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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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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Then strain them and blot them dry on a tea towel. Spread them out on a large cookie sheet and freeze quickly. When frozen, bag them in a freezer bag, They will last about 6 months.
Or, you can dehydrate them in a household dehydrator from Ronco etc. These dehydrated veggies, tomatoes, green peppers, mushrooms , bananas, peppers etc. will last over a year. The dehydrated veggies will come back in hot water just like fresh in soup or chili etc.
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. That way if I want some corn, for example, for a dish I'm making, I don't have to try and break up the corn in the bag. And it doesn't get freezer burned either.
By Pixie from Ohio
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.
This article is available in PDF format. Click here to download it.
Published by: New Mexico State University
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Here are questions related to Freezing Vegetables.
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
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.
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.
How do I freeze fresh celery?
Cut it in sticks or in slices, wash it and freeze it. Make sure it is very dry before freezing so ice crystals don't form on it, which causes it to deteriorate faster. Also, try and remove as much air out of the container because air also does the same. Peppers and onions can also be frozen in this manner, without blanching.
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.
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.
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.
Do all vegetables have to be blanched before freezing?
By G Norman from Oxfordshire
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!
I want to vacuum pack vegetables without cooking them. Can you freeze vegetables without cooking them?
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
How do I to freeze vegetables?
By surelock from Lapeer, MI
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.
Do I need to do anything (like blanch) veggies to use later as stirfry? Any other helpful hints? Thanks.
By Mary from Henderson, NC
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
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.
How do you freeze raw cauliflower and broccoli? Is it possible to freeze raw zucchini squash?
By Shirley from Tequesta, FL
Here's all the info you should need. :-)
After you freeze vegetables can you thaw them and eat them as a raw vegetables?
Can I freeze raw vegetables to use in soup later?
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. Then strain them and blot them dry on a tea towel. Spread them out on a large cookie sheet and freeze quickly. When frozen, bag them in a freezer bag, They will last about 6 months. Or, you can dehydrate them in a household dehydrator from Ronco etc. These dehydrated veggies, tomatoes, green peppers, mushrooms , bananas, peppers etc. will last over a year. The dehydrated veggies will come back in hot water just like fresh in soup or chili etc. Good Luck.
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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.)
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.
Why should you not freeze fresh vegetables?
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.
How do I go about freezing these veggies altogether (cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, leeks, and capsicum (red and green)?
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.
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!
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. :-)