Tag: vegetables

Vegetables

Can You Freeze Fresh Vegetables?

Can you freeze fresh vegetables? Nothing like eating fresh vegetables on the daily but if you have too much of your favorite greens, freezing the rest can be a great idea too. Certain types of vegetables are great for freezing; there will be minimal texture or flavor changes. Usually, fibrous, hard or dense vegetables freeze so well.

However, delicate greens and starchy vegetables are a little tricky to keep in the freezer. Still, if you want to preserve the nutritional value of your favorite vegetables, freezing is your best bet. In addition, freezing vegetables takes more than just packing and sticking the veggies in the freezer. There are certain steps you need to take to keep rot and frost away. These steps include these techniques:

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Flash Freezing the Vegetables

Flash freezing involves “shocking” or exposing the food to low temperature prior to freezing. This helps retain the freshness of the ingredients. Some vegetables tend to lose their crunchiness or fresh flavor when frozen and thawed. Through flash freezing, the vegetables won’t lose their crispiness and distinct green taste even when frozen and thawed.

To flash freeze the vegetables, place the washed and trimmed vegetables on a cookie sheet. Make sure the greens aren’t touching each other so they are easy to pull apart. Stick the cookie sheet in the freezer and let sit until frozen solid.

For larger vegetables, this should take two hours or so. For smaller vegetables, check every 30 minutes. If you are unsure if the veggies are frozen, cut a piece and see if the center is frozen.

Blanching the Vegetables

Blanching involves immersing fresh vegetables into a pot of boiling water – usually for a minute or two – then plunging the vegetables in an ice bath to stop the cooking process.

This technique is meant to prolong the freshness of the vegetables as well as add vibrancy to their natural color. Blanching helps kill the enzymes that cause the vegetables to ripen. The method helps preserve the vegetables at the peak of freshness prior to freezing.

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To blanch the washed and trimmed vegetables, simmer a pot of boiling water. While waiting for the pot of water to simmer, prepare a large bowl of iced water then set aside.

Once the pot of water is boiling, place the vegetables in the pot using a slotted spoon or a colander. Give the vegetables at least 60 seconds to blanch or until the color of the veggies becomes brighter. Then, take the vegetables out of the pot and plunge into the ice water. Once completely cooled, the veggies are ready to be packed for freezing.

Now that you know two of the best techniques for prepping veggies for freezing, let’s take a look at the step by step guide on how can you freeze fresh vegetables:

How to Freeze Fresh Vegetables?

This is a general guide on how to freeze most types of fresh vegetables.

To start, select only the young and fresh vegetables then wash them thoroughly. With a knife, trim the veggies, remove the husk, peel the vegetables or cut in desired pieces, etc. Once the vegetables are washed and trimmed, you can choose to blanch or flash freeze first prior to freezing. Please refer to the instruction above for the blanching or flash freezing guide.

Once you are done flash freezing or blanching the fresh vegetables, pat the vegetables dry with paper towels. This is an extremely important part of freezing fresh vegetables. If you don’t pat the vegetables dry prior to freezing, ice crystals will form within the veggies. This will ruin the flavor and texture of the greens once they are defrosted!

After patting the vegetables dry, you can now pack the veggies for freezing. You can either use a large airtight container or resealable plastic bags to pack the veggies. Just place the vegetables into your preferred container then seal. Write the storage date then stick in the freezer. If you’re using a resealable plastic bag, it’s best to use the quart sized ones so you can divide the vegetables into manageable portions. This will make defrosting much easier.

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Guidelines for Freezing Specific Vegetables

Freezing a certain type of vegetables? Don’t worry, we got you covered. Here are the basic guidelines on how to freeze some of the most commonly used fresh vegetables:

Asparagus

Asparagus keeps so well in the freezer because it’s quite a fibrous vegetable. Here is a complete guide on how can you freeze asparagus.

Zucchini

Just like asparagus, zucchini is a terrific vegetable for freezing because it doesn’t turn soggy or mushy once defrosted. Here is a step by step guide on how to freeze zucchini.

Carrots

Who doesn’t love carrots? Learn how to freeze carrots the right way by checking out our complete guide! Click here to get started.

Cabbage

Cabbage is a delicate vegetable so freezing it will require careful attention. Most types of green leafy vegetables are tricky to freeze so refer to this guide to get it right.

