.

To start, wash the yellow squash in running water. Remove any sticky part or residues then pat dry with paper towels. Get a large, heavy-duty resealable plastic bag and place the yellow squash inside. Squeeze as much air as you can before sealing and then write the storage date on the label. Stick in the freezer and you’re done.

If you’d like to blanch the yellow squash first prior to freezing, wash the gourd and pat dry with paper towels. On a cutting board, slice the ends of the yellow squash, about ¼ inch on both ends. Heat a pot of water on the stove over high then place the yellow squash inside and blanch for 3 minutes.

After 3 minutes of blanching, scoop the yellow squash out of the boiling water and into a bowl of ice water. This will stop the heat from cooking the yellow squash through. Leave the yellow squash completely submerged in ice water for 5 minutes or so. Drain the water using a colander and pat the yellow squash dry with paper towels. Finally, pack the yellow squash in a plastic resealable bag, squeezing out as much air as possible before sealing and sticking in the freezer.

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How to Defrost Frozen Yellow Squash?

To thaw frozen yellow squash, just transfer the container from the freezer to the fridge. Leave the yellow squash to thaw for several hours to overnight. Do not defrost the gourd at room temperature. The drastic change in temperature will alter the texture of the yellow squash!

Slow defrosting is key to maintaining the yellow squash’s original flavor and texture. Once the yellow squash is soft enough to be cut, just slice it according to the desired cut and it’s ready for cooking. Reheating the yellow squash is not necessary unless the gourd has been cooked in stews or soups. Just add the thawed yellow squash in the middle of cooking.

Summary

Yellow squash may be a delicate vegetable to freeze but as long as you prep and pack the gourd right, it will last for months in the freezer! Now that you know how can you freeze yellow squash, why not keep a stock of this healthy vegetable for future meals?

Vegetables

Can You Freeze Jicama?

Looking for a great alternative to potatoes or starchy root crops? Give jicama a try! Jicama is a type of yam bean plant with an edible tuberous root. This plant originated in Mexico and South Africa and is often used in cooking.

Jicama’s fleshy root is crunchy and mild in flavor, similar to turnips. Its exterior is light brown or gray. As for the flavor, this vegetable has a sweet, nutty flavor and a crispy texture. Its crispiness is retained even when the vegetable is cooked briefly. Jicama can be eaten raw, added to salads, or cooked in stews. The flavor is so mild; it will not alter the flavor of the dish.

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Jicama is widely available in the US but you can buy this root crop in bulk. But can you freeze jicama? Jicama does surprisingly well in the freezer, unlike regular starchy roots! Fresh, uncut tubers will keep fresh in the fridge for up to two weeks. As long as you do not cut the vegetable into pieces, there’s no need to wrap jicama in tin foil or cling wrap to retain its freshness in the fridge.

However, once it is cut, you have to prep the vegetable prior to freezing. Although its root is crisp and white, it could turn soggy and yellowish once it’s left exposed to cold temperature. Exposure to moisture could also alter the flavor of jicama. It could even absorb fridge flavors when it’s not packed properly.

You can freeze jicama but this will change the texture of the root crop unless it’s frozen whole and uncut. If it’s cut, you can still freeze it but it will take on a softer texture once it’s been defrosted. Frozen jicamas could keep fresh in the freezer for up to 4 to 6 months.

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One thing to keep in mind when wondering if can you freeze jicama is the moisture level of the vegetable prior to storage. Jicama is extremely sensitive to moisture and once exposed to it, decay, discoloration, and texture loss will set in. As such, you need to keep the product as dry as possible prior to freezing. Below is a step by step guide on how can you freeze jicama.

How to Freeze Jicama?

If you are simply chilling whole jicamas in the fridge, there’s no need to add protective wrapping as long as you plan to consume the root crops right away. But if you’re freezing whole jicamas, you will still need a protective wrapping to protect them from freezer burn or moisture loss. Before freezing, wrap each jicama in aluminum foil then stick them in the freezer.

For cut or shredded jicamas, use an airtight rigid plastic container to store the vegetables in the freezer. Start by patting the jicamas with a clean cloth or paper towels to absorb as much moisture as possible. You want the jicamas to be dry to the touch before freezing. Once the jicamas are dry, place them in a plastic container and close the airtight lid. Do not overfill the container so the jicamas will freeze without bruising. Get a marker to add the storage date and label before sticking in the freezer.

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How to Defrost Jicama?

To defrost jicama, simply transfer the container from the freezer to the fridge. Leave the frozen jicama to defrost overnight then, it is ready to use. Do note that defrosted jicamas must be consumed right away because the changes in temperature will turn the tuber soggy.

