Tag: vegetables

Vegetables

Can You Freeze Sweet Banana Peppers?

Sweet banana peppers are known for their distinctive bright yellow color, mildly tangy flavor, and banana-like shape. This sweet pepper variety is often served stuffed, added in cooking or pickled. Since it’s abundant in the summer season, sweet banana peppers are often bought in bulk. So what if you bought more sweet banana peppers than you can handle? Can you freeze sweet banana peppers?

Sweet banana peppers freeze wonderfully as long they are prepared the right way. Do note that frozen sweet banana peppers should be strictly used in cooking. The thawed peppers could retain their natural flavors although they will lose their texture.

can you freeze sweet banana peppers

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These types of sweet peppers have a high water content. Freezing the peppers causes the water particles to crystallize. This triggers the contraction of the cell, which causes the peppers to develop a soggy texture. This means once frozen, you cannot serve the sweet banana peppers stuffed or added fresh to sandwiches, garnishes, and hors-d’oeuvres.

How to Freeze Sweet Banana Peppers?

Freezing Fresh Sweet Banana Peppers

Start by choosing the ripest, freshest sweet banana peppers and then rinsing them well under running water. Using a sharp knife, cut each stem off and slice the sweet peppers open. Shake the seeds out and chop the peppers to your desired size.

If you’re using the peppers strictly for cooking, you can remove the skin too. Leaving the skins on helps retain the peppers’ crisp texture.

Now, get a baking sheet and line it with wax paper. Spread the cut sweet peppers on the wax pepper and stick the baking sheet in the freezer. The pepper pieces should not touch each other. Leave the sweet peppers to freeze for several hours to overnight.

Once the sweet peppers are frozen solid, take the baking sheet out of the freezer. Prepare several heavy-duty resealable plastic bags. Place the cut peppers into the plastic bag and remove as much air as possible prior to sealing. Seal the plastic bag, write the storage date then stick in the freezer.

Freezing Cooked Sweet Banana Peppers

Assuming that the sweet peppers have been stuffed, char-grilled, or roasted prior to freezing, leave the cooked peppers to cool completely. Once the sweet banana peppers have cooled completely, place them in an airtight rigid plastic container. Cover the container with cling wrap prior to sealing. Seal the container, write the storage date, then stick in the freezer.

Other Ways of Preserving Sweet Banana Peppers

Apart from freezing, you can also preserve the sweet banana peppers through canning, pickling, drying.

Canning Sweet Banana Peppers

Prepare the sweet peppers by cutting off the stems and shaking out the seeds. Cut the peppers to your desired sizes. Prepare a lined baking sheet and place the sweet peppers in a single layer. Bake the peppers at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 6 minutes or until the skin begins to blister. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and give them an ice bath. The skin should peel off easily at this point.

Sterilize several canning jars by boiling them in water for at least 3 minutes. Then, place the chili peppers in the canning jar, along with about ¼ teaspoon of salt. Fill the canning jar with hot water, leaving about an inch of space. Close the jar with the lid and secure with a lid ring. Set the jar in the pressure canner and set the pressure canner accordingly.

Pickling Banana Sweet Peppers

Make a brine by stirring 3 tablespoons of salt and 2 tablespoons of sugar in a cup of white vinegar. Pour the solution into a pot and simmer over medium heat until the ingredients dissolved completely. Leave the brine to cool.

Prepare the sweet peppers by cutting off the stems and shaking out the seeds. Cut the peppers to your desired sizes. Place the sweet peppers into canning jars. Add your favorite spices then pour the brine until the peppers are covered with the liquid. Close the lid and store in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

can you freeze sweet banana peppers

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Drying Banana Sweet Peppers

Dehydrating or drying the banana sweet peppers is a terrific way to preserve the vegetable while enhancing their natural flavors. Prepare the sweet peppers by cutting off the stems and shaking out the seeds. Cut the peppers to your desired sizes.

There are many ways of drying the sweet peppers, you can either air-dry or oven-dry the peppers as well as use a food dehydrator.

Air-Drying: This is the simplest and easiest way to dry any type of vegetables. Just spread the cut pepper on a flat container. Set the container somewhere that gets a lot of airflow and sunshine. Depending on the humidity in the air, it could take 2 to 4 weeks to dry the sweet peppers fully.

