Tag: vegetable

Vegetables

Can You Freeze Swiss Chard?

Can you freeze Swiss chard? Freezing any type of greens is tricky because they could wilt or turn brown after thawing. Since Swiss chard is only available during the summer season, it makes sense to buy this vegetable in bulk then freeze them for later use.

The good news is, Swiss chard is a hardy green, which makes it suitable for freezing. Of course, you have to prep the greens well prior to freezing to extend its original color and flavor. When prepping the Swiss chard for freezing, you can either blanch the greens or flash-freeze them.

Preparing the Swiss Chard Prior to Freezing

Start by picking the greenest bunches of Swiss chard on your local supermarket (or garden!). Then, wash the Swiss chard in running water, making sure to remove any dirt or debris you find. After rinsing the Swiss chard clean, cut the base of the stem with a sharp knife. Separate the stems from the leaves as you cut because it’s best to freeze these separately. After cutting the Swiss chard to size, you can start prepping it for blanching or flash freezing.

Image used under Creative Commons from Dora_VA

How to Freeze Swiss Chard?

Blanching the Swiss Chard for Freezing

Prepare a pot of water and bring it to a boil on high. Then, prepare a large bowl of ice water nearby. Place the Swiss chard in a colander then submerge the colander into the boiling water. Leave the green to blanch for 30 seconds or until they turn a bright green. Never cook the Swiss chard all the way through or the greens will turn to mush once they have been thawed. Give the blanched Swiss chard an ice bath to stop the cooking process. After blanching, you are ready to pack the Swiss chard for freezing.

To pack the Swiss chard for freezing, shake off the excess water and pat the greens dry with paper towel. Prepare two small resealable plastic bags, one for the Swiss chard stems and the other for the chopped leaves. Place the Swiss chard stems and leaves in their rightful container than squeeze out the excess air before sealing. Write the storage date then stick flat in the freezer.

Image used under Creative Commons from F Delventhal

Flash Freezing the Swiss Chard for Freezing

To flash freeze the chopped Swiss chard, prepare a large bowl of ice water. Wait until the water is extremely cold or near-freezing. Submerge the Swiss chard into the ice water and let sit for at least 15 minutes. Prepare a wax paper-lined baking pan and drain the Swiss chard. Pat them dry with paper towel and separate the stems from the leaves. Lay the greens on the baking pan and place the Swiss chard in the freezer. Leave the greens to freeze for at least 1 hour. While waiting for the Swiss chard to freeze, prepare two resealable plastic bags, one for the stems and another for the leaves.

Take the baking pan out of the freezer and start packing the greens for long-term freezing. Place the Swiss chard stems and leaves in their rightful container than squeeze out the excess air before sealing. Write the storage date then stick flat in the freezer.

Shelf Life, Thawing, and Cooking Suggestions

When kept in the freezer, Swiss chard will keep for up to 6 months. It can last in the freezer for 12 months or a year when the temperature is kept at a steady 0 degrees Fahrenheit. However, we recommend consuming your supply in a month or less for optimal flavor and texture. Thawing the Swiss chard, or any type of frozen greens for that matter should be done slowly. Just take a pack of frozen Swiss chard out of the freezer and leave it to defrost overnight in the fridge.

If you are using the greens for stir-fry’s or stews, thawing is not needed at all. Just add the frozen Swiss chard directly into the dish you are cooking. The heat from the stove will thaw the greens while cooking them thoroughly at the same time.

Summary

Can you freeze Swiss chard? You might think that greens such as Swiss chard are hard to freeze but you’d be surprised how well this vegetable freezes. The key to successful freezing is proper prep. Make sure the greens are not cooked all the way through during blanching so they won’t turn mushy or slimy once they are defrosted! Just keep all these storage tips in mind so you can freeze and thaw Swiss chard properly.

Fruit

Can You Freeze Green Tomatoes?

Can you freeze green tomatoes? Summer is just around the corner and that means enjoying the abundance of green tomatoes. Green tomatoes may not be as popular as red tomatoes but they are just as tasty and nutritious! They’re tart and much firmer than red tomatoes because green tomatoes aren’t fully ripe yet. But since they are firmer, green tomatoes are perfect for frying. They are able to hold their shape well so yes, green tomatoes freeze well too!