Summary

Jicamas make a great ingredient for healthy dishes including and salads, barbecues. Now that you now how can you freeze jicama, you can store this diet-friendly tuber for future uses!

Vegetables

Can You Freeze Vegetables?

Most recipes require fresh vegetables but not all produce are available all season long so what to do? You can always freeze vegetables to ensure a steady supply of your favorite produce! Freezing vegetables properly will require more effort than simply sticking them in the freezer. Just like fruits, vegetables are extremely delicate and sticking them in the fridge haphazardly could cause bruising, which will inevitably lead to spoilage and waste.

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The key to perfect freezing is blanching your veggies. Blanching requires “shocking” the produce in hot water for a few seconds before bringing the temps down with cold water. When properly frozen, vegetables can keep in the freezer for up to 14 months. Continue reading below for the step-by-step guide:

What’s the Proper Way to Freeze Vegetables

The proper way to freeze vegetables is to do so when they are fully ripened. The fact is, freezing will inhibit almost-ripe produce from ripening fully so you want to make sure the veggies are at the peak of ripeness before they are frozen.

Once you picked out the vegetables you want to freeze, clean each one thoroughly under running water. Remove unwanted bits, including stems, grit, dirt, and trim the produce one by one. After cleaning your veg, slice them up into the desired size or intended use. Once prep is done, you can start blanching the vegetables.

Blanching your produce prolongs freshness because it prevents wilting, kills bacteria, and slows down vitamin and mineral deterioration. To blanch your veggies, bring a large pot of water to a boil and with a colander, place your veggies in and submerge in hot water for 1 minute. Blanch quickly so you don’t cook the produce! Remove the colander from the hot water and transfer the produce to a bowl of ice water. Drain the vegetables using table napkins and you’re ready to pack!

To pack your veggies, you can either use a freezer-safe, rigid plastic container or glass jars. The type of container you’ll use will depend on the type of veggie you’re freezing. If you’re packing the veggies loosely, you can use a baking sheet for freezing, just make sure each produce has enough space in between. Stick the container in the freezer and you’re done!

What’s the Best Way to Defrost Frozen Vegetables

The best way to defrost frozen vegetables is to cook it directly even if they are frozen solid. To thaw vegetables, bring about ½ to 2/3 cup of water to a boil (per 16 ounces of frozen vegetables) over medium heat. Add the frozen veggies, cover with the lid, and occasionally separate the veggies as they cook. Cook until the veggies are tender.

For larger batches of frozen vegetables, you can run the packaging under cold water until completely thawed.

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Summary

Freezing vegetables properly means you can keep seasonal produce in stock right at home. Now that you know how to freeze vegetables properly, you can store your favorite veggies for later use.

 

Vegetables

Can You Freeze Leeks?

Can you freeze leeks? While leaks are available all year long, there are times where you might want to freeze those veggies. Maybe there’s a huge sale at the grocery store and you want to stock up. Or you grow your own leeks and would prefer to store some of them for later. Either way, freezing leeks seem like a good way to preserve them, right?

Can You Freeze Leeks?

As with pretty much every vegetable, you can freeze leeks. The real question is if it makes sense and if you will like the results that you get.

Like with other veggies, especially those with high water content like leeks, freezing changes the texture of leeks. In short, leeks after thawing will turn soggy. So there’s no clear answer to the can you freeze leeks? question. It all depends on how you plan to use the veggie.

Leeks

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If the texture is important for the dish you’re planning to prepare, freezing leeks won’t work out well. That means freezing leeks for a salad doesn’t make sense. But if those leeks will be part of a cooked dish, like a casserole or a stew, things change. In cooked dishes the texture of veggies usually doesn’t matter that much because it will change in the cooking process either way. So you likely won’t notice much difference between a stew with fresh leeks and one with frozen leeks.

Now that you know when it makes sense to freeze leeks, let’s go through the freezing process.

How to Freeze Leeks?

Let’s start with selection. As is the case with pretty much all other veggies, select the highest quality ones for freezing. If it’s starting to wilt or is heavily bruised, use it as soon as you can instead of freezing. Yes, that means you should freeze leeks as soon as possible, not after keeping them in the fridge for two weeks with no idea how to use them. Choose leeks that have dark green leaves and firm but pliable stalks. The stem and bulb should be white. Overall, the leeks should look crispy and fresh, not bruised, discolored or funky-looking.

Before you freeze leeks, you have to clean each stalk thoroughly. Remove anything that might be stuck between the leaves.

