Category: Vegetables

Vegetables

Can You Freeze Beets?

Can you freeze beets? It’s not unusual to crave beets when they are out of season. To preserve fresh beets from your garden, you may want to consider freezing them. Take advantage of sales at farmer’s markets or supermarkets by following these easy steps for freezing beets.

For best results, only the freshest beets should be chosen for freezing, as those that are somewhat limp may become mushy when frozen. The ideal beets will be a deep, even red color, and contain crisp stems and leaves.

Inspect beets carefully for signs of decay, and cut away any damaged pieces to ensure you are working only with top quality specimens. While beets of any size may be frozen, the ideal size for freezing is around two to three inches in diameter. Keep this number in mind when you are buying beets to freeze later.

Although frozen beets will keep almost indefinitely, you should nonetheless eat them within twelve months after freezing if you are to fully enjoy their flavor.Below is a guide on how can you freeze beets:
Freshly harvested beets

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How to Freeze Beets?

Preparing the Beets

Cut the tops and bottoms off of your beets with a sharp knife, leaving around ½ to one inch of both the stems and roots. This will allow them to maintain an even color when they are cooked. Next, scrub them gently in a sink full of cool water to remove dirt and residue. Drain them by placing on paper towels to absorb excess water.

Cooking the Beets Prior to Freezing

Raw beets are not suitable for freezing; therefore, you must cook them first. Place your beets in a large kettle and cover them slightly with water. Boil for around 30 to 45 minutes until they are completely tender but not mushy. Drain and rinse your beets and then discard the liquid.

Allow the beets to cool enough so that you can remove their skins and finish cutting off the roots and stems. When beets are cooked thoroughly, the skins should slide off easily by hand. Slice them into evenly sized pieces, or leave them whole if they are very small beets.

Packing the Beets for Freezing

Freeze beets by placing them inside clean freezer containers, Ziploc storage bags or vacuum sealed bags. Make sure to remove any excess air from your bags, as this will allow your beets to stay fresh longer. Label them with their contents and date of packing before storing them in your freezer.

Washed and peeled beets

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How to Defrost Frozen Beets?

Frozen beets can be thawed at room temperature and served cold, or may be cooked by simmering them on top of the stove in a pan full of water.Frozen beets make excellent side dishes, and are also ideal for

Frozen beets make excellent side dishes, and are also ideal for use in soups, stews, and casseroles. Since they freeze well, there should be no noticeable difference in the taste, color or texture when compared to canned beets.

Summary

Surprisingly, beets do freeze well and require very little advance preparation before placing them in the freezer. The next time you come across an abundance of fresh beets, stock up on this vegetable. Now that you know how can you freeze beets, just stick the veggies in the freezer!

Vegetables

Can You Freeze Bell Peppers?

Can you freeze bell peppers? Bell peppers whether green, yellow, red or orange can all be frozen to help preserve the delightful sweet peppery flavor they contain. The best time to freeze bell peppers is immediately after harvesting.

With that being said those of you who love eating fresh crisp peppers on top of salads or on sandwiches should not freeze your peppers because freezing them causes them to retain more water for a longer time, which causes them to have a mushier texture once you defrost them.

Kind in mind, when freezing peppers they will change in texture, but not in flavor. Therefore, if you love your bell peppers fresh and crispy it is best too simply eat them and leave no leftovers. Otherwise, freeze all the bell peppers you can so you can have them on hand throughout the year to use in all kinds of dishes until the next bountiful harvest season.

Below is a step by step guide on how can you freeze bell peppers:

How to Freeze Bell Peppers?

The best ways to freeze peppers is whole with stem and seeds removed, sliced up or finely chopped. You can freeze your peppers whichever way works best for you.

Freezing  Whole Bell Peppers

To freeze your peppers whole simply slice off the tops of the peppers, remove the stems and seeds and place the peppers into individual freezer bags. After, place the whole peppers in the freezer to stay fresh for up to 2-years.

Freezing Cut Bell Peppers

To freeze slices of peppers you will slice off the tops of the peppers, remove the stems and seeds and slice the peppers up into thin slices in either circular form or vertical. You do whichever way pleases you. After, place the slices into a freezer bag or container and store them away in the freezer to keep fresh for up to 1-year.

Freezing Chopped Bell Peppers

To freeze chopped peppers you slice off the tops, remove the stems and seeds and chop the peppers up into bite-size pieces. Then you spread the chopped up peppers onto a wax paper lined cookie sheet and freeze them in the freezer for about an hour.

After, you can place the chopped up frozen peppers into containers or freezer bags. Store the bags in your freezer until you are ready to use them in dishes. Freezing chopped up peppers this way will prevent the pepper bits from sticking together. Chopped up peppers will stay fresh for up to 6-months this way.

can you freeze bell peppers

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How to Defrost Frozen Bell Peppers?