Oven-Drying: Set the prepped peppers on a lined baking sheet in a single layer. Place the peppers in the oven and bake at 150 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 to 2 hours or until fully dried. Leave the oven door open slightly to allow the moisture to dissipate. Check the sweet peppers every 30 minutes and rotate the pepper pieces for even drying.

Once the sweet peppers are dry, you can pack them in a resealable plastic container. To rehydrate the peppers, submerge them in water.

Shelf Life and Thawing Suggestions

When kept in the freezer, fresh sweet banana peppers will keep for 6 months to 12 months. This goes especially if the temperature is kept at a steady 0 degrees Fahrenheit. For cooked banana sweet peppers, the shelf life is much shorter, about 4 to 6 months. Frozen sweet banana peppers should be consumed as soon as possible for optimal flavor.

To thaw frozen and cooked sweet banana peppers, just transfer the container to the fridge. Leave the peppers to thaw for several hours to overnight. For frozen raw sweet banana peppers, you can add the peppers directly to the dish you’re cooking.

Summary

Can you freeze sweet banana peppers? Sweet banana peppers may be tricky to store but they do freeze wonderfully when prepared properly! Just keep these storage tips in mind to extend the shelf life of sweet banana peppers.

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 Leeks?

Can you freeze leeks? Leeks are available all year round but if you bought this vegetable in bulk, you have to store the rest for later recipes. We do not recommend freezing leeks because this vegetable has a high water content but it can be done to avoid waste. This method can be used to store an excess supply of leeks although the greens could turn soggy once they’ve been defrosted.

Should You Freeze Leeks?

The freezing temperature could affect the texture of the leeks. This vegetable tends to secrete a clear, goopy liquid when cut, which is something to keep in mind if you are preparing this vegetable for freezing. If say, the texture is important to the dish, there is no way to restore leeks’ crunchy texture once they’ve been frozen. On the other hand, if you are freezing leeks for cooking, then the texture of the vegetable is not that important. When cooked, the consistency of frozen and fresh leeks is similar.

How to Freeze Leeks?

Choosing and Prepping the Leeks

Freezing will affect the overall quality of the vegetable so it makes sense to choose the best leeks you can get your hands on. Choose leeks with a vibrant color, firm stalks, and crisp, bruise-free leaves. The stalks of the leeks must be pliant yet firm, the bulb should be white. Avoid leeks that have browning ends or those that are wilting or yellowing.

Washing and drying leeks

After choosing the highest quality leeks you can find at your local supermarket, rinse the greens well with running water. Clean the stalks thoroughly and remove dirt and debris that are stuck in between the leaves.

Cutting leeks

After rinsing and cleaning the leeks, pat the vegetable dry with paper towel and cut the leeks to size. You can either slice the leeks into equal sizes or roughly chop them before freezing. Since the leeks will turn soggy once frozen and defrosted, cutting the greens when they’re still fresh is best.  After cutting the leeks to size, you are ready to pack the vegetable for freezing.

Flash Freezing the Leeks for Freezing

Flash freezing helps retain the nutrient value and aroma of the leeks. To prep the leeks for flash freezing, line a baking sheet with wax paper or aluminum foil.

Flash freezing leeks

Lay the leeks in a single layer, making sure none of the vegetable bits are touching each other. Stick the baking pan in the freezer and leave the leeks to freeze for about an hour or two.

Leeks transferred to freezer bag

While waiting for the leeks to freeze, prepare a freezer-safe, resealable plastic bag.

Leeks in sealed freezer bag

After an hour or two, take the leeks out of the freezer and place the frozen leeks into the resealable plastic bag.

Leeks go into freezer

Squeeze out as much air as you can before sealing. Write the storage date then store flat in the freezer.

Direct Freezing

If you want a fuss-free way to freeze leeks, you can simply freeze this vegetable directly. Just cut the leeks into the desired size then prepare a freezer-safe, resealable plastic bag.

Leeks in freezer bag

Place the cut leeks into the plastic bag then squeeze out as much air as you can before sealing. Write the storage date then store flat in the freezer. This method is best for short-term storage only.

Leeks in freezer

Blanching the Leeks for Freezing

Blanching the leaves is a great way to preserve the color of the leeks. This step is optional, though recommended.