Choosing the Tomatoes for Freezing

Start by selecting all the blemish-free green tomatoes you can find in the supermarket. These are best for freezing. Avoid oddly soft, bruised, and undamaged tomatoes. Wash the tomatoes under running water, removing the stems and any debris that might’ve settled on the core of the fruit. Core and slice the tomatoes into equal sizes (diced, sliced, or halved) using a sharp knife then remove the seeds.  Once the tomatoes are cleaned and sliced, you are ready to pack the tomatoes for freezing.

Image used under Creative Commons from Pauline Mak

How to Freeze Green Tomatoes?

Freezing Cut Green Tomatoes

Prepare a baking tray lined with wax paper then lay the cut tomatoes on the tray in an even layer. Make sure none of the tomato bits are touching each other. If there’s excess moisture, pat the cut tomatoes with a paper towel so the fruit won’t stick to the baking tray. Stick the baking tray in the freezer and leave to freeze for 2 hours.

Once the cut tomatoes are frozen stiff, take the baking tray out of the freezer and prepare several resealable plastic bags. Carefully lift the cut tomatoes from the tray and place them in the resealable plastic bag. Squeeze out the excess air then seal. Write the storage date them stick the bag in the freezer. Store flat to save space in the freezer.

Freezing Whole Green Tomatoes

You can also freeze the green tomatoes whole. Just prep the tomatoes as you normally would then plunge them in boiling water for 30 seconds. Give them an ice bath immediately. The changing temperature makes it much easier to remove the skins. Peel off the skin then set aside.

Prepare a baking tray lined with wax paper. Place the skinned whole green tomatoes on the baking tray, making sure none of them are touching each other. If there’s excess moisture, pat the tomatoes dry with a paper towel so the fruit won’t stick to the baking tray. Stick the baking tray in the freezer and leave to freeze for 2 hours.

Image used under Creative Commons from Ed Seymour

After two hours, take the baking tray from the freezer and prepare a heavy-duty freezer-safe resealable plastic bag. Carefully lift the frozen tomatoes from the baking tray and place them in the resealable bag. Squeeze out the excess air then seal. Write the storage date them stick the bag in the freezer.

Freezing Green Tomato Puree

Yes, it’s possible to store tomato puree in the freezer too! Just prep the tomatoes as you normally would then cut them into quarters. Process the tomatoes using a food processor and pour the puree into a rigid, airtight container. Do not fill the container to the brim, leave about 2 inches of space for the puree to expand as it freezer. Cover the container with cling wrap then secure it with the airtight lid. Write the storage date then stick in the freezer.

3 Ways of Preserving Green Tomatoes for the Winter

Shelf Life, Thawing, and Reheating Suggestions

Frozen green tomatoes will keep for 10 to 12 months in the freezer. But for optimal flavor, we recommend consuming your supply immediately. Do not refreeze any leftovers.

Thawing the frozen green tomatoes is easy; just transfer the tomatoes in the fridge and leave to defrost overnight. If you are in a hurry, you can leave the frozen tomatoes to thaw for a few hours at room temperature. Once the tomatoes are completely thawed, you can now add them to your favorite recipes.

If you are frying the green tomatoes, there is no need to defrost the fruits at all. Just drop the frozen tomatoes on the frying pan gently. The tomatoes will turn to mush when it’s defrosted before frying.

Summary

Can you freeze green tomatoes? Tomatoes do not keep well in the freezer but since green tomatoes have a firmer texture, they will hold up better than red tomatoes! Freezing is a terrific way to make the most out of green tomatoes, which are quite abundant during the summer season.

Dish

Can You Freeze Lentil Soup?

Lentil soup can be enjoyed as a snack, a starter, or as a light meal. This protein-packed soup is not just healthy and delicious, it is also easy to make! But what if you have leftovers, can you freeze lentil soup? The quick answer is yes, you can freeze lentil soup. And we’re not just talking about leftovers, you can make lentil soup ahead of time, freeze it, and serve it later! Do note, however, that freezing the lentil soup may cause slight changes in flavor or consistency.

How to Freeze Lentil Soup?