Celery

Celery is also a delicate vegetable so it’s a little tricky to freeze. But once done right, celery will keep fresh in the freezer for months. Go here for the step by step guide on how to freeze celery.

Onions

Onions are quite easy to freeze. Here is our step by step guide on how to prep and store fresh onions in the freezer.

Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts keep so well in the freezer. Check out our guide on how can you freeze Brussels sprouts here.

Butternut Squash

It’s always a great idea to stock up on butternut especially during the colder season. Here is a step by step guide on how to prepare and pack butternut squash for freezing.

Eggplants

Ever wonder how to prep eggplants for freezing? Extend the shelf life of your favorite vegetable with this simple guide on how to freeze eggplants!

Green Beans

Green beans aren’t so tricky to freeze because they are fibrous. Here is our guide on how to freeze green beans properly.

Bean Sprouts

Bean sprouts tend to lose their crispiness once frozen but our step by step guide will walk you through the proper way to freeze beans sprouts.

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How to Defrost Fresh Vegetables?

There is no need to thaw frozen fresh vegetables if they’ll be used in cooking. They will thaw as they cook. This is great news if you’re making soups and stews – just chuck the frozen vegetables, and you’re done. However, there are certain dishes that do require the frozen vegetables to be defrosted. For instance, if you are making fresh salads, stir-frys, and hors d’oeuvre made from fresh veggies, you need to defrost the vegetables first.

Generally, you want to defrost the fresh vegetable slowly. That means, you just need to transfer the frozen vegetables from the freezer to the fridge. This goes especially for delicate vegetables such as green leafy vegetables and starchy vegetables. Leave the fresh vegetables to thaw for several hours to overnight. Once the vegetables are completely thawed, use as directed by the recipe!

Summary

Vegetables come in different varieties so there is no clear-cut freezing method that applies to all vegetables. Some vegetables require more care than others because they are more sensitive to temperature changes while others are hardier.

One secret to maintaining the freshness of the vegetables even after freezing and defrosting is to keep the temperature at a steady 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Of course, packing the vegetables properly prior to freezing is also important too!

We hope that this guide on how can you freeze fresh vegetables is a great help to you. For our full list on fresh vegetable freezing guides, please go here.

Vegetables

Can You Freeze Boiled Potatoes?

Can you freeze boiled potatoes? Cooked potatoes can be frozen but there will be minor texture changes. If the potatoes have been packed poorly, they could take on a soggy, watery, or even grainy texture once thawed.

That being said, cooking the potatoes prior to freezing helps cut the prep time when you’re cooking. In addition, freezing boiled potatoes extends the shelf life of the spuds, which is great if you’ve got more potatoes than you can handle. Imagine all the baked potatoes, French fries, and croquettes that you can make in the future by freezing cooked potatoes right now.

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When kept in the fridge, boiled potatoes will keep for a week or so. But when frozen, boiled potatoes will keep fresh for 3 to 4 months. Do note that some potato variety keeps well in the freezer and some don’t. Waxy potato varieties such as white, red, and yellow potatoes are perfect for freezing. These potato varieties have low moisture content so changes in texture are kept at a minimum.

When choosing what type of potatoes to get for freezing, look for spuds that are firm, smooth and blemish-free. Avoid potatoes with a green tinge, as this is a sign of prolonged sun exposure. The green tinge is actually a toxic compound. Now let’s take a look at the step by step guide on how can you freeze boiled potatoes:

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How to Freeze Boiled Potatoes?

Preparing the Potatoes for Freezing

Start by preparing the potatoes for boiling. With a soft brush, scrub the potatoes under cool running water. Peel the potatoes with a peeler and remove the eyes and/or blemishes. You can cut the potatoes if they are too large or leave then un-cut. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a full boil then gently add the potatoes. Cook the potatoes for 5 to 6 minutes or until slightly tender. Do not boil the potatoes completely, they should remain firm. While waiting for the potatoes to cook, prepare a bowl of iced water. When the potatoes are done, scoop each one with a slotted spoon and give them an ice bath. This will stop the core heat from cooking the spuds through. After the ice bath, pat each potato dry with paper towels.