There are a few ways you can defrost bell peppers. If you were defrosting whole bell peppers, you would take them out of the freezer, place them into the refrigerator to defrost for up to 12-hours and slice them up or use them in your food dishes whichever way you please.

You can also take frozen whole bell peppers and defrost them in a bowl of cool water, which takes about an hour. After, you would cook them in your preferred method.

Now, with slices of peppers or diced peppers all you have to do is take them from the freezer and cook with them. You do not have to defrost them at all. You can defrost them in the refrigerator before using them to cook with, but this will cause them to be a bit mushier than usual.

Summary

Bell peppers may be available all year round but it’s nice to know that you can avoid wastage by freezing your bell pepper supply. Now that you can know how can you freeze bell peppers, don’t be afraid to buy in bulk. Just keep your leftovers in the freezer for future cooking!

 

Vegetables

Can You Freeze Green Onions?

Green onions are available all year round but they are especially bountiful during the cooler seasons. That’s why green onions or scallions make the perfect add-in to soups and stews!

When grown in the garden, green onions grow so fast, you’ll have lots of it within just a few weeks. Now if say, you have too many green onions, is there a way to keep the rest for future cooking? Can you freeze green onions?

Image used under Creative Commons from ih

Spring onions have a short shelf life. When kept in the fridge, green onions should be good for a week or so. At this point, you will likely find that your onions are no longer crisp in your “vegetable crisper.” Instead, you will likely be greeted by soggy, slimy, and limp onions; just wilting away in your refrigerator.

Forget about giving excess green onions away, you can freeze green onions to extend their shelf life. When kept in the freezer, green onions will keep for 10 months to a year!

The fact is, any part of the onion can be frozen, including the green stem. That being said, the green stem can be a little delicate. This means while green onions can be frozen, texture changes are inevitable. The scallions could become a little softer and less pungent after thawing. But despite the texture changes, scallions remain safe to use in cooking.

But why do people freeze green onions anyway?  Gardeners have a wealth of these tasty little onions and will need to find something to do with them before they go bad.

Another reason for freezing green onions is that when you buy them, you have way too many to use. Anyone who has bought a bunch of scallions can confirm, they come in a bushel far too large to go through in a timely manner. Most people, growers, and buyers of the vegetable will end up giving away or tossing out half of their supply of green onions.

Other reasons why people freeze onions include stocking up on the vegetable while it is still in season, preserving the green onions for future uses, or buying in bulk for special occasions. If you want to a steady supply of green onions all year round, freezing them is your best bet.

No matter your individual reason, anyone would hate to waste their food, and in essence their money. Freezing is actually a perfectly viable option for preserving your onions so that you can make the most of them.

Some people may be wary of freezing green onions for fear that it will ruin the product. In truth, the only thing that will happen to the onion is that it will lose some of its crispness. Because of this, you should only use your frozen onions in dishes that do not require fresh crisp onions.

Below is a step by step guide on how can you freeze green onions:

How to Freeze Green Onions?

Do note that green onions are extremely pungent. It’s likely that the odors will emanate from improperly packed green onions. As such, seal the green onions well prior to freezing. Let’s take a look at the different ways to freeze green onions:

Image used under Creative Commons from Emilian Robert Vicol

Flash-Freezing Green Onions

Although green onions do not require blanching, flash freezing will extend the freshness of the vegetable. You can also freeze the bulb and stems together but it’s best to do this separately.

Flash freezing is an extra step but it will improve the texture of the green onions after defrosting. Start by prepping the vegetables, washing the green onions to remove dirt and debris. Then, pat the vegetables dry, they should be completely dry prior to freezing. Chop the green onions into desired pieces and you’re ready for flash freezing.

Place the chopped green onions onto a parchment lined baking tray. Pop the baking tray into the freezer and freeze for an hour or until solid. Once the green onions are frozen, take the baking tray out of the freezer and divide the vegetable into single serving portions. Spoon the vegetables into snack sized resealable plastic bag then stick in the freezer.

Freezing Fresh Green Onions

If you don’t want to flash freeze the green onions, that’s fine. Just wash the green onions and onion bulb well, removing bits and dirt that might’ve been stuck in the crevices. Then, pat the green onions dry with paper towel. You want the green onions to be as dry as possible to maintain the integrity of the vegetable during freezing. Leftover moisture will turn to ice crystals during freezing and this will ruin the texture and flavor of the green onions.

Once the vegetables are dry, get your knife and cutting board and start chopping the green onions into desired pieces. Get a rigid plastic container with an airtight lid or snack-size resealable plastic bags and spoon the green onions into the container. Do not overfill the container so the vegetables won’t bruise. Close the lid or seal the plastic bag, write the storage date with a marker then stick in the freezer.

Image used under Creative Commons from Mark Bonica

No matter how you decide to freeze your onions, it’ll be a good choice. Just make sure that you use a big enough container to where you aren’t packing the onions in too tight. Remember, onions are incredibly pungent vegetables. They will stain your freezer and everything around them with their scent. To prevent this, ensure that you packing the scallions properly. You may even use double or triple bagging. Store the scallions as far away from other foods as possible.

