Here are some great tips and "how to's" for freezing vegetables, berries, and fruits from your backyard vegetable garden!
Learn the best way to prepare, blanch and freeze garden vegetables, berries, and fruit for winter use.
By freezing your home vegetables, you can enjoy almost all the fresh produce grown from your vegetable garden long after the harvesting season is over.
A friend of mine recently told me about opening up a package of corn for dinner that was frozen ten years ago, and it tasted as sweet as the day it was packed.
Nutrition, flavor, and natural color are kept better in most foods by freezing than any other preservation methods.
Most vegetables and fruits suitable for canning are suited for freezing as well.
Preparing vegetables and fruits for the freezer is quick and simple.
Food can be frozen in quantities easily that would be too small to justify the time and effort it would take to put them up by canning.
Putting up a pint or two at a time by freezing extra garden vegetables is perfectly feasible when canning such a small quantity would be uneconomical.
For successful freezing of garden vegetables, it is a good idea to purchase a stand-alone freezer, and not try to use the freezer compartment of your refrigerator.
The freezer should be capable of maintaining a temperature of zero degrees or below for effective initial freezing and safe storage.
The colder, the better, as the freezer life of frozen vegetables kept at zero degrees or below is from 8 to 12 months.
The freezer life is much shorter if the temperature inside the freezer is only a few degrees higher.
Using air-tight containers, or heavy-duty freezer bags will also extend the freezer life of your vegetables.
Nearly all vegetables must be blanched for best results before being frozen.
The simplest method of blanching vegetables is to place one pound of prepared vegetables in your perforated pot insert and immerse them in a large kettle holding at least 2 gallons of rapidly boiling water.
Cover the pot and blanch the vegetables at the recommended time for the type of vegetable you are blanching.
As soon as the blanching time is complete, remove the vegetables from the pot and cool them immediately in a large container of ice water.
Hold the vegetables in the cold water for the same length of time that they were scalded, until they are chilled.
If you will be blanching and freezing large quantities of vegetables, it is best to purchase a large unit made especially for this purpose.
Or use a large kettle for boiling water, and a large colander for immersing the vegetables.
If you want to be able to remove individual servings of berries or vegetables from freezer bags without having to thaw the whole bag, here is a great tip:
Freeze the washed and dried berries or vegetables in a single layer on a cookie baking sheet.
This takes about one hour.
This method helps the fruits or vegetables to freeze quickly, without sticking to each other.
After the berries or veggies are quick-frozen, pour them into the freezer bag, label them, and return them to the freezer.
Using a felt tip marker, label the containers and freezer bags by writing down the contents of each and the date the food was packed and frozen.
The key to freezing vegetables successfully is using high quality foods to begin with, following proper processing guidelines, ensuring all air is excluded from the containers or bags, and that they are properly sealed.
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