Packing and Freezing the Potatoes

On a parchment-lined baking sheet, spread the potatoes and make sure each one is cooled completely. Stick the baking sheet in the freezer for two hours or until the potatoes are frozen solid. This extra step stops the spuds from clumping together. Once the potatoes are frozen solid, get several resealable plastic bags or a large freezer-safe container. Take the potatoes out of the freezer and place them in your preferred container. Seal the container, write the storage date with a marker and then stick in the freezer.

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How to Defrost Boiled Potatoes?

When it comes to defrosting frozen whole boiled potatoes, simply transfer the container from the freezer to the fridge. Leave the potatoes to thaw for several hours to overnight. As for potatoes that were diced and sliced prior to freezing, there is no need to thaw the spuds. They can be used in cooking immediately. Since diced or sliced boiled potatoes were cut into smaller bits, they will thaw quickly as they cook.

When using thawed boiled potatoes in cooking, add them when the dish is almost done cooking. That means preparing the dish without the potatoes and adding the spuds just as you are about to wrap up. This will prevent the spuds from turning into soggy, mushy mess.

Summary

Freezing boiled potatoes is easy as long as you know what factors to keep in mind during the process. Now that you know how can you freeze boiled potatoes, there is no need to worry about what to do with your excess spuds! Just freeze the potatoes for future cooking.

Vegetables

Can You Freeze Beetroot?

Do you love beetroot? With its distinct earthy flavor, beetroot is often used in soups, sandwiches, stews, and salads. This vegetable can be used in desserts and smoothies too! But what if you have leftover beetroot? Can you freeze beetroot? Thankfully, beetroot keeps so well in the freezer.

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Fresh beetroot will keep fresh for a week in the fridge. But when frozen, this vegetable will stay fresh for 8 months or so. It’s important to keep the temperature at a steady 0 degrees Fahrenheit to maintain the quality and freshness of beetroot in the freezer.

Now the problem with freezing fresh beetroot is that the vegetable has the tendency to soften once it’s taken out of the freezer. Don’t worry, we will teach you how to freeze beetroot properly to maintain its original texture. Also, the beets are prone to “bleeding” after defrosting.

The fact is, beetroot that has softened after thawing is safe to use in cooking. Also, there is a way to keep the beets from bleeding, which we will outline below. Now, let’s take a look at how can you freeze beetroot:

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How to Freeze Beetroot?

In this guide, we will outline the ways to freeze beetroot and roasted beetroot. We don’t recommend freezing fresh beets, you have to cook the vegetable first prior to freezing for best results. Fresh, uncooked beets that have been frozen will take on an unpalatable grainy texture once defrosted.

Freezing Fresh Beetroot

To start, cut the greens from the beetroot but leave about an inch or two of the stem. Trim the long root ends and start scrubbing the vegetable with a soft brush to remove dirt. Once the vegetable is cleaned, set aside.

Get a large bowl; fill it with ice and water then set aside. Then, fill a large pot with water, add about ¼ cup of vinegar or lemon juice then bring to a boil. The lemon juice or vinegar will prevent bleeding after defrosting the beets.

Make sure the bowl filled with ice water is within a few inches from the pot so it’s accessible during blanching. Drop the beets into the boiling water gently and boil for about an hour for large beets and 25 minutes for smaller beets.

Once the beets are fork-tender, drain the vegetable and quickly immerse in ice water. This will stop the cooking process. Leave the beetroot to cool completely before trimming the root ends and removing the skin.

Once the beets are trimmed and skinned, it’s time to slice the vegetables into your desired cut. You can also forgo the cutting and start packing the vegetable whole for freezing. Place the beetroots in a freezer-safe plastic container or a resealable plastic bag. Write the label with the storage date then stick in the freezer.

Freezing Roasted or Leftover Beets

For roasted or leftover beets, get a resealable plastic bag and place the slices of vegetable inside. Give the resealable plastic bag a good squeeze to remove the air then seal. Write the storage date with a marker then stick in the freezer.

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How to Defrost Frozen Beetroot?

To defrost frozen beetroot, just transfer the container from the freezer to the fridge. Leave the vegetables to thaw for several hours to overnight. There is no need to reheat the thawed beetroot because it can be eaten as is. Reheating the beets prior to adding in cooking will only cause the vegetable to turn soggy.