These freezing instructions will work for leftover and freshly cooked lentil soup! Before freezing the soup, make sure the soup has cooled off completely first. Once the soup has cooled off, chill it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Once the soup is chilled, take it out of the fridge and prepare several small resealable plastic bags. Smaller containers are better than a large resealable plastic bag because defrosting and reheating the soup is much easier.

Image used under Creative Commons from Meal Makeover Moms

Ladle the soup into your preferred container carefully, filling the container only halfway through. Squeeze out as much air as you can before sealing the plastic baggies. Write the storage date then store flat in the freezer.

Another way to freeze leftover lentil soup involves using several ice cube trays and a large plastic bag. After the soup has cooled completely, ladle the soup into the ice cube trays until all slots are filled. Stick in the freezer and leave the cubed soup to freeze for at least two hours. Then, take out the ice cube tray from the freezer and gently remove the cubed soup one by one. Place them in a large resealable plastic bag. Squeeze out as much air as you can before sealing the plastic bag. Write the storage date then store flat in the freezer.

Freezer-Friendly Lentil Soup Recipe

3 Mistakes to Avoid When Freezing Lentil Soup

Hastily Preparing the Soup for Freezing

It is important to wait for the soup to cool down completely before freezing it. Putting warm or hot items in the freezer causes a significant temperature shift. When this happens, the temperature of the freezer lowers, increasing the risk of spoilage. And we are not just talking about the soup going bad but the other foods that you store in the freezer. Significant temperature shifts increase the risk for food safety too. Some culinary experts also believe that the frozen lentil soup’s shelf life becomes much shorter and it will be much easier to spoil once reheated if it hasn’t been left to cool down completely prior to freezing.

If say, you are pressed for time and you need to cool the soup down quickly, give the cooking pot an ice bath. Stir the soup every few minutes while you’re at it to speed up the cooling process even more.

Over-Filling or Under-Filling the Container

Never fill the container with lentil soup to the brim! Any type of liquid product expands as it freezes. If you fill a container with soup to the brim, the container will either burst or break. This goes especially if you used a flimsy container.

But if you think under-filling the container with soup is a better idea, it isn’t. Under-filling the container increases the risk of freezer burn. Ideally, you need to leave about an inch of space when filling the container with lentil soup. This way, the soup has enough room to expand but the air exposure is also minimal, which decreases the risk of freezer burns.

Image used under Creative Commons from Tasha

Overcooking the Lentil

Love chunky lentil soup? Who doesn’t? But if you know that you are freezing the soup before making it, do not cook the lentil all the way through. Doing so could cause the soup to turn excessively mushy once it’s been defrosted and reheated. If you are making the soup in advance and you have plans to freeze the entire batch, try undercooking the lentil.

On the other hand, if you are making a huge pot of lentil soup with plans of freezing the leftovers, divide the batch into two. Serve half of the batch now and freeze the other half for later.

Shelf Life, Thawing, and Reheating Suggestions

When frozen, lentil soup will keep for six months in the freezer. However, do not wait this long before consuming the soup. The longer the soup is kept in the freezer, the higher the likelihood of flavor and texture changes. It is also worth noting that the consistency of thawed lentil soup will depend on the type of lentil you used. Green lentils, for instance, holds up well when frozen and thawed. You won’t get the same results with brown lentils because they hold more water.

To thaw the frozen lentil soup, take the container from the freezer and transfer it to the fridge. Leave the soup to thaw overnight. Once you’re ready to prep, pour the thawed soup into a saucepan and simmer over low heat for a few minutes or until piping hot. If the consistency of the soup is creamier before freezing, try adding a little broth or water to thin it out. Do not leave leftovers, never refreeze the defrosted soup because it will no longer keep well.

Summary

Who doesn’t love a bowl of lentil soup on a chilly night? It’s wholesome, heartwarming and oh so delicious! Can you freeze lentil soup? You can, with some prep of course! Just keep these storage tips in mind to extend the shelf life of this childhood favorite.

Vegetables

Can You Freeze Bok Choy?

Bok choy adds a delicious crunch and a healthy dose of nutrients to stews, stir-fry, and soups! But if you have leftover boy choy, how do you store it without turning this vegetable to mush? Can you freeze Bok choy?