How to Defrost Frozen Green Onions?

Unless you did not divide the green onions into single serving portions, there is no need to thaw the vegetable. Green onions will thaw as they cook. But if you need to thaw green onions, just transfer the container from the freezer to the fridge. Leave the green onions to thaw overnight and they’re ready to use.

Summary

Green onions add a punch of flavor and crunch to stir-frys, sautéed dishes, soups, and stews. Now that you know how can you freeze green onions, you can extend the shelf life of this vegetable for future uses!

Vegetables

Can You Freeze Rhubarb?

Can you freeze rhubarb? While rhubarb is usually used right away for making delicious treats, you can harvest the stalks and freeze them so you can use them whenever you desire to.

Rhubarb is an herbaceous perennial that grows up in short thick rhizomes, which are useful for making pies, jams, jellies, and sauces. The rosy red stalks of rhubarb are harvested in late spring and early summer.

Do note that if rhubarb is frozen past a year, it can change in flavor and texture. The flavor will be a bit more watery and the texture slightly mushy. However, using it up within the year should not change the flavor or texture. In fact, it will still have its tart-sweet flavor and a bit of crispness, which is perfect for strawberry rhubarb pies.

How to Freeze Rhubarb?

Did you know that there are different ways to prepare rhubarb for long storage? Below are some of the most common ways on how can you freeze rhubarb:

Flash-Freezing Rhubarb For Freezing

The best way to freeze rhubarb is by first washing the stalks well with cool water to remove any dirt from them. After, you can cut any bad spots off the stalks, chop them up into pieces and blanch them in a large pot of boiling water for around a minute.

Next, you strain the water from the stalks and place the stalks into an ice-cold bath of water with ice cubes to help stop the cooking process. Then, you strain the water from the stalks again and dry them off with paper towels.

Then, place the stalks into freezer bags and containers and store them away in the freezer for up to a year. When you want to use the rhubarb, simply take it out of the freezer and begin cooking with it. You do not need to wait until it defrosts.

can you freeze rhubarb

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Preserving the Rhubarb in Sugar For Freezing

Another way you can freeze rhubarb is by following the same steps for blanching, cooling, and drying as mentioned above.

However, instead of packing the stocks up after into sealable bags you can place the rhubarb pieces into freezer containers with a tablespoon of sugar to help add a bit of sweetness to the stalks and to help preserve them a bit easier.

After, you can freeze the sweetened pieces of rhubarb in the freezer for up to a year. However, frozen sweeten rhubarb is best for making jams, jellies, and pies and not good in any kind of diabetic desserts.

Blanching Rhubarb Prior to Freezing

You can also keep rhubarb stalks whole and blanch them in a large pot of boiling water for 2-minutes, cool them in an ice bath afterward, towel dry them off and place the large stalks in a gallon size freezer bag and store them in the freezer this way if you prefer. However, they will be a bit more difficult to cut up when frozen, which will make them difficult to use.

How to Defrost Frozen Rhubarb?

Whenever you are defrosting rhubarb, avoid doing it by leaving it in the refrigerator or countertop because the stalks will become mushy and watery.

Always take them from the freezer and use them right away for making rhubarb dishes in order to retain their sweet and tart rhubarb flavor and texture. Remember, frozen rhubarb is always best if it is used up within the year it has been frozen in.

Summary

Rhubarb is quite a hardy vegetable so it will keep well in the freezer. Now that you know how can you freeze rhubarb, you can finally extend the shelf life of your supply for future uses!

Vegetables

Can You Freeze Green Beans?

Fresh green beans are delightful to have, but what do you do when you have too many on hand? Can you freeze green beans?

You can freeze the extra beans whether straight from the vine or left over from a large opened can of string beans. This will help you receive more shelf life out of the beans so you can reheat and eat at a later date as a side dish to other meals you make, or use them to make a casserole dish.

How to Freeze Green Beans?

How you freeze green beans will depend on the state of the vegetable. Below is a step by step guide on how can you freeze green beans:

Freezing Fresh Green Beans

You freeze fresh green beans straight from the vine by first rinsing them down with cool water and removing any stems and ends. Then, you blanch the beans in a pot of water for a minute.

After, you place the blanched beans onto a sheet of paper towel and soak up the extra water from them. Then, you can place them into freezer bags or containers and store them in the freezer until you are ready to use them.

Green beans eaten within a year from the freezing date will retain their vibrant green color and fresh taste and crunch.

Freezing Canned Green Beans

If you have a large can of string beans and you are just going to open the can and use half the beans, you can pour the other half into a freezer container with the liquid they are in and freeze them for up to 6-months. This will help preserve their shelf life and allow you to use the rest of the canned beans later.

However, the beans might be musher in texture, which makes them great for casserole dishes, soups and stews.

Green beans

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How to Defrost Frozen Green Beans?