Summary

Beets are such versatile vegetable. Luckily, beetroot can be frozen to extend its shelf life. Now that you know how can you freeze beetroot, you can buy this vegetable in bulk and try different recipes.

 

Vegetables

Can You Freeze Jicama?

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

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

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

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

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

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One thing to keep in mind when wondering if can you freeze jicama is the moisture level of the vegetable prior to storage.

How to Freeze Jicama?

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

Freezing Fresh Jicama

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

Freezing Cut Jicama

For cut or shredded jicamas, use an airtight rigid plastic container to store the vegetables in the freezer. Start by patting the jicamas with a clean cloth or paper towels to absorb as much moisture as possible. You want the jicamas to be dry to the touch before freezing.

Once the jicamas are dry, place them in a plastic container and close the airtight lid. Do not overfill the container so the jicamas will freeze without bruising. Get a marker to add the storage date and label before sticking in the freezer.

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How to Defrost Jicama?

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

Summary

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

Vegetables

Can You Freeze Vegetables?

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

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

How to Freeze Vegetables?

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

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!

How to Defrost Frozen Vegetables?

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

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

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Summary

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

 

Vegetables

Can You Freeze Spaghetti Squash?

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

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

The spaghetti squash is excellent at absorbing the flavor of any pasta sauce and seasonings you pair it with. That helps give it the similar flavor of a bowl of homemade pasta topped with sauce. It’s a healthier option than pasta to eat too.

Because of that, people ask if they can stock up on the squash and freeze it. No matter if it’s on sale at the grocery store, or harvested from the garden, the answer to that question is yes.

Red Curry Squash Spaghettini

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A couple of things to consider before freezing spaghetti squash. Always use firm and fresh spaghetti squash from the grocery store or from the garden. Make sure it’s washed well and cooked properly before freezing it so it holds its true flavor, texture, and color.

Never freeze cooked spaghetti squash leftovers that have been in the refrigerator for a few days. It increases your chances of receiving food poisoning when you go to defrost it and eat it. Below is our guide on how can you freeze spaghetti squash:

How to Freeze Spaghetti Squash?

Preparing the Spaghetti Squash

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

Next, slice the squash into halves and place them in a deep casserole dish with a bit of olive oil drizzled over them. After, you need to bake the squash in a 400-degree oven for about an hour or until fork tender.

Packing the Spaghetti Squash for Freezing

Then, you will remove the cooked squash from the oven and allow it to cool for about an hour. Once it is cool, you can fork it out of its skin into a bowl until you have an entire bowl full of spaghetti squash strands.

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

How to Defrost Spaghetti Squash?

The best way to defrost spaghetti squash is to take a container of it from the freezer and allow it to defrost in the refrigerator for about 12 hours. After, you can toss the spaghetti squash into a medium saucepan with your favorite pasta sauce and heat it up for about 5 minutes on medium heat.

Cooking it for longer will turn to mush and lose its spaghetti-like structure and texture. Serve it up as a delicious healthy meal that will provide your body with fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and enzymes.

Summary

Always use freshly cooked spaghetti squash for freezing purposes. Now that you know how can you freeze spaghetti squash, try this method to so you can always have it on hand!

Vegetables

Can You Freeze Jalapenos?

Can you freeze jalapenos? Freezing jalapenos to have them year round sounds really great, especially if you’re into hot and spicy Mexican and Spanish dishes, homemade salsas and mini-stuff pepper appetizers.

How to Freeze Jalapenos?

Picking them fresh during harvesting season and preserving them with the freezing method is an excellent way to make sure you have them year-round to use in all kinds of dishes. Below is a step by step guide on how can you freeze jalapenos:

Freezing Fresh Jalapenos

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

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

Jalapenos

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Freezing Canned Jalapenos

If you open up a can of jalapenos and know you are not going to use them all, you can place the leftovers into freezer containers and freeze them for up to 3 months this way.

However, you must freeze them right after you open the can and not later on in order to prevent spoilage or contamination with bacteria. It is never wise to open a can of jalapenos, use some and store the rest in the refrigerator for a day or two and then decide to freeze the rest because this will just give you food poisoning when you go to eat them up.

Freezing Store-Bought Jalapenos

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

Freezing Bottled Jalapenos

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

How to Defrost Frozen Jalapenos?