Blanching leeks

Prepare a pot of boiling water and a bowl of ice water. Using a colander, submerge the cut leeks into the boiling water and blanch the greens for 1 to 2 minutes.

Drying leeks on paper towel

Once the leeks turn a bright green, take them out of the water and submerge them in ice water. Once chilled, lay the blanched leeks on a paper towel then pat dry. Prepare a resealable plastic bag for freezing.

Place the cut leeks into the plastic bag then squeeze out as much air as you can before sealing. Write the storage date then store flat in the freezer.

Shelf Life, Thawing, and Reheating Suggestions

When kept in the freezer, leeks will stay fresh for at least 3 months. However, since the veggie tends to break down fast after thawing, consume your supply as soon as possible.

Thawed leeks

To thaw the frozen leeks, just add the vegetable directly into the dish you are cooking. The heat will defrost the frozen vegetable almost instantly. However, if you are using the leeks for garnishing, you can thaw it by leaving a pack of frozen leeks on the kitchen counter. It should be ready to use after an hour.

Summary

Can you freeze leeks? While leeks are available all year round, you might want to stock up and freeze them from time to time. The freezing process is quite simple: wash, cut, blanch if needed, and freeze the leeks. Remember that freezing the leeks is only best if you are using it for cooked dishes. Just keep these storage tips in mind to retain the natural flavor and color of the leeks!

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

Image used under Creative Commons from woodleywonderworks

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?

Have you ever bought frozen broccoli florets? If not, I’m sure you’ve seen them in the nearest grocery store. So you already know you can freeze broccoli and it freezes well. Now that you have too much broccoli on hand, you’re searching for ways to store it.

Freezing is the first thing that comes to mind because it gives you an easy way out. The veggies won’t spoil and you don’t need to decide how or where to use them. Just freeze the vegetables and it’s out of your mind until it’s needed. I know I have done that quite a few times and I’m sure you did too. So, if freezing broccoli is what you decided to do, let’s dive into the specifics.

Broccoli florets after drying

How to Freeze Broccoli?

There are at least a few ways you can freeze broccoli and in this article, we will go through the most popular ones. Each way has its own benefits. It’s up to you to choose the one that will work best for your needs.

Preparing the Broccoli

Broccoli prep is the same no matter which freezing method you will choose. If there are tiny worms in the florets, we need to get rid of them first. Fill a large bowl with water and add a teaspoon of salt. Next, chuck the broccoli into the water and leave it there for about half an hour. That should help kill the bugs. After 30 minutes, rinse the veggie under running water. The vegetables should be worm-free now.

The rest of the preparation process is the same no matter if it’s storebought or fresh broccoli harvested from the garden. Place the veggie onto a cutting board and cut it into florets (bite-sized broccoli trees). If you want to use the stalks too (they’re perfectly fine to eat!), cut them into smaller fries-like pieces.

After cutting, wash the pieces under running water to remove leftover dirt. Some people prefer washing before cutting, but I find it much easier (and faster!) to wash after cutting.

Now that the broccoli is prepped, it’s time to choose how to freeze it. If you have no idea how the veggie will be used in the future, just go with the first option – freezing blanched broccoli.

This method is straightforward and the results are the same if you buy frozen broccoli. Freezing cooked or roasted broccoli is a great option if you want to prep the vegetables quickly for eating. Since the vegetables are already cooked, you won’t need to wait until they soften. Just make sure the brocs are warm enough to your liking and that’s it.

Freezing Blanched Broccoli

We start off by blanching broccoli. This process helps with retaining the taste and texture of the veggie after freezing. It’s by no means necessary but helps you get better results. After blanching and drying, we flash freeze the florets and stalk pieces. This is optional. This way, they won’t freeze together. The last part of the process is transferring the frozen veggies into a freezer bag. Put the veggies back into the freezer. This freezing method is perfect if you want to store broccoli for the long term.