When it comes to defrosting fresh green beans, you take them right from the freezer, place them into a steamer, and steam them until vibrant green and fork tender.

Never take the beans from the freezer and allow them to defrost on the countertop completely because this will make them slimy, soggy and taste like the storage bag and container they have been stored inside. It can even make the beans watery in texture.

Always take the beans straight from the freezer into the cooking process and eat them shortly after that. You should not refreeze the beans after this process either since bacteria can have a chance to form on them. It is best if you just eat them up.

As for defrosting canned green beans, thaw by removing them from the freezer container and into a small saucepan. Then, you place the lid onto the pan and place the pan on the stove.

Next, you turn the burner on low heat, slowly defrost the beans, and steam them for about 5 to 7-minutes. After, you simply serve them up. Most of the time-canned beans that are frozen will still have the same great flavor and texture, but if frozen for longer than 6-months the beans might become mushy and lose a little bit of the flavor.

Beans

Image used under Creative Commons from Mohammed Mahdi

Summary

Knowing these methods for freezing green beans whether fresh or left over from an open can should help you keep extra beans preserved longer so none of them go to waste.

Food is expensive and knowing how to freeze leftover or extra vegetables and fruits can go a long way to cutting the cost of your groceries. Now that you know how can you freeze green beans, go ahead and store this vegetable for later. It’s easy!

Vegetables

Can You Freeze Brussels Sprouts?

Can you freeze Brussels sprouts? The answer is of course, yes. Brussels sprouts are like any other vegetables and you can freeze them just like you do to other sprouts. There are many reasons as to why you would consider freezing Brussels sprouts.

You may purchase Brussels sprouts during summer for your winter stock, and freezing them is the best chance of them living in the winter time. Your residential home may be far away from your green grocer store and therefore you want to reduce your trips to the store, therefore, freezing is your best choice.

Freezing Brussels sprouts preserves the vegetables’ freshness. You don’t have to throw away excess vegetable after your meal. If you can’t use up all your Brussels sprouts during a meal, you can freeze them and enjoy them later on.

Now, freezing Brussels sprouts is one thing but does it really makes sense to do it? Yes because you may buy your vegetables with an intention of using them for a later day. It is common for many people to buy foodstuff in bulks.

Likewise, when you are expecting visitors it is advisable to buy your supplies for the day in advance. If brussels sprouts are on the list, you can buy them a few days before the red-letter day and freeze them for the big occasion.

Many people are okay with eating frozen foods especially when they are not so keen on tastes. Brussels sprouts get a bit mushy when thawed. If you don’t mind the taste, then you can go ahead and freeze them.

Brussels sprouts

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Brussels sprout has a long shelf life meaning that it can last for long without necessarily being inside a freezer. This is the main reason why some people are reluctant to freeze their Brussels sprouts. Now let’s take a look at how can you freeze Brussels sprouts below:

How to Freeze Brussels Sprouts?

Freezing Brussels sprout is not a hard task. You need to be aware of the freezing process and the rest is simple. There are several freezing methods. You can either choose to the full or sliced vegetables or freeze them for a cooked meal.

Prepping Brussels Sprouts 

You may also choose to blanch them before freezing or freeze them without blanching. Select the firm and compact Brussels sprouts and ensure they are green. Ensure that the heads and leaves are free from insects. It is important to clean them to drive out any insect or bugs hiding in the sprout.

Water Blanching the Brussels Sprouts

Soak them for about 30 minutes in a salt and vinegar solution. Once you get rid of insects, trim the heads and get rid of the coarse outer leaves. Sort the heads size-wise into small, medium and large heads.

Water-blanch the Brussels sprouts. For the small ones, blanch them for 3 minutes, 4 minutes for medium-sized and 5 minutes for the large.

Freezing these vegetables without blanching gives them a lifetime of 2 months. With blanching, you increase their lifetime to 12-14 months. Blanching protects your sprouts from the growth of yeast, molds, bacteria and other harmful microorganisms.

After blanching, you are too cool the by placing them into a cool water bath present with ice. Store the sprouts in a resealable plastic bag or an airtight plastic container then stick in the freezer. Keep the temperature at 0oF to extend the vegetables’ shelf life to 12 months.

How to Defrost Frozen Brussels Sprouts?

Thawing process is a short process that is designed to soften the frozen sprouts. Brussels sprouts need as little as 5 minutes to thaw them. The thawing process is all about warming the frozen vegetables to make them suitable for consumption.

Thawing, however, has some effects on Brussels sprouts. Your vegetables will have a change in texture. They lose their crunch capabilities and become tender. This may not go down well with people who are very keen on the taste.

Thawing may also cause discoloration to the Brussels sprouts. These vegetables may lose their characteristic green color and become a little bit yellowish. Another thing that may change is the general taste. Freezing and thawing have effects on the general taste of the vegetables.