Now it’s time to prepare them for packaging. Consider how you will use those leeks and decide if they should be sliced or chopped. Basically, you want them to be ready for to the dish they are going into.

Now the veggies are ready to be blanched. This step is optional, though recommended. You can always test out how leeks turn out without blanching and decide if it’s worth the hassle. Blanching is really simple. First, bring a pot of water to a boil. Then toss cut leeks into the water for 1 to 2 minutes, depending how you cut the veggies. Then chill leeks rapidly in a cold water, possibly with ice cubes. Once chilled, pat them dry. They’re ready for packaging.

You can freeze leeks in freezer-safe containers or freezer bags. Bags are more convenient as you can fill each bag with the portion needed for a single dish and it will take exactly that amount of space in the freezer. So think about the amount you need for the dish you’re going to make and choose accordingly. Label each bag or container with the name and date for future reference. Toss the bags or containers into the freezer.

Leeks, generally speaking, should be frozen for no longer than 6-12 months. The sooner you use them, the better the quality. So after a year in the fridge these veggies will be perfectly edible, although you might not like the taste.

How to Thaw Leeks?

This one is really straghtforward. Just transfer the frozen leaks directly into the dish while cooking. It will thaw and cook and everything will be just fine. You might try thawing them in the fridge, but that doesn’t make much sense as they will go into a cooked dish either way.

Summary
While leeks are available all year long, from time to time you might want to stock up and freeze them. The freezing process is quite simple: wash, cut, blanch if needed, and freeze. Remember that freezing leeks works only for cooked dishes.

Vegetables

Can You Freeze Spaghetti Squash?

Can you freeze spaghetti squash? One of the most popular winter squashes found useful for replacing spaghetti is spaghetti squash. We often freeze spaghetti, but what about spaghetti squash?

Spaghetti squash has its name because when you bake it the texture of it changes and separates into spaghetti like strands when you go to scoop it out. The strands are similar in size to spaghetti strands, but do have a mushier texture that pasta.

The spaghetti squash is excellent at absorbing the flavor of any pasta sauce and seasonings you pair it with. That helps give it the similar flavor of a bowl of homemade pasta topped with sauce. It’s a healthier option than pasta to eat too. Because of that, people ask if they can stock up on the squash and freeze it. No matter if it’s on sale at the grocery store, or harvested from the garden, the answer to that question is yes.

Red Curry Squash Spaghettini

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How to Freeze Spaghetti Squash?

Before you can freeze spaghetti squash, you must first cook the squashes you have on hand. Make sure the squash is fresh, firm and ripe before cooking it and trying to fresh it. After, you must rinse the squash down with cool water to wash any debris, dirt and bacteria away.

Next, slice the squash into halves and place them in a deep casserole dish with a bit of olive oil drizzled over them. After, you need to bake the squash in a 400-degree oven for about an hour or until fork tender. Then, you will remove the cooked squash from the oven and allow it to cool for about an hour. Once it is cool, you can fork it out of its skin into a bowl until you have an entire bowl full of spaghetti squash strands.

Then, you can take the spaghetti squash and scoop it into freezer containers. place the lids on tightly and freeze the squash for up to a year this way. Don’t leave spaghetti squash frozen longer than a year because the color, flavor and texture of it will change drastically.

How to Defrost Spaghetti Squash?

The best way to defrost spaghetti squash is to take a container of it from the freezer and allow it to defrost in the refrigerator for about 12 hours. After, you can toss the spaghetti squash into a medium saucepan with your favorite pasta sauce and heat it up for about 5 minutes on medium heat. Cooking it for longer will turn to mush and loose its spaghetti like structure and texture. Serve it up as a delicious healthy meal that will provide your body with fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and enzymes.

End Thoughts to Keep in Mind
Always use firm and fresh spaghetti squash from the grocery store or from the garden. Make sure it’s washed well and cooked properly before freezing it so it holds its true flavor, texture and color.

Never freeze cooked spaghetti squash leftovers that have been in the refrigerator for a few days. It increases your chances of receiving food poisoning when you go to defrost it and eat it. Always use freshly cooked spaghetti squash for freezing purposes. Freezing will preserve the delicious squash so you can always have it on hand.

Vegetables

Can You Freeze Jalapenos

Freezing jalapenos to have them year round sounds really great, especially if you’re into hot and spicy Mexican and Spanish dishes, homemade salsas and mini-stuff pepper appetizers. Picking them fresh during harvesting season and preserving them with the freezing method is an excellent way to make sure you have them year round to use in all kinds of dishes.

What is the proper way of freezing fresh jalapenos?

