How to Freeze Vegetables
From Your Home Garden

how to freeze vegetables

How to freeze vegetables at home.

Easy tips for freezing vegetables from your home garden or local produce stand.

Learn how to prepare, blanch, quick cool, and package vegetables for freezing.

For economical, healthy, and most of all tasty eating all year, after growing your own produce, we would like to give you pointers on freezing vegetables for later use.

Assemble all the necessary equipment and ingredients from the lists below. In one 24 hour period, you can freeze 2 to 3 pounds of vegetables per cubic foot of freezer capacity.

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Necessary Equipment for Freezing Vegetables

  • Large pot with lid
  •  Perforated insert or wire basket 
  • Strainer
  •  Vegetable brush 
  • Sharp knife
  •  Cutting board 
  • Vegetable peeler
frozen green beans
  • Plastic dishpan
  •  Sauté pan 
  • Ladle
  •  Measuring cup
  •  Wide-mouthed rigid freezer containers 
  • Freezer bags
  •  Shallow trays
  •  Damp cloth 
  • Freezer marker 
  • Ingredients 
  • Fresh, ripe vegetables
  •  Salt 
  • Water
  •  Ice 

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How to Freeze Vegetables --Tips

Use tender, fresh vegetables.

If possible, chill them until you are ready to work.

Slightly immature vegetables are better than ones that are past their prime.

Vegetables should be heated by steam or boiling water before they are packed to stop enzyme action.

Pre-cooking them by blanching helps preserve color and fresh flavor.

Use a large covered pot with a wire basket or perforated insert to blanch the vegetables.

To keep the vegetables from overcooking, cool them immediately after blanching in a plastic dishpan filled with ice water.

You will need about one pound of ice per pound of prepared vegetables.

My mom always froze milk jugs, half-gallon milk cartons, or plastic one-gallon buckets of water in the freezer before canning/freezing time for use in cooling the blanched vegetables.

When freezing vegetables, no packing liquid is needed as vegetables are packed dry.

assortment of fresh vegetables

How to Freeze Vegetables
Preparation:

  • To prepare the vegetables for packing, wash them thoroughly under cold running water.
  • Use a vegetable brush to remove dirt from thick-skinned vegetables.
  • Do not soak vegetables longer than necessary to remove dirt.
  • Sort by size and handle like sizes together to ensure even heating and cooling.
  • Peel, trim, and cut, or shell, as appropriate for each vegetable.

Blanching:

  • Take the insert or basket out of the blancher and fill it with water.
  • Use at least 1 gallon of water per pound (4 cups) of vegetables blanched at once.
  • Cover the pot and bring the water to a boil over high heat.
  • Fill a clean plastic dishpan with cold water and ice; you will need about one pound of ice per pound of prepared vegetables.
  • Set out your clean freezer containers.
  • When the water in the blancher comes to a rolling boil, put the prepared vegetables into the blancher wire basket or insert and lower the basket into the boiling water.
  • Keep the heat high.
  • Cover the pot and immediately begin timing.
  • Heat for the time specified for each vegetable.
  • If you live more than 5,000 feet above sea level, add one minute to the time specified.
  • When the full blanching time has elapsed, immediately uncover the pot.
  • Lift the basket out of the blancher and let it drain for a few seconds.
frozen broccoli

How to Freeze Vegetables Quick Cooling:

  • Then quickly immerse the hot insert in the dishpan of ice water to stop the cooking process.
  • Keep the vegetables in the ice water for about the same time as blanching time or until they are well chilled.
  • Then lift the basket out of the ice water and drain the vegetables thoroughly.

Packing and Freezing:

  • Rapidly pack the blanched, drained vegetables into freezer containers using wide-mouthed rigid containers or freezer bags.
  • Pack vegetables gently but firmly into the containers, leaving ½ inch of space for expansion at the top of each container.
  •  Wipe the rims of the containers with a damp cloth and carefully seal each container.
  •  Label each container and date.
  • Freeze the packed vegetables in a freezer that maintains a temperature of 0 degrees.


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