However, these changes do not happen every time you freeze and thaw your Brussels sprouts. It all depends on the entire freezing and thawing process. Moreover, at times they are not noticeable and you can enjoy your entire meal without noting a single change in taste or color in the Brussels sprouts.

Summary

It takes a little prep to freeze Brussels sprouts but the extra effort is worth it. You can maximize your favorite vegetables with zero waste. Now that you know how can you freeze Brussels sprouts, there is no need to worry about your excess vegetables. Just stick them in the freezer for later use, it’s that easy!

Vegetables

Can You Freeze Butternut Squash?

Can you freeze butternut squash? Fresh butternut squash is typically enjoyed throughout the fall months but you can have it available all year long by freezing it. Read on to learn more.

Fresh butternut squash is typically enjoyed most throughout the fall months since harvesting usually occurs in late summer early autumn.

However, you can enjoy this delicate fruit, or as some call a vegetable, any time of the year by simply freezing large harvest to enjoy later in the year when you feel like something sweet and savory to eat that provides comfort and nourishment to the body.

How to Freeze Butternut Squash?

Freezing butternut squash is simple. You can freeze the squash using a few different methods too. Below is a step by step guide on how can you freeze butternut squash:

Freezing Raw Butternut Squash

If you want to freeze freshly harvested butternut squash in its organic form, you do have to remove the stem, skin, and seeds from the inside of it first. Then, you can chunk up the squash flesh into bite-sized pieces.

After, lay the pieces out onto a wax paper lined cookie sheet and freeze them in the freezer for about an hour. Once the pieces are frozen, you can place them into sealable freezer bags or containers and store them in the freezer for up to a year.

When you are ready to cook some squash up, simply remove the container from the freezer and cook up the squash the way you desire to.

can you freeze butternut squash

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Freezing Mashed Butternut Squash

One of the most favored ways of eating butternut squash is mashed with some butter and brown sugar blended into it. Some people even add in maple syrup and a pinch of a salt for a sweet and savory side dish.

You can create whatever flavor of mashed squash you desire. To make mashed butternut squash you simply remove the stems, peels, and seeds from some squashes. Chunk up the squash flesh into bite-sized pieces.

Place the pieces into a large steamer pan or shallow pot of water and cook them until fork tender. After, you strain any water from the butternut squash chunks and place the chunks into a large mixing bowl with your favorite seasoning ingredients.

Then, you beat the ingredients together until you receive a smooth and creamy deep mashed butternut squash dish that is full of outstanding flavor. Next, you scoop the mashed butternut squash into freezer containers, place the date onto the container and freeze the squash this way for up to a year or until you are ready to use it.

When you are ready to use up a mashed butternut squash side dish, remove a container from the freezer and dump the frozen squash dish into a small saucepan and heat on low heat until it becomes warm and creamy to eat. You can also warm this dish up in the microwave, but the flavor and texture might change a bit.

Freezing Halved Butternut Squash

If you want to freeze butternut squash in halves, all you have to do is cut a squash in half, scoop the seeds from it and place each half into a freezer bag.

Then, freeze the squash this way for up to 2-years or until you are ready to use it. The best way to cook up frozen halves of butternut squash is by roasting them in the oven at 400 degrees for about an hour or until tender.

You can add seasonings and butter to the halves in order to achieve a flavor you desire too. Some people even stuff the halves with wild rice, nuts, and dried fruits to make a delicious vegetarian dish. You do whatever you feel best for your frozen halves of butternut squash.

Halved butternut squash

Image used under Creative Commons from Richard North

How to Defrost Frozen Butternut Squash?

It would not be best to take frozen butternut squash from the freezer and allow it to defrost in the refrigerator or countertop because it will cause discoloration and possibly even a slimy mushy texture.

It is always best to take frozen butternut squash from the freezer and cook it right away so it still has the same fresh flavor it did on the day you harvested it.

Keeping squash frozen for longer than 2-years can cause frost and may even change the flavor of it so it is always best to use any frozen squash up before the 2-year mark passes.

Summary

Freezing butternut squash is easy and convenient, especially when you’re whipping up quick meals. Now that you know how can you freeze butternut squash, there is no need to worry about wastage when storing this nutritious vegetable for later use. You can take advantage of sales because you can maximize the vegetables to their fullest!

Vegetables

Can You Freeze Sweet Potatoes?

Can you freeze sweet potatoes? Sweet potatoes are one of the most versatile veggies out there. They are used in all sorts of dishes, both sweet and savory. Preparing and cooking (or baking) sweet potatoes are not that difficult, but it takes quite some time.

For most of us, it’s fine to take our time cooking during the weekend, but cooking sweet potatoes on a weeknight is hardly an option. With so much going on in our lives, taking an hour to prepare a healthy supper with some veggies in it is not likely to happen too often. Fortunately, we have our freezers for preserving sweet potatoes.

Sweet potatoes and other veggies

There are a few good options when it comes to freezing sweet potatoes, so pick one that works best for you.