The problem with storing Bok choy is that the vegetable tends to wilt as soon as it is kept in the fridge. However, blanching Bok choy, or most green, leafy vegetables for that matter, helps retain the original texture of the product. There will be minor texture changes but only because the water content of the vegetable has crystallized and thawed after freezing. Flash freezing the vegetable is another great way of preserving Bok choy!

How to Freeze Bok Choy?

Start by choosing the freshest, greenest bok choy you can find in the market. Avoid bruised or yellowing bunches of bok choy. Wash the vegetable under running water to remove any dirt or debris. If the Bok choy has not been trimmed yet, cut the ends of the stems using a sharp knife. For large bunches of bok choy, cut the tough white base near the leaf base. Cut the Bok choy to size and set aside. Now you’re ready to prep the vegetable for freezing.

Image used under Creative Commons from The Marmot

Blanching and Freezing Fresh Bok Choy

This process involves boiling the bok choy for several minutes then submerging the vegetable in an ice bath. The ice bath will lock in the flavor and color of the vegetable while also stopping the cooking process.

Boil a pot of water over medium-high heat. Place the bok choy in a steamer basket or a colander then submerge the basket in the pot. Blanch the bok choy for 3 minutes or until the leaves turn a vivid green. After 3 minutes, remove the basket from the pot and submerge it into ice water until completely cool.

Shake the excess moisture out of the leave then pat the bok choy dry with paper towel. Place the vegetable in a resealable plastic bag, leaving about an inch of space before sealing. Remove the excess air then seal the plastic bag. Write the storage date then stick in the freezer.

Flash Freezing Fresh Bok Choy

This process involves pre-freezing the prepared bok choy before freezing the vegetable for long-term to extend its shelf life.

Prepare the vegetable as you normally would (refer to our prep instruction above), making sure to pat the bok choy completely dry before flash freezing. Get a baking sheet and line it with wax paper. Place the bok choy leaves on the baking sheet in a single layer. Make sure none of the leaves are touching each other. Stick the baking sheet in the freezer and freeze for at least 2 hours.

After a couple of hours, take the baking sheet out of the freezer. Place the bok choy leaves in a resealable plastic bag, leaving about an inch of space. Press the plastic bag to remove excess air then seal. Write the storage date then stick in the freezer.

Image used under Creative Commons from Philippe Put

Freezing Cooked Bok Choy

If you have leftover bok choy (steamed, stuffed, stir-fried, etc.), you can still freeze it for later. Just place the bok choy in a rigid plastic container with an airtight lid. If the cooked bok choy comes with sauces or other trimmings, you might have to freeze those separately. Close the container with the airtight lid, write the storage date then stick in the freezer.

Shelf Life and Thawing Suggestions

When stored in the freezer, bok choy will keep for 4 to 6 months, maybe longer if the temperature is kept at a steady 0 degree Fahrenheit. There is no need to thaw the bok choy when used in cooking. Just add the bok choy directly into the dish you’re cooking and it will defrost quickly. But if you’d like to thaw the vegetable still, you can. Just do it quickly. Submerge the frozen bok choy in a bowl of tap water for a couple of hours and it’ll be ready for your recipe.

Summary

Can you freeze bok choy? Bok choy is not available all year round so it’s great that you can freeze this vegetable for later! Do note, however, that bok choy is quite delicate so proper prep is a must to retain its naturally crunchy texture.

Vegetables

Can You Freeze Cooked Cabbage?

Cabbage is a nutritious, delicious vegetable that keeps so well in the fridge. But what about keeping cooked cabbage in the freezer? Can you freeze cooked cabbage? Freezing is not recommended for storing any type of fresh leafy vegetable. Cabbage, in particular, is quite delicate because it is mostly made up of fibrous membranes with high water content. Freezing this vegetable raw could alter its texture.

The good news is, it is possible to freeze cabbage with little to no flavor or texture changes as long as it is cooked. Or at the very least, blanched. Cooking the cabbage makes the vegetable resistant to freezing temperatures.

Different Types of Cabbages

There are different types of cabbages, some freeze better than others:

Green Cabbage

Green cabbage is the most popular type of cabbage and is best used in cooking. It is used in a variety of cooking including stir-frys and slaws.

Red Cabbage

Red cabbage has a deep red to almost violet hue. This type of cabbage is just as popular as green cabbage but is best utilized in slaws and raw salads.