If you want to defrost your freshly-frozen jalapenos all you need to do is simply take a bag from the freezer and allow them to defrost in your refrigerator for about an hour or two. You can even place the bag of frozen peppers in a bowl of cool water for about 30 minutes to defrost.

However, if you are just using them to make baked nachos or tossing them into chilies and casserole dishes simply grab out what you need from the freezer and toss them on or into the dish frozen. The cooking process will make them tender and hot.

Canned and bottled jalapenos could be thawed the same way, just transfer the product from the freezer to the fridge. Leave the jalapenos to thaw for several hours to overnight. Once the jalapenos are thawed completely, they are ready to use.

Summary

With all that being said, again if you love fresh crisp jalapeno peppers as it is never wise to freeze them and always best too just enjoy them while they are in season.

Otherwise, harvest as much as you can while they are fresh in the summertime. Now that you know how can you freeze jalapenos, go ahead and preserve them using this method. This way, they can be enjoyed throughout the year in all kinds of tasteful dishes.

Vegetables

Can You Freeze Broccoli?

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

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

Do note that freezing broccoli will change the texture and water content it contains so you will not be able to defrost it and eat it raw. The only way you will not notice the texture change is by steaming the previously frozen broccoli up and eating it up afterward.

You can also toss it into soups, stews, pot pies, casserole dishes and still have the broccoli taste just fine. It is just not tasty raw served on a platter with vegetable dips or dressings. Below is a step by step guide on how can you freeze broccoli:

How to Freeze Broccoli?

Prepare the Broccoli

Once you have harvested fresh crisp healthy broccoli from the garden you must kill the insects on them. These are are typically tiny little green worms. You do this by filling up a large bowl with water and adding in about a teaspoon of sea salt.

Then, you place the broccoli into the salty water for a good 30 minutes to help kill the insects. The worms will eventually fall to the bottom of the salty water bowl. After, take the broccoli out of the salty water and lay it flat on a sheet of paper towel to dry off a bit.

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

can you freeze broccoli

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Blanch the Broccoli

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

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

Flash Freezing the Broccoli

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

Packing the Broccoli for Freezing

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

How to Defrost Frozen Broccoli?

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

Summary

Freezing broccoli is one way to ensure a steady supply once this vegetable is no longer in season. Now that you know how can you freeze broccoli the right way, there is no need to worry about what to do with your leftovers. Just stick the brocs in the freezer and use the veggies again and again!

 

Vegetables

Can You Freeze Squash?

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

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

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

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

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

can you freeze squash

Image used under Creative Commons from Tony Austin

Is freezing really a great method to preserve squash? Freezing is certainly beneficial for longer storage times, and many recipes call for pre-cooked squash. Winter squash can stay fresh in a cool atmosphere (about 50 degrees F) covered in newspaper in a single layer for 4 to 8 months.

Winter squash can stay fresh in a cool atmosphere (about 50 degrees F) covered in newspaper in a single layer for 4 to 8 months. However, squash is a larger item, so it may take up precious storage room that you don’t have or can’t spare for several months.

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

Zucchini is an especially popular, healthier alternative ingredient to butter or oil in muffins, brownies, and cakes. According to Wilton.com, “Cooked mashed squashes…will replace half if not all the fat in most baked desserts, and are particularly suited for muffins, quick bread, gingerbread, fruit cakes and other dense cakes.

Squash or sweet potatoes are an excellent choice if the recipe calls for cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, or cloves…! You can use 3/4 as much of the vegetable puree as the total amount of fat called for in the recipe…”

How to Freeze Squash?

Freezing Winter Squash

When steamed and cooked winter squash has cooled, it can be frozen.

Preparing the Squash

First, wash the rind, then cut the squash in half, taking out the seeds. Place the halves face-down into a shallow baking tray filled with approximately an inch of water.

Cook time is about 6 minutes in the microwave per pound of squash or 40 or 45 minutes in a 400 degree F oven.

Next, scoop out the pulp from the rind, and mash it with a fork. (Use a food processor or immersion [hand] blender to puree the squash for soups or baby food. Pour the puree directly into ice cube trays for baby food portions.)