The best way to freeze jalapenos is by harvesting them fresh during picking season, rinsing them off with cool water, slicing the tops off of them and slicing them up into little round circles. After, you take the slices, pack them into freezer bags, and store them away in the freezer until you are ready to use them up. Frozen jalapenos stay fresh this way for up to 2 years.

However, they do change in texture, but will retain their flavor. Their texture slightly softens when you freeze them. This means frozen jalapenos are only good for making salsas, adding flavor to casserole dishes, chilies and soups, adding onto the top of nachos or for burger toppings. If you love the fresh crisp texture of jalapenos, there is no sense in freezing them. Instead, it is best to use them up as they are.

Now, if you want to defrost your freshly frozen jalapenos all you need to do is simply take a bag from the freezer and allow them to defrost in your refrigerator for about an hour or two. You can even place the bag of frozen peppers in a bowl of cool water for about 30 minutes to defrost. However, if you are just using them to make baked nachos or tossing them into chilies and casserole dishes simply grab out what you need from the freezer and toss them on or into the dish frozen. The cooking process will make them tender and hot.

Jalapenos

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Can you freeze leftover canned jalapenos?

If you open up a can of jalapenos and know you are not going to use them all, you can place the leftovers into freezer containers and freeze them for up to 3 months this way. However, you must freeze them right after you open the can and not later on in order to prevent spoiling or contamination with bacteria. It is never wise to open a can of jalapenos, use some and store the rest is the refrigerator for a day or two and then decide to freeze the rest because this will just give you food poisoning when you go to eat them up.

Can you freeze store bought jalapenos from the produce section?

If there are freshly harvested jalapenos in your local grocery store or farm stand, you can grab a bunch and freeze them the same way you would freshly harvested jalapenos from a garden. However, you will want to wash them well to remove any pesticides, chemicals and bacteria from them.

Can you freeze leftover jalapenos from a jar?

If you have leftover jalapenos from a jar you just open you can pour the leftover jalapenos from the jar along with their liquid directly into a freezer container and freeze the peppers this way for up to 6 months. When you want to defrost them, simply place the container in the refrigerator and allow them to defrost for a day. After, you can use them for whatever dish you desire.

End Thoughts to Keep in Mind

With all that being said, again if you love fresh crisp jalapeno peppers as they it is never wise to freeze them and always best too just enjoy them while they are in season. Otherwise, harvest as much as you can while they are fresh in the summertime and preserve them with the freezing method so they can be enjoyed throughout the year in all kinds of tasteful dishes.

Vegetables

Can You Freeze Broccoli?

Fresh broccoli harvested from the garden in abundant amounts can easily be preserved for months ahead by simply freezing it. However, there are essential steps you must take in order to freezer broccoli properly in order to retain its fresh summery taste.

Harvest Crisp Damage Free Broccoli from the Garden

The best type of broccoli to freeze is fresh crisp broccoli harvested from the garden without any rotting. Freezing broccoli with any sort of rot damage can cause spoilage of the vegetable quickly and cause bacteria to grow, which can cause food poisoning in you once you defrost the vegetable and eat it.

Kill the Insects on the Broccoli

Once you have harvested fresh crisp healthy broccoli from the garden you must kill the insects on them, which are typically tiny little green worms. You do this by filling up a large bowl with water and adding in about a teaspoon of sea salt. Then, you place the broccoli into the salty water for a good 30 minutes to help kill the insects, which will eventually fall to the bottom of the salty water bowl. After, take the broccoli out of the salty water and lay it flat on a sheet of paper towel to dry off a bit.

Chop up the Broccoli

Next, it is time to place the broccoli onto a cutting board and chop it up into little bite size broccoli trees. However, do not cut too much of the stem off because this is essential for holding the little broccoli crowns together during the blanching, freezing and cooking process.

Broccoli florets

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Blanch the Broccoli

Once your broccoli is all chopped up, it is time to place it into a boiling pot of water for a minute to blanch it. Do not blanch the broccoli for more than a minute because you will end up cooking it, which will make it no good to freeze.

Chill It

After the blanching step, it is time to strain the water from the broccoli and place the broccoli immediately into a bowl of icy water to stop the blanching process. You will leave the broccoli in the ice-cold water for at least 5 minutes. Next, you will remove the broccoli from the icy cold bath into a strainer and allow the extra water to drip off them.

Time to Begin the Freezing Process

Next, you will take your broccoli and lay it flat out onto a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Then, you will place the broccoli into the freezer this way to freezer for about an hour. This will prevent the broccoli chunks from sticking together when you go to store them in freezer bags or containers.

