Freezing Vegetables

Most vegetables can be frozen which preserves them for later use and saves you money. This is a general guide about freezing and storing vegetables.

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Using Leftover Vegetables, Freezing Green BeansPhoto of green beans with frost on them.
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If you think about it, a lot of recipes start the same way, sauteing onions with, depending on the cook, garlic, celery, carrots, or peppers. You probably have your own preference that you use more than any other. Well, on a day when you have a little extra time, make a huge batch of it, make your meal with a portion of it, and let the rest of it cool. Then measure in 1/2 or 1 cup portions and freeze.

When you are rushed or tired and need some, you can thaw out however much you need. You might even want to make a couple of variations, such as onions and peppers, and onions and celery, or with garlic, and without.

Source: This is inspired by pure laziness, a little work one day saves me a lot later!

By Copasetic 1 from North Royalton, OH

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How do you freeze cauliflowers and green beans? Do you have to blanch them first or can you freeze them without blanching?

By Yvonne from Coventry, England

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I have never frozen cauliflower but I am sure you can find directions by googling. For the green beans, you blanch them about 3 minutes and them cool them in ice water to stop the cooking action. Bag them, getting as much air out as possible. I use a straw to suck the air out as suggested by many on here.

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Follow Elaine S' advice and it's the same (3 minutes) for cauliflower but the florets and stems need to be cut into about 1 to 1 1/2 inch pieces. Assorted veggies need different blanching times but beans and cauliflower happen to both be the same.

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Can you freeze some vegetables when they have been in a jar?

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    Yes, however, the quality and taste may be affected and the veggies may be somewhat "mushy" after thawing.

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    How do I freeze fresh celery?

    By Vic

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    I have done this too, but I also wrapped several layers of plastic wrap and placed it in a zip lock bag to insure no freezer burn, in case I didn't get it used up in a timely manner. Now I use a vacuum sealer works much better, no freezer burn because all the air has been 'sucked' out.

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    When I open a bag of corn (or any other veggies), I use my scissors and cut across the top of the bag, leaving enough that I can use it to tie my bag up with it. The other thing I use is leftover twisty ties. When I get garbage bags, I always get the ones with twisty ties so I have plenty when needed. I always hand tie my garbage bags, so it doesn't really matter what kind of bag I get.

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      I am freezing zucchini and one of the methods is to freeze it unblanched. Is this method safe? What about the enzymes that blanching kills? I would hate to have problems with the zucchini once it is thawed but like the idea that it would not be as mushy as it gets when it is blanched. Please help, as we have a garden full of zucchini.

      By Mira

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      I wash my zucchini well and drain. Then grate it peeling and all for making my zucchini cakes in the winter. I've never had any bacterial problems arise after immediately thawing it for use.

      I also do not blanch bell peppers but clean well and stuff with rice, tomatoes, ground beef and onion and place in freezer bags. When ready to use, I put them in a pan with water covering the lower bottom a little and use a lid and cook til done. Again never had any bacteria problems arise preparing some vegetables in this manner.

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      Do all vegetables have to be blanched before freezing?

      By G Norman from Oxfordshire

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      No - most do need to be blanched, but not all. I freeze summer squashes without blanching, just slicing and freezing. Tomatoes can be frozen whole. This is an excellent way to have fresh-tasting sauces all winter, and the skins just slip right off once the tomatoes are partially thawed. I also freeze corn straight out of the garden without shucking, then microwave still frozen and still in the husks - tastes like summer!

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      I want to vacuum pack vegetables without cooking them. Can you freeze vegetables without cooking them?

      By Joan

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      Except for veggies like peppers and onions they need to be blanched. The reason is to keep their fresh color but, most importantly, to stop the enzymes that break down the quality and nutrients of the food. Here's some info I shared a few weeks ago:

      Vegetable Water Blanching Timetable

      There have been a lot of requests for blanching veggies as of late so here's an easy timetable to follow. Be sure to check tenderness part way into the blanching guide times because freshness and size of vegetables vary and can affect how long they truly need to blanch.

      Be sure to give the veggies an immediate ice water bath after the blanching to stop the cooking process. Pat veggies dry if you are going to be freezing them and remove as much air from the freezer bag as possible because both help to reduce freezer burn.