Packing the Squash for Freezing

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

Freezing Summer Squash 

Preparing the Squash

Since summer squash or zucchini is an alternative to oil in baking, freeze it back. First, wash the zucchini and peel off the skin. Grate the zucchini flesh and blanch it.

Packing the Squash for Freezing

Transfer the grated zucchini to freezer containers or bags, but keep them open while you place them in a pan or bowl of cool or ice water. Seal containers or bags after they’ve cooled.

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

How to Defrost Frozen Squash?

To thaw, place the squash in your refrigerator until completely thawed. When thawed, summer squash is mushy, so discard any extra liquid.

Use frozen squash in baked goods or thaw it quickly by running the freezer container under hot water. Use thawed squash within 2-3 days, and refreezing is not recommended.

Summary

Although raw squash is always available, it’s nice to know that you can store your supply in the freezer and enjoy this vegetable whenever you like. Now that you know how can you freeze squash, there is no need to worry about extending the shelf life of this vegetable for future cooking.

Vegetables

Can You Freeze Kale?

Can you freeze kale? Preparing fresh kale is simple, but it can be time-consuming. What about freezing kale? Not everyone wants to deal with washing and chopping kale after a long day at work.

One solution would be to wash and chop bulk amounts ahead of time, but the kale would spoil before you could use all of it. But if you freeze the prepared kale, you can add kale to meals quickly and without much extra preparation.

Kale, like few other vegetables, freezes beautifully — but you have to deactivate enzymes in the kale before putting it in the freezer. Most vegetables have these enzymes that cause the vegetables to continue aging and rotting even if the vegetable is frozen.

If you thaw out vegetables that have been frozen raw, you’ll find they are slimy and really unappetizing. Below is the proper way on how can you freeze kale:

How to Freeze Kale?

Blanching, or quickly boiling the vegetables, for a couple of minutes before freezing deactivates the enzyme that accelerates spoiling in green leafy vegetables.

However, cooking for too long, though, will cook the kale into a mushy mess that doesn’t freeze that well. So it’s crucial that you do the blanching properly.

can you freeze kale

Image used under Creative Commons from Mervi Eskelinen

Luckily, blanching is easy to master. Have everything ready to go before you start the blanching process, and definitely use a timer. Set aside a couple of hours for this; eventually you’ll get so much better that freezing kale won’t take you that long.

Preparing the Kale

When you’re starting out, though, leave yourself a buffer zone and don’t attempt blanching before any big appointments, lest you run late.

Wash the kale well; dunk it in water and ensure all dirt and any bugs wash off. Dry the kale completely — this is important because you don’t want excess water to freeze as chunks of ice on the kale. Cut out the stiff central stem and slice up the leaves and set aside.

Blanching the Kale

Start the water boiling in the stockpot and add the insert. The bottom of the insert should be below the surface of the water. Dunk as much kale as you can into the insert — all the kale should be submerged.

Start the timer and set it for two minutes. When the two minutes are up, remove the basket insert that’s holding the kale and place it in the ice water. Again, all the kale should be submerged. Remember that overcooking the kale results in mushy kale, so don’t estimate the time. Use a timer.

Freezing the Kale

Repeat all that until you’ve blanched all the kale. Dry all the kale and spread chunks of it out on a large tray. Put the tray in the freezer for about half an hour or so.

What you’re doing is freezing the kale just enough so that the pieces won’t smash down into a heap when the kale is stored. Place the semi-frozen kale in a freezer bag.

How to Defrost Frozen Kale?

Defrosting frozen kale is easy, just take out what you need when you start preparing your meal so that the kale has a little time to melt. Then add the kale to soups or stir-fries as appropriate. You might not want to eat the thawed kale without further cooking because the texture could seem a little weird. But it will taste wonderful in cooked dishes.

Technically, frozen kale will be good for however long you keep it in the freezer. However, after a couple of months or so, freezer burn might start to take its toll. Try to use the frozen kale within those couple of months. See how the quality changes over time; you might find that in future batches, you can store the kale for a longer time without a change in quality.

Summary

Freezing kale is a great way to maximize an otherwise delicate vegetable with a short shelf life. Now that you know how can you freeze kale properly, there is no reason why you shouldn’t buy in bulk. Just stick the vegetable in the freezer and you can enjoy this nutritious vegetable anytime you want.