Savoy Cabbage

Savoy cabbage has a distinctive wrinkled or patterned leaves and a medium to light green hue. It is often used for cooking. Savoy cabbage is a seasonal vegetable so it is not always readily available. This cabbage is perfect for stir-frys and soups.

Bok Choy

A mainstay in Chinese cooking, bok choy is distinct for its fleshy stems and deep green leaves. Since bok choy is quite hardy and fibrous, it should be steamed first before adding to any recipe.

Image used under Creative Commons from Marco Verch

Picking the Perfect Cabbage for Cooking and Freezing

The quality of the cabbages prior to cooking does affect its shelf life after the product has been frozen and defrosted. That’s why it is important to choose the freshest produce for freezing. Choose cabbages with dense, solid heads. The leaves should be fresh and green. Avoid cabbages with wilted or yellowing leaves or browned edges.

For store-bought cabbages, check the label to gauge the freshness. Usually, the cabbages are harvested at the peak of ripeness and stored in warehouses for several days before being sold at your local supermarket. If you want the freshest produce possible, buy cabbages from your local farmer’s market. Ask the vendors when the heads were picked to check for freshness. If you are harvesting cabbages from your own garden, do it during the early morning before the day gets too hot. Wait until closer to frost before harvesting the cabbages for optimal freshness.

Prepping the Cabbages for Blanching

Blanching is the perfect way to prep any type of vegetable prior to freezing because it locks in the nutrients and enhances the natural color of the produce. But you have to be careful when blanching delicate veggies because you might overcook them.

To prep the cabbage for blanching, wash the heads thoroughly. Remove aphids, beetles, caterpillars and other critters that are hiding under the leaves. Soak the cabbages in a salt and water solution for half an hour just to make sure the cabbages are free of bugs. After soaking the cabbage, rinse well with plain water.

Peel off any yellowing leaves then cut the cabbage in quarters using a sharp knife. Do not remove the core because it will hold the leaves during blanching. Pat the cut cabbage heads with paper towels. It is now ready for cooking or blanching.

To blanch the cabbage, fill a large stockpot with water then bring the water to a boil over high heat. Once the water reaches a rolling boil, add the quartered cabbage heads using a colander. Blanch the vegetable for one and a half minutes.

After blanching, you have to give the vegetable an ice bath. This will stop the cooking process while locking in the color of the produce. Using the colander, collect the quartered cabbage heads and submerge in iced water. When the cabbage has cooled completely, take it out of the ice bath and shake off the excess water.

Image used under Creative Commons from Philippe Put

How to Freeze Cooked Cabbage?

Be sure to pat the blanched cabbage dry prior to packing to prevent freezer burns. Place the blanched cabbage on a cookie sheet then stick in the freezer to flash freeze. Leave the vegetable to freeze for an hour or two. Once the cabbage is frozen, transfer the vegetable to freezer-friendly plastic bags. Squeeze out the excess air, seal the bag then write the storage date. Place the cabbage in the freezer and you’re done.

Freezing Cabbage Rolls

Got leftover cabbage rolls? Since the cabbage has been cooked thoroughly prior to making the rolls, you have to prep the dish for freezing. Otherwise, the cabbage rolls will turn into a soggy, soupy mess! If you’re making the rolls from scratch and you are anticipating a lot of leftovers, try freezing the filling and the cabbage separately. This way, the sauce won’t make the vegetable soggy.

On the other hand, if you are freezing leftover cabbage rolls, you want to freeze the dish slowly. Start by chilling the leftovers in the fridge for several hours to overnight. Place the dish in a freezer-friendly container beforehand so you don’t have to transfer the rolls once you’re ready to freeze. When the rolls are nice and chilled, transfer the container to the freezer.

Freezing Fried Cabbage with Bacon

This is another popular cabbage-based dish that’s a cinch to prepare and freeze for later!

Simply prepare the dish as you normally would then leave it to cool completely. Do not cook the cabbage all the way through for minimal texture changes after defrosting. Once the dish has cooled completely, spoon it into several resealable plastic bags. Squeeze out the excess air then seal. Write the storage date then stick in the freezer.

Freezing Cabbage Soup

Yes, it’s quite possible to freeze cabbage soup for later enjoyment. Just make sure the soup has cooled completely when preparing it for freezing.