How to Freeze Baked Sweet Potato Fries

This is, by far, the most time-consuming method in this guide. I use this method quite often when meal prepping. You do all the work before freezing, and after defrosting and warming up the potatoes are ready to eat. Here’s how I do it:

  1. Preheat the oven to 430 degrees F (or 220 degrees C).
  2. Peel or scrub (depending if you want to leave the skin on) the potatoes and cut them into fries-like strips. Choose the size that works best for you. Bigger ones are great if you’re transferring the potato fries in freezer bags. I do these as part of my meal prep routine, so I cut the sweet potatoes into smaller chips, so they fit into my containers easily.
    Cutting sweet potatoes into fries
  3. Coat the fries with your favorite mix of spices and olive oil. Transfer the fries into a large bowl and add the spices. Sea salt and black pepper is the standard, but feel free to add whatever spices you like. After adding the spices, add a tablespoon of olive oil (or more) and give the veggies a toss to make sure each chip is coated with the oil.
    Coating sweet potatoes with olive oil and spices
  4. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil (no sticking, easy cleanup) and spread the fries into a thin layer.
    Sweet potatoes ready for roasting
  5. Put the baking sheet into the oven and bake the potatoes for 25 to 30 minutes, depending on the size. Use a toothpick to check if they are done properly.
  6. Remove the veggies from the oven and let them sit at room temperature for at least 25 minutes. They cool down really quickly.
    Roasted sweet potatoes
  7. Transfer the fries into freezer bags or containers. If you’re using freezer bags, spread them into a flat layer for easier storage and reheating.
    Meal prep containers with sweet potatoes and rice
  8. Label the bags or containers with name and date if needed.
  9. Transfer the veggies into the freezer.

How to Freeze Boiled Sweet Potatoes

This method requires little prpe time and is perfect if you’re freezing sweet potatoes for the first time. Here’s how it goes:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. The pot should be large enough to fit all the potatoes you’re about to cook without cutting them into slices.
  2. Scrub the potatoes and chuck them into the boiling water.
  3. Boil the sweet potatoes for 10-15 minutes, depending on size (having sweet potatoes of similar size works best). You want to boil the sweet potatoes until they become tender.
  4. Drain the potatoes and let them sit in room temperature until you can touch the skin without hurting your palms.
  5. Peel the sweet potatoes (it’s much easier now than before cooking!) and slice or dice them, depending on your needs.
  6. Portion the prepped veggies. If you already know how much you will need at a time, that’s your portion. If not, divide the potatoes into several roughly equal portions. With smaller portions, it will be easier to defrost as many sweet potatoes as you need at a time.
  7. Transfer the portions into a freezer bag. Spread them evenly into a flat layer in the bag for easier storage.
  8. Label the bags with name and date if needed.
  9. Chuck the bags into the freezer.

How to Freeze Baked Whole Sweet Potatoes

This method requires a longer waiting time than boiling but ot gives equally good results. It’s the best choice if you’re already baking sweet potatoes for a dish you’re preparing. Just bake all of the sweet potatoes you have and freeze the leftovers. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F (or about 205 degrees C).
  2. Scrub the potatoes thoroughly and prick the potatoes with a fork. The holes will help cook the sweet potatoes evenly.
  3. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil (for easy cleanup) and place the veggies onto it. Put it into the oven.
  4. Bake the sweet potatoes for at least an hour, until they become tender. You can use a toothpick to check if the sweet potatoes were cooked thoroughly.
  5. Take the baking sheet out and let the veggies sit in room temperature until they have cooled down enough for you to touch them.
  6. (Recommended) Peel the potatoes and slice or dice them. You can certainly freeze whole sweet potatoes, but portioning, defrosting, and cooking them will be a huge pain. Sliced or diced sweet potatoes are easy to portion. Defrosting and cooking cut potatoes are also faster this way.
  7. Transfer the sweet potatoes (whole, sliced, or diced) into freezer bags. If sliced or diced, spread the veggies into a flat layer for easy storage.
  8. Label the freezer bags with name and date if needed.
  9. Put the packed veggies into the freezer.

How to Defrost Frozen Sweet Potatoes

  • Overnight in the fridge. This is the most popular method of defrosting or thawing pretty much any food. Just transfer the potatoes into the fridge the night before you need them. They will be defrosted and ready for reheating in the morning.
  • Frying pan. Reheating the sweet potatoes on a stove is great for defrosting sweet potatoes. Just transfer the veggies onto a frying pan and heat over low. After a few minutes the sweet potatoes should defrost and after a few more they should be ready to eat.
  • Throw it frozen into the meal you’re preparing. If you’re using sweet potatoes in a cooked meal, like a soup or a stew, you can toss it in frozen. Just make sure to add a few minutes to the total cooking time of that meal to account for the defrosting and warming up of the frozen veggies.
Vegetables

Can You Freeze Cauliflower?