      Artichoke Hearts, Globe: 7 minutes

      Artichoke Whole, Globe: 10 minutes

      Artichoke Whole, Jerusalem: 3 to 5 minutes

      Asparagus: Small Stalk - 2 minutes, Medium Stalk - 3 minutes, Large Stalk - 4 minutes

      Beans: Snap, Green or Wax - 3 minutes

      Beans: Lima, Butter, or Pinto - Small - 2 minutes, Medium - 3 minutes, Large - 4 minutes

      Beets: Cook until tender

      Broccoli, Florets and Stems: 1 1/2 inch pieces - 3 Minutes

      Brussels Sprouts, Heads: Small - 3 minutes, Medium - 4 minutes, Large - 5 minutes

      Cabbage or Chinese Cabbage: Coarsely Shredded, thin wedges or leaves separated - 1 1/2 minutes

      Carrots: Whole - 5 to 6 minutes, Diced or Sliced - 2 to 3 minutes

      Cauliflower, Florets and stems: 1 to 1 1/2 inches - 3 to 4 minutes

      Celery: Diced - 3 minutes

      Corn-on-the-cob: Small - 8 minutes, Medium - 10 minutes, Large - 12 minutes, kernels - 5 minutes

      Eggplant: 1 1/2 inch slices - 4 to 5 minutes

      Greens, All Varieties: Tough Stems Removed - 2 1/2 to 4 minutes

      Kohlrabi: Whole - 3 minutes, Cubed - 1 minute

      Mushrooms: 4 to 6 minutes

      Okra: Small - 3 minutes, Large - 4 minutes

      Peas: 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 minutes

      Peppers, Sweet: Strips or Rings - 2 to 3 minutes, Halves - 3 to 4 minutes

      Potatoes, All Varieties: Cook until tender

      Pumpkin: Cook until tender

      Rutabagas: Diced - 2 to 3 minutes

      Soybeans, In Pod: 4 to 5 minutes

      Squash, Winter: Cook until tender

      Squash, Summer: 1/2 inch slices - 3 to 4 minutes

      Turnips: Diced - 2 to 3 minutes

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      How do I to freeze vegetables?

      By surelock from Lapeer, MI

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      If you can pick up a Ball Blue Book of preserving this will be a great help. I got mine at Wal-mart years ago and its a book that's worth it if you do canning or freezing of vegetables. Blanching is very important and must be done properly to destroy microorganisms that could destroy your food. But its a fairly easy process using boiling water don't over blanch this will cause a loss of flavor. Cool your vegetables by using ice water. Hope this helps.

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      Do I need to do anything (like blanch) veggies to use later as stirfry? Any other helpful hints? Thanks.

      By Mary from Henderson, NC

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      Yes, you should blanch most of the veggies that you save for stirfry (squash, broccoli, green beans, etc). Green and red peppers, onions, celery, mushrooms don't have to be blanched, however.

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      I was considering lightly microwaving my home grown yellow squash and green beans instead of par boiling them which can make a lot of water, and then vacuum sealing is difficult.

      Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

      By Daphna A. from Alachua, FL

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      I microwaved 2 years ago and they got that funny taste after 6 months. I then tried the steam method, instead of microwave. Leave them whole, and when you get them hot all the way through dunk them in ice water to cool at once like corn on the cob, dry with a towel and cut up and freeze that way. They probably won't save over a year without changing taste. This works for green and yellow squash. After about 7 months I take mine out and dry them in the dehydrator and powder them to add to all my dishes. including spagetti sauce. Dried veggies add good flavor even to fried meat.

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      After you freeze vegetables can you thaw them and eat them as a raw vegetables?

      By Dawn

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      Probably not. When they thaw, the water will come out of them. They will be fine for soup, but they will be soft and a little soggy, not crunchy like they were when fresh.

      ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

      It is handy to chop up such items as celery, onions, peppers and peeled garlic and store them in small plastic bags in the door of your freezer. I save some to use fresh, but a lot of the time I don't use them up, and they can go bad before we eat them; especially garlic as it tends to dry up. I use the top part of celery with leaves for soups. It's nice to have these items all ready to use.

      Garlic would not have to be chopped up, as one can chop the frozen cloves but peeling it saves that tedious job. Also it lets one buy in bigger quantity when on sale.

      Another thing I have done is to just clean celery stalks and freeze them whole in a long bread bag. When it is frozen, it can be chopped up very easily.

      By Judy S. from Valley City, ND

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      Fresh vegetables can be frozen quickly and easily during the harvest season. Whether you freeze purchased or home-grown vegetables, the keys to a successful product are using vegetables at the peak of ripeness and freezing quickly after purchase or harvest.

