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.
Image used under Creative Commons from Hans Splinter
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:
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.
Prepping the Vegetables
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 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!
Packing the Vegetables for Freezing
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!
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.
Image used under Creative Commons from Personal Creations
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.