Most veggies don’t last long in storage and cauliflower is one of them. If you end up with more cauliflower than you can use before it goes bad, that’s the time when you look for ways to preserve it.

When it comes to preserving food, freezing is the undisputed king. Almost everyone has a freezer and prepping food for freezing doesn’t require fancy equipment. Can you freeze cauliflower? Sure you can and the process is fairly simple. In this article we will go through preparing, freezing and defrosting this vegetable. Sounds interesting? Read on.

Cauliflower with other veggies

Choosing and Preparing the Cauliflower

To get great frozen cauliflower (and any other vegetable), we need to start with good produce. When buying cauliflowers, pick the best ones available. They should be free of any spots or blemishes or have only a few small ones. The florets should be firm and tight.

Once we have our veggie ready, start removing the leaves. Washing is the next step. Rinse it thoroughly under running water. If the cauliflower head is a large one, consider cutting it into smaller pieces for easier washing. Make sure water runs through all the crevices and all the dirt is removed. Similarly to broccoli, if you’re worried about bugs, soak the cauliflower in salty water for half an hour. That will kill the bugs and most of them will end up in the bottom of the bowl. After soaking, wash the vegetable.

Once cauliflower is washed, it’s time to cut it into florets. Consider how you will use the florets in the future and choose floret size that the makes most sense for that purpose. If you’re unsure, go for smaller florets. With smaller florets, cutting will take more time but they are more versatile to use and defrost. Smaller florets cook quicker too. Now that you have cauliflower florets ready, it’s time to choose the freezing method.

Preparing cauliflower

How to Freeze Blanched Cauliflower

Blanching is used for freezing many vegetables. It helps retain the veggies’ color, shape, and firmness after defrosting. You can skip this step, but the thawed cauliflower will often be discolored and mushy. Here’s the step by step process for this method of freezing:

  1. (Recommended) Blanching. To blanch, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the cauliflower in the boiling water for 2-3 minutes, depending on the floret size. If you are blanching a lot of cauliflower florets, do this in batches. Just be sure to bring the water back to boiling each time. Once the florets are done, transfer them directly into an ice bath (cold water + ice cubes) to stop the cooking process. Allow the cauliflower to sit in the ice bath for three minutes, then discard the water. Check out our article about freezing blanched broccoli to learn more about this method.
  2. Pat the cauliflower florets dry. Before you put the florets into the freezer, you should remove as much water as you can. I usually let the florets sit a in a colander for a few minutes, then transfer them onto a dish towel for half an hour. After that, I use another dish towel or a paper towel to get the remaining drops of water. Don’t be lazy with this part. If you’ll freeze wet florets, they’ll freeze in clumps with ice and that’s definitely not what you want.
  3. Portion the veggie. Consider how much cauliflower florets you will need at a time. That’s your portion for freezing. If you’re not sure, it’s better to divide the florets into many smaller portions instead of a few large ones. This way you can defrost as much as you need at a time.
  4. Transfer the cauliflower into freezer bags or containers. If using freezer bags, squeeze as much air out of the bag as possible before you seal it. Using a drinking straw to get the remaining air out of an almost sealed bag is a nice trick to help you with that.
  5. Label the bags with name and date if needed.
  6. Throw the bags or containers into the freezer.

When reheating, keep in mind that blanched cauliflower takes less time to cook than fresh ones.

How to Freeze Roasted Cauliflower

Freezing roasted cauliflower is my favorite method and the one I use for my meal prep routine. You don’t need to bother with blanching and patting the florets dry. Once you have the cauliflower cut into florets, here’s how you proceed:

  1. Preheat the oven to 430 degrees F (or 220 degrees C).
  2. Remove excess water. If there are water droplets on the florets, shake them off. No need for paper towels, as the remaining water will evaporate in the oven.
  3. Coat the veggies with you favorite spices and some olive oil. I usually go with one tablespoon of balsamic vinegar mixed with one tablespoon of olive oil. Feel free to add some salt, sweet paprika or pepper, depending on which spices you like the most. Balsamic vinegar is by no means necessary, but olive oil pretty much is. Make sure each floret is coated with olive oil and the spices. The easiest way to coat the florets is to mix the olive oil and spices in a large bowl, then add the florets to it and give it a good stir with your hands.
    Mixing cauliflower with paprika and olive oil
  4. Line up a cookie sheet with aluminum foil (for easy cleanup) and transfer the florets onto the sheet. Spread the cauliflower florets evenly so they form a single layer (i.e. no florets on top of other florets). Florets sticking to one another isn’t an issue at all.
    Cauliflower florets before roasting
  5. Put the cookie sheet into the oven once it reaches the ideal temperature and bake the florets for about 25 minutes. Before taking the sheet out of the oven, make sure the florets are cooked well by piercing a few with a fork. Leave the veggies in the oven for an additional 5 minutes if needed.
  6. Take the cookie sheet out of the oven and let it sit in room temperature until the florets cool down.
    Roasted cauliflower
  7. Transfer the florets into freezer bags, freezer containers or meal-prep containers. If you are using bags, remove as much air out before sealing it.