If you have a lot of leftovers in your hand, prepare several rigid plastic containers with an airtight lid. Using a ladle, transfer the soup into the containers but do not fill the containers completely. The liquid will expand as it freezes so leave about an inch or two of space when prepping the soup for freezing.

Once you’re done, close the lid, make sure it is sealed completely then write the storage date. Stick in the freezer and you’re done.

Image used under Creative Commons from ripplestone garden

Shelf Life, Thawing and Reheating Suggestions

When kept in the freezer, cooked cabbage will keep to about a year or more especially if the freezing temperature is kept at a steady 0 degrees.

Thawing cooked cabbage – or any type of frozen vegetable for that matter – has to be slow. Never thaw the cooked cabbage or dish at room temperature because this will affect the texture and flavor of the vegetable. Simply place the frozen vegetable in the fridge to thaw overnight.

Once the cooked cabbage has been thawed completely, you can start reheating the dish in the microwave or on the stove.

Summary

Can you freeze cooked cabbage? Of course, you can! As long as you prepped the vegetable properly prior to freezing, you can extend the shelf life of the cooked vegetable.

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

Image used under Creative Commons from Forest and Kim Starr

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 Radishes?

If you have ever thought about freezing radishes and are eager to learn about the process and when it makes sense to freeze radishes, read on!

Ah…the indelible radish! Raphanus sativas, the common red radish, has a bright future. A known food staple since before the 3rd Century B.C., it was probably first domesticated in China or India, though recorded European history traces it back to the Romans. Today the radish enjoys world-wide popularity, and has found its way into myriad dishes and recipes. So, can you freeze radishes?

Yes, of course you can. But, would you want to? High in folic acid (folates), calcium, potassium, rich with vitamins–especially vitamin C–and high in fiber, radishes are best when eaten fresh. But you can store them in several ways, including freezing. Below is a step by step guide on how can you freeze radishes:

How to Freeze Radishes?

Because radishes can be planted in the Fall, or up to four weeks before the last frost in the Spring, and the fact that they mature within three weeks, you could end up with more radishes than you can use.

Radishes can be kept in dry storage, refrigerated for a couple weeks, or frozen. But freezing them, especially when done carelessly, can ruin taste and texture. They should be blanched first. Blanching preserves color and freshness by slowing the ripening process.

Preparing the Radishes

Cleaning should be easy if the radishes are store-bought. Always choose firm, well-formed radishes–these will be crisp. But if they’re fresh out of the garden, a little more preparation is prudent.

Under cold, running water, remove dirt and the greens (save these, as radish greens are yummy when cooked), and trim the ends. Do not peel! The skin helps protect the white flesh and texture.

Blanching the Radishes

Cut radishes into smaller pieces. They are water-lovers and retain high amounts of moisture. If they are frozen whole, the skin will split, causing loss of texture quality. Boiling the cut pieces for two to three minutes helps to lesson this effect, as it slows down enzymatic reactions.

After boiling, immerse in icy cold water. Drain thoroughly. Use a quality freezer bag for storage – avoid excess moisture and air.

It should be noted that radishes will lose their original taste and texture once they’ve been frozen, and won’t be quite the same as fresh. But they are just fine for dishes that involve cooking them. Blanching will help preserve their flavor much better than if you just tossed them in the freezer.

How to Defrost Frozen Radishes?

To thaw, just run under cold water. It should not take very long to thaw completely. Once they are sort of squishy, and you no longer see ice crystals in them, they are safe to cook.

Bunch of radishes

Image used under Creative Commons from Ashleigh Bennett

While freezing radishes is certainly a viable option for long time storage, they will never taste as good as they do when eaten fresh. However, if you want to save them for future dishes you plan on cooking, then freezing them is okay. The taste won’t be quite as potent, but you’ll still know you’re eating a radish when you bite into a slice.

Often overlooked as a health food, the radish is a powerful antioxidant that fights the free radicals that lead to poor health.

Summary

Freezing might not be an ideal method of preserving radishes (because fresh is always better) but it’s better than wasting good radishes. Now that you know how can you freeze radishes, prepare lots of them in the freezer for future cooking! They taste great, they’re good for you, and they’ll put some zing into your day.

DairyVegetables

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.