      Contents include:

      • Selection and Purchase
      • Blanching
      • Packing Food into Freezer Containers
      • Thawing and Preparing Vegetables to Eat
      • Guidance for Peas, Onions, Green Onions, Peppers, Potatoes, Squash and Zucchini.

      This article is available in PDF format. Click here to download it.

      Published by: New Mexico State University

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      How do you freeze raw cauliflower and broccoli? Is it possible to freeze raw zucchini squash?

      By Shirley from Tequesta, FL

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      Here's all the info you should need. :-)

      http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/publications/uga/uga_freeze_veg.pdf

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      Frozen veggies in a ziplock bag.Veggies on sale? Buy a lot and freeze them. Your freezer can be your best friend when trying to save money on your food bills.

      Freezing Vegetables:

      • Wash and trim vegetables.

      • Cut them into useful sized pieces. If you plan to use them for stew, cut them accordingly, it will save youtime later on.

      • Blanch the vegetables to prepare them for freezing.

      Blanching Instructions:

      • Bring a large pot water to boil. Put the vegetables in a strainer or wire basket and immerse in water. Use one gallon of water per pound of food.

      • Click the link below for an article that contains more information about blanching as well as a chart that tells you how long to blanch different vegetables.

        Blanching Instructions

      • Once you have blanched your veggies for the appropriate amount of time, put them in ice cold water to stop the cooking process.

      • Cool the vegetables for the same amount of time that you blanch them.

      • Drain vegetables until dry.

      • Then package them in freezer bags or containers with the date they were processed.

      By blanching the vegetables, they retain more vitamins and will cook faster when you decide to use them. To cook your frozen vegetables: Heat vegetables in water until tender.

      CommentMoreRead More...Was this helpful?Helpful? Yes

      I buy frozen vegetables in the bags. Then when I get home I divide the veggies into the proportion size I want and put them into a sealed container.

      CommentMoreRead More...Was this helpful?Helpful? Yes

      Freezing veggies is not as difficult as freezing meat or proteins. As for zucchini, carrots, etc, cut them the same round size and blanch them in boiling water for about a minute.

      CommentWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

      How do I go about freezing these veggies altogether (cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, leeks, and capsicum (red and green)?

      By Terry


      Freezing Fresh Vegetables

      Wash veggies and cut to size desired. Blanche, I use a microwave, but boiling water will work too. This stops the ripening process. This should be only a short time; the rule is when they start to smell slightly cooked stop. Chill immediately in cold water, drain, and I freeze in serving sizes in sandwich bags and then put the small bags in a good quality freezer bag. I do not add anything as that can be added when they are prepared and the small amounts can be easily increased for larger meals. It is important to use the good quality freezer bag to keep out air.

      By Chloelizabeth

      Use a Straw to Remove the Extra Air

      You must blanch them in boiling water for the recommended time, but not long! Plunge into ice water to halt the cooking process. I use a straw to suck out the extra air in my freezer bags once they are ready to be sealed. Works great!

      By fresca03

      Some Vegetables Don't Need Blanching

      Not all vegetables should be nor need to be blanched! For example, corn, onions, tomatoes, all types of peppers, etc. Here are a couple of PDF's that, between the two of them, should give you all the info you need for your current listed veggies and others in the future. :-)

      foodsafety.nmsu.edu

      uga.edu (07/28/2010)

      By Deeli

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      Why should you not freeze fresh vegetables?

      Dawn

      No Blanch Method

      I don't have a lot of time to blanch all the veggies and herbs from my garden. As long as you snap freeze them in the condition you'll need them when they are thawed, i.e., sliced, halved, etc., on a tray, separately, they are fine to just use straight from the freezer. I freeze zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussel sprouts to name just a few, this way and they taste wonderful when steamed, baked, used in stir-fry, etc. Just make sure they are frozen in pieces, not in a clump, so you can use what you need.

      By 1stSharyn

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      I planted my first garden this year and a lot of the veggies I planted are becoming ready to pick. I need to know how to go about picking the veggies and freezing them. Can I just pick them out of the garden, wash, and put in Ziplock bags or do they have to be cooked ahead of time? Most of the veggies I have are typical garden vegetables (peas, carrots, corn, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.)

      Freeze Without Blanching

      I know I have always done things different and this is no exception. I always thought blanching veggies before freezing was such a waste of time. So one year with my peas, I blanched half the crop and then froze them, and the other half I washed and then froze. WELL the ones that were not blanched tasted better, like they had just come out of the garden. So now I "just freeze" most of the veggies without blanching.

      By Pam S.

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      Food and Recipes Freezing VegetablesJanuary 9, 2012
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