Preserving all those wonderful vegetables that are available this time of year is a great idea – whether you harvest them from your own garden or visit your local farmer’s market. It may take a little time, but you will be glad you did it when, during the bleak winter months, you will be able to pull out a bag of these goodies and get it on your table quickly and inexpensively!
Guide to Freezing Vegetables:
- Freeze only high quality vegetables of proper maturity
- Always use fresh garden vegetables and freeze them within a few hours of gathering or purchasing
- Select the variety of vegetables that is recommended for freezing
- Clean and cup up vegetables as you would for cooking
- Prepare and pack quickly
- All vegetables must be blanched before freezing to retard enzyme action and thus retain colour,flavoiur and texture.
- To remove insects that may be present in broccoli, brussels sprouts or cauliflower, immerse prepared vegetables for 30 minutes in a brine made from about 1 tablespoon of salt to 5 cups of water. Rinse throughly and blanch.
- Pack in suitable freezer containers, freezer bags or freezer wrappings
- Store frozen vegetables for up to one year
Vegetables contain enzymes, which, if not controlled by blanching will cause undesirable changes in flavour, colour and texture of the vegetables when frozen.
Place vegetables in a wire basket, colander or cheesecloth bag, Lower into vigorously boiling water , cover and immediately start timing (see chart below for recommended times). Keep heat on high so that water will quickly return to boiling. As soon as water returns to a vigorous boil, remove cover and move vegetable container up and down to ensure uniform blanching. Follow the blanching time, then remove and chill immediately by p0lacing under cold running water, Drain thoroughly and do not allow the vegetables to remain in the cold water any longer than necessary. Blanch only one pound of vegetables at a time.
|Vegetable||Preparation||Blanching Time||Cooking Time Before Serving|
|Asparagus||Select young, tender stalks, remove tough ends and scales,. Wash, trim, cut in 1″ pieces or leave whole||Small – 3 minutes, Large – 4 minutes||5-8 minutes|
|Beans – Green ot Waxed||Select young tender beans. Wash. Trim, cut into uniform pieces or leave whole||Cut – 3 minutes, Whole – 4 minutes||Green – 7-10 minutes, Wax – 5-8 minutes|
|Beans – Lima||Select young, tender beans. Shell and wash||Small – 2 minutes, Large – 4 minutes||10 – 15 minutes|
|Broccoli||Select dark green, compact heads, Trim off woody stalk. Cut through heads and stalk so that pieces are about 1" across. Wash carefully||Medium – 3 minutes, Large – 4 minutes||5-8 minutes|
|Brussel Sprouts||Select deep green, compact heads. Trim, removing coarse outer leaves. Wash carefully||Small – 3 minutes, Medium – 4 minutes, Large – 5 minutes||5-9 minutes|
|Carrots||Select young, tender carrots. Remove tops, wash and scrape. Slice, dice or leave small carrots whole.||Cut – 3 minutes, whole – 5 minutes||4-8 minutes|
|Cauliflower||Select compact, white tender heads. Break into florets about 1" in diameter. Wash carefully||3 minutes||3-6 minutes|
|Corn – whole kernel||Select freshly picked corn and prepare immediately. Husk, remove silk, trim. Cut kernels from cobs after blanching||4 minutes||4-5 minutes|
|Corn – on the cob||Husk remove silk and sort for size||Small – 7 minutes, Medium – 9 minutes, Large – 11 minutes||3-6 minutes|
|Peas||Select young, tender peas. Shell and wash||2 minutes||4-7 minutes|
|Spinach. Chard and other greens||Select only tender leaves. Discard tough stems and bruised leaves. Wash very thoroughly||2 minutes||4-6 minutes|
|Squash and Pumpkin||Select well matured vegetables. Remove seeds and stringy portion. Cut into small pieces and boil until tender. Cool quickly and remove rind. Mash or sieve. Pack and freeze.||None||As a vegetable – reheat. For pies = thaw and use as canned or cooked.|
To Cook Frozen Vegetables:
- Cook most vegetables without thawing.
- Vegetables requiring partial thawing should be thawed in an unopened container.
- Thaw asparagus, broccoli and spinach just enough to break apart.
- Corn on the cob should be thawed completely before cooking.
- Pumpkin or squash can be thawed completely and used as you would for cooked or canned.
- In general, frozen vegetables are cooked by the same methods as fresh except that cooking time is reduced to about 1/2 the time.
For Guide to Freezing Fruits, please visit:
Hope this guide has been helpful to you – please send in your comments and suggestions – your input is always appreciated!