I learned this freezing method from a friend who puts up produce from a very large garden every year. She freezes Okra, green beans, bell peppers, zucchini and yellow squash, Purple hull peas, and more this way. Use brown paper lunch bags.
Take three bags, open and insert one inside the other for a triple thick bag. Wash your veggies, and lay on a towel to dry. When dry, prepare appropriately: snap the beans, shell the peas, slice the squash, etc. Put them into the prepared paper bags. Then fold down the tops and either clip them or staple them. Label and date the bags with a sharpie, and put them in the freezer.
They will not freeze together into a lump, and very little, if any, frost will accumulate in the bag. Also, no freezer burn. Blanching is not necessary. I have even started transferring the frozen veggies that I buy from the store to the paper bags. They keep better. You can open a bag and use what you need, then re-fold and re-staple the bag.
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With gardening season upon us here in Nebraska, it puts canning and freezing produce in mind. We put up a lot of corn at one time and one thing to remember is to cool your vegetables or meat out well before bagging it.
Buy produce in large quantities and then prep it for the week, then save the ends for lots of uses:
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Can I cut food costs by buying a small upright freezer and filling it with locally grown produce to supplement my refrigerator/freezer? It will increase my electricity bill and I'll have to add packaging costs.
I have never seen the cost effectiveness of buy produce to can or freeze. The only produce I ever bought was things like peaches, pears, etc., that didn't grow in my area. Also in my area I found that the locally grown produce, is much more expensive than what you buy in the stores. I used to know a woman who bought tomatoes by the bushel to make catsup and one day I asked her if her homemade catsup was less expensive than buying it and her reply was no, but what if we get snowed in some day and I run out of catsup. The irony of this is we lived in a town of about 15,000 and she was no more than a mile from the nearest large grocery store. There was no way that she would be snowed in for an extended period of time.
I would say it depends on where you live. The point of preserving of stuff isn't really to save money if you're not growing it yourself, though. The point really is that you're eating in season and not transporting food across the globe to put on your plate. The idea is that you're conserving resources and leaving a smaller imprint on the planet.
Living in Alaska this is a little difficult, especially because I'm vegan and don't eat fish, which is our biggest food resource. I bought a little more than a pound of heirloom tomatoes at a small farmer's market (which we only have for several months out of the year here...) and spent about 7.50. I get a pound of tomatoes from my CSA box out of Washington when they're in season for about 3-5 bucks.
Your electricity bill will not raise much if anything, especially if you're storing the food in a freezer that you already utilize. You will save money when the produce you have saved is being consumed when it's out of season and will be of better quality than the frankenfood that is grown out of season.
Hope that helps with some insight...
If you can buy local from a farmer's market, it may not be cost effective but it is much healthier food. It is picked fresh and does not have a bunch of chemicals thrown on it. I agree with cat nip.
Why not just buy a small chest type freezer you won't have such a cost and your light bill won't be noticeable in difference. You can come out doing this but keep in mind do you want to spend the time it takes to put it up. I do but some folks don't feel they want to. I can tell you that if you start you won't want to quit and the learning process is on going. If it were me and I could afford the small chest better I would get it and by the time you fill it you'll know whether you want to keep up or just use the little freezer for spare bread, meat on sale etc., you won't go wrong.
Why not just buy a small chest type freezer you won't have such a cost and your light bill won't be noticable in difference. You can come out doing this but keep in mind do you want to spend the time it takes to put it up. I do but some folks don't feel they want to. I can tell you that if you start you won't want to quit and the learning process is on going. If it were me and I could afford the small chest better I would get it and by the time you fill it you'll know whether you want to keep up or just use the little freezer for spare bread, meat on sale ect. you won't go wrong.
Try looking on Craig's list for a used freezer and look for freezer containers at thrift stores or yard sales. That should help with up-front costs. If you compare labels "apples to apples" buying local can be competitive or even cheaper. (preservative free, organically grown, etc) but the real savings come in your healthcare savings from not taking in all of those chemicals in grocery store produce!
How do I freeze garden produce?
Hardiness Zone: 6b
By Barbara Stricker from Rogers, AK
The best site I've found is www.pickyourown.org.
Everything is there that you need to know about freezing.
This is an easy to read and detailed four page PDF that you can print out:
Besides printing it out I also saved the PDF in my recipe folder ;-)
Can I Cryovac fresh diced vegies such as potatoes, carrots, zucchini, onions, and peas, and then freeze them? Do I have to blanch them first?
It is recommended that you blanch all vegetables except green peppers to preserve nutritional value.
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Take advantage of farmer's markets and neighbors gardens to can and freeze all the produce possible. Your own garden is even better! - Nancy - Hartland, MN
We have a huge garden and I'm wondering what to do with some of the produce that we have an abundance of to preserve it for the late fall and winter.