Storing the Broccoli Away

Once the broccoli is frozen on the cookie sheets, you can remove it from the freezer and place the chopped up frozen broccoli into freezer bags or containers and place them back into the freezer to keep fresh for about a year this way.

Defrosting the Broccoli

Anytime you want to eat up the frost broccoli you simply skip the defrosting step and simply place them into a vegetable steamer and steam them up until they are fork tender. After, you can serve them up with a cheese sauce, fresh herbs and spices, butter or simply eat them as they are.

End Notes to Keep in Mind

Freezing broccoli will change the texture and water content it contains so you will not be able to defrost it and eat it raw. The only way you will not notice the texture change is by steaming the previously frozen broccoli up and eating it up afterwards. You can also toss it into soups, stews, pot pies, casserole dishes and still have the broccoli taste just fine. It is just not tasty raw served on a platter with vegetable dips or dressings.

Vegetables

Can You Freeze Squash

Bumper crop of squash or a sale at your grocery store beg the question: “can you freeze squash?” Indeed you can, read on to learn how.

Did you have a bumper crop of squash in your garden this year? Were colorful squash on sale at your grocery store and you over-zealously threw a pile in your cart? Fortunately, too much of a good thing is a good thing, since you can easily preserve this nutrient-rich bounty with little time and effort.

Can You Freeze Squash?

Squash lends well to freezing. However, prep for winter and summer varieties have slight differences. Squash is part of the gourd family, and it’s designated into two classifications: winter squash and summer squash.

Varieties of winter squash include acorn, buttercup, butternut, hubbard, kabocha, spaghetti, and turban. These hearty varieties are mainly used for casseroles, main or side dishes, and soups. Process winter squash with a deep color and a hard rind. Once cooked or steamed, the squash is ready for your freezer.

Summer squash include pattypan, tromboncino, zucchini, and yellow squash varieties. They’re a delicious, ingredient in vegetable lasagna, stir fry, creamed soup, and pasta. A puree or grated squash (especially zucchini) can also be used in baked goods. Grate, slice, or puree the flesh of young, tender summer squash for freezing.

Squash Harvest

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Why Should You Freeze Squash?

Winter squash can stay fresh in a cool atmosphere (about 50 degrees F) covered in newspaper in a single layer for 4 to 8 months. However, squash is a larger item, so it may take up precious storage room that you don’t have or can’t spare for several months. Freezing is certainly beneficial for longer storage times, and many recipes call for pre-cooked squash.

Sometimes, it’s just easier to process batches all at once if you’ve grown a large amount from your own garden or found a ridiculously low price per pound at the grocery store. That means you’ve only got to haul out your kitchen appliances once. Also, you only have to deal with the mess and dishes of the processing chore now (so you’ll thank yourself later).

Zucchini is an especially popular, healthier alternative ingredient to butter or oil in muffins, brownies, and cakes. According to Wilton.com, “Cooked mashed squashes…will replace half if not all the fat in most baked desserts, and are particularly suited for muffins, quick breads, gingerbread, fruit cakes and other dense cakes. Squash or sweet potatoes are an excellent choice if the recipe calls for cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, or cloves…! You can use 3/4 as much of the vegetable puree as the total amount of fat called for in the recipe…”

How Do You Freeze Squash?

When steamed and cooked winter squash has cooled, it can be frozen. First, wash the rind, then cut the squash in half, taking out the seeds. Place the halves face-down into a shallow baking tray filled with approximately an inch of water. Cook time is about 6 minutes in the microwave per pound of squash or 40 or 45 minutes in a 400 degree F oven. Next, scoop out the pulp from the rind, and mash it with a fork. (Use a food processor or immersion [hand] blender to puree the squash for soups or baby food. Pour the puree directly into ice cube trays for baby food portions.) Put the squash into freezer containers or plastic freezer bags.

For frozen summer squash, gently scrub the rind. Cut it into 1/2-inch slices. Blanch the slices for 3 minutes then cool, drain, and package.

Since zucchini is an alternative to oil in baking, freeze it back. First, wash the zucchini and peel off the skin. Grate the zucchini flesh and blanch it. Transfer the grated zucchini to freezer containers or bags, but keep them open while you place them in a pan or bowl of cool or ice water. Seal containers or bags after they’ve cooled.

Give the squash a 1/2-inch head space in its containers. The recommended maximum freezer storage time is 12 months.

How Do You Thaw Squash?

To thaw, place the squash in your refrigerator until completely thawed. When thawed, summer squash is mushy, so discard any extra liquid. Use frozen squash in baked goods or thaw it quickly by running the freezer container under hot water. Use thawed squash within 2-3 days, and refreezing is not recommended.