Here’s the step by step process for blanching broccoli:

  1. Boil a pot of water. Once the water boils, throw in the broccoli for 2 to 3 minutes (depending on the size of the florets).
    Blanching broccoli in boiling water
  2. Prepare a bowl of iced water for the ice bath.
  3. After those 2 to 3 minutes, strain the water and immediately transfer the veggie into the ice bath.
    Draining broccoli after blanching
  4. Leave broccoli in the cold water for 5 to 10 minutes then strain the water.
    Broccoli in ice bath

Now it’s time to freeze the broccoli:

  1. Make sure broccoli is dried thoroughly. A dishcloth and a few paper towels should do the trick. If you’re not in a hurry, leave the veggie for about 30 minutes on a dishcloth after drying. This helps the water evaporate. Take a paper towel and pat each floret dry to make sure there are no wet spots. Again, drying is really important.
    Draining broccoli using a colander
    Drying broccoli with dish cloth and paper towels
  2. (Optional) Take a cookie sheet and line it with parchment paper. Then lay the broccoli pieces flat onto the cookie sheet. Make sure the pieces don’t touch one another if possible. Place the cookie sheet into the freezer for an hour. Take the broccoli from the freezer.
  3. Transfer the veggie into a freezer bag or container. Label it with a name and a date and chuck it into the freezer.
    Chucking broccoli into freezer bags

Freezing Cooked, Steamed, or Roasted Broccoli

Freezing broccoli this way is perfect if you want to have frozen broccoli ready to eat in no time. Since the brocs are already pre-cooked, they just need to be warmed up. no need to wait until the vegetable softens. A few minutes on a frying pan or in a microwave and the brocs are ready. This method is perfect if you plan to eat the frozen broccoli within a month. It’s not recommended if you are planning to store the brocs for the long term.

Here’s the step by step process of freezing pre-cooked broccoli (choose one of the options):

  1. [Option A] Cooking the broccoli. Boil a pot of water with a pinch of salt and chuck the broccoli. Keep the pot on simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes until the veggie softens slightly. The brocs do not need to soften all the way because you will be reheating it. Aim to undercook the brocs. Once broccoli softens, strain the water.
  2. [Option B] Steam the broccoli. Bring a pot of water to a boil and steam the broccoli for 20 to 25 minutes until it softens. Just like you would do if you were cooking it, aim to “under-steam” it.
  3. [Option C] Roast the broccoli. This is my favorite method! It works beautifully if you’re preparing broccoli as part of your meal prep routine. Preheat the oven to 420 degrees F (or 220 degrees C). Take a cookie sheet, line it with aluminum foil and lay the broccoli florets onto it. Now it’s time to coat them. The easiest option is to spray the broccoli with olive oil. I mix olive oil with balsamic vinegar 1:1 and spray the broccoli with that. A tablespoon of a coating of your choice is more than enough for a large cookie sheet of broccoli. Once the oven is preheated, transfer the cookie sheet into it. Roast the veggie for 30 to 35 minutes. After about 30 minutes check if the veggie is soft enough. Try piercing the brocs with a fork. If they’re not ready,  leave it in the oven for another 3-5 minutes.
  4. Cool and dry the broccoli thoroughly. No matter which option of pre-cooking you have chosen, give the vegetable time to cool completely. Remove any excess water the veggie. For starters, lay the broccoli flat and let it sit in room temperature for at least an hour to let it cool off. Once it’s cool, check if all the moisture has evaporated. If you can spot some wet spots, use paper towels or a dish cloth to get rid of those. Cold and dry broccoli is ready for freezing.
  5. Transfer the broccoli into freezing bags or containers. Label them with name and a date and chuck them into the freezer. To make defrosting more convenient, divide the veggies into several servings. Put each serving into its own container. This way when you need the frozen broccoli, you just take the bag from the freezer without measuring anything.

How to Defrost Frozen Broccoli

The way to defrost broccoli depends on how you plan to use it. If the veggie will go into a soup, stew, or something similar, the easiest way to go is to throw it in frozen. If you want to fry the brocs as part of a stir-fry or a casserole, defrost the vegetables in the fridge. If you forgot to put it into the refrigerator the night before, leave the vegetables to thaw at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours. Please note that defrosted vegetables (and pretty much any other product out there) shouldn’t be re-frozen.

Tips and Tricks for Freezing Broccoli

Cutting broccoli florets into smaller ones is messy. Instead of cutting them all the way with a knife, cut them halfway from the bottom (stem). Then, tear apart with your hands. This way there’s little to no mess involved.

Splitting broccoli floret into two

Splitting broccoli floret into two