    Meal prep container with roasted cauliflower

    Meal prep container with roasted cauliflower and other veggies plus Hawaiian BBQ chicken

  8. Label the bags or containers if needed.
  9. Chuck the veggies into the freezer.

How to Defrost Frozen Cauliflower

You can go about defrosting cauliflower florets in a few ways:

  • Throw it directly into the meal you’re cooking. If it’s a cooked meal like a soup or a stew, you can just throw in the frozen florets. The frozen cauliflower florets will thaw as the dish cooks. Make sure to add a few minutes to the cooking time to account for defrosting and warming up of the cauliflower.
  • Defrost overnight in the fridge. This is the most popular method of defrosting frozen food in general. Just transfer the frozen florets into the fridge the night before you need it and voila, the vegetable is defrosted in the morning.
  • Use a frying pan. I routinely reheat my frozen meals on a frying pan. If you’re working with frozen food, start off on low heat until it defrosts. Once the food defrosts, there will be some water on the pan and you can turn up the heat a bit to warm it up. Defrosting and reheating on a frying pan is perfect if you’ve baked the florets. If you’ve just blanched them, you need to cook them before eating. That will take much more time and might require some oil like olive oil so the veggies won’t burn in the pan.
Vegetables

Can You Freeze Spinach?

Spinach has a relatively short shelf life, so it can be challenging to keep it fresh and available. Freezing spinach will significantly extend its shelf life so that you can always keep it stocked in your kitchen. But can you freeze spinach?

Yes, you can freeze spinach. In fact, it actually freezes quite well. Frozen spinach can be easily incorporated into a wide variety of dishes to add lots of nutritional value and very few calories.

It does make sense to freeze spinach, as this will extend its shelf life from only a week to up to 14 months. Because you need to prepare spinach prior to freezing, this means you can work efficiently by preparing large batches at once. Once you portion the spinach into individual bags in the freezer, it will be ready to use immediately whenever you’re ready to cook.

Spinach leaves

Image used under Creative Commons from Rob Bertholf

It is important to note, however, that while fresh spinach is crispy (similar to lettuce), frozen spinach will have a soggy, limp texture after it is frozen. This texture change is how spinach responds to being cooked, so it will not make a difference when incorporating your frozen spinach into dips, soups, casseroles, and other cooked or baked dishes. It also should not matter if you like to eat plain cooked spinach as a side dish.

However, frozen spinach is not suited for being consumed raw. The limp texture of frozen spinach would be very noticeably different from the crisp, leafy texture you expect from raw spinach. So if you are planning on using your spinach to make a salad or as a burger topping, you should stick to purchasing fresh spinach. Below is a step by step guide on how can you freeze spinach:

How to Freeze Spinach?

Prepping the Spinach for Blanching

Because spinach grows directly on the ground, it can be quite dirty when you purchase it. Before freezing or consuming spinach, it is important to thoroughly wash it to remove any traces of dirt. Simply dunk the spinach into a bowl of water three times, changing the water between each time. Once the spinach is clean, you can remove the stems and loosely chop the spinach, if desired.

Blanching the Spinach for Freezing

Blanching spinach helps the leaves preserve their green color and nutrients during the freezing process. It will also soften the texture of the spinach in the final cooked dish. You will notice a significant loss in volume from blanching. Typically, 10 to 12 cups of spinach will result in 1 cup of blanched spinach.

To blanch the spinach, boil it in a pot of water on the stove for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Remove the spinach using a spider or strainer and immediately place it in a bowl of ice water to halt the cooking process. Leave it in the ice water for several minutes until it is completely cool.

Remove the spinach and squeeze out as much excess water as possible with your hand. Portion the spinach into the individual servings in an airtight container with a lid or plastic zip bags. Blanched spinach will last for 9 to 14 months when kept in the freezer.

If you will be using the spinach within 6 months, you can opt to skip the blanching process to save time. However, in addition to reducing the shelf life, forgoing blanching the spinach will also degrade the texture of the spinach more significantly.

Spinach

Image used under Creative Commons from Daniella Segura

How to Thaw Frozen Spinach?

Thawing spinach is simple. If you plan your meals ahead, you can place the frozen spinach directly in the fridge about a day or two before you need it. To shorten the thawing time, you can place the bag in a bowl of warm water in your sink. The spinach should be completely thawed in an hour or two.

Another technique for thawing spinach in a hurry is to empty spinach into a mesh strainer and rinse using warm water. Use your fingers to separate any clumps. This process is incredibly quick and takes only a few minutes. Once the spinach is thawed completely, press down on it in the strainer with your hand to remove any excess water.

Summary

It’s surprising how spinach keeps so well in the freezer. Now that you know how can you freeze spinach, go ahead and buy this vegetable in bulk! There is absolutely no need to worry about wasting spinach if you keep your supply in the freezer.