Freezing Vegetables: 2 Great Methods

Skip the blanching, cooling, drying, and packing. Learn the best methods for freezing vegetables quickly and easily. These techniques will make your frozen vegetables taste more like they were picked fresh from the garden that day.

| September 20, 2013

The Beginner's Guide to Preserving Food at Home Book Cover

You don’t need a lot of time or years of experience to preserve garden-fresh fruits and vegetables. Organized in a friendly, food-by-food format, readers will find “The Beginner’s Guide to Preserving Food at Home” by Janet Chadwick an invaluable reference. Freezing, drying, canning, and storing instructions are available for each vegetable, fruit, and herb, and in many cases, several methods for freezing fruits and vegetables or canning food are described.

Cover Courtesy Storey Publishing

Freezing vegetables doesn’t always have to be a drawn-out process. In The Beginner’s Guide to Preserving Food at Home (Storey Publishing, 2009), author Janet Chadwick provides new techniques for fast and easy ways of  freezing fruits and vegetables that leave  your produce tasting more like fresh, even in the winter months. Taken from “Chapter 3: Basic Techniques for Preserving Food,” this excerpt explains how to revamp the standard method of freezing vegetables and adds new methods, such as unblanched freezing and the boilable freezer bag method, to your preserving repertoire.

You can purchase this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: The Beginner’s Guide to Preserving Food at Home.

Freezing maintains the natural color, fresh flavor, and high nutritive value of fresh foods. The objective is to bring foods to the frozen state quickly. When properly done, fruits and vegetables are more like fresh than when preserved by any other method. Best of all, freezing vegetables and fruit is fast and easy.

I had been freezing garden vegetables for years when I began experimenting with the process. I discovered that the old standard method of washing and preparing the vegetables, then blanching, cooling, drying, packing, and freezing them was not always the fastest, easiest way to produce the best finished product. Many vegetables can be frozen without blanching (although their shelf lives in the freezer will be shorter), and greens can be stir-fried instead of blanched for a better product.

Tip: To prevent injury when slicing vegetables with a manually operated rotary slicer, blade slicer, or slaw slicer, wear a clean cotton garden glove on the hand that is apt to come in contact with the slicing blade.

Unblanched Freezing: 5 Quick Steps

This is the fastest, easiest method of freezing vegetables. It was originally thought that this method was acceptable only for chopped onions, peppers, fresh herbs, or other vegetables that were to be stored for less than 1 month. But I have found that many unblanched, frozen vegetables can be stored for up to twice as long and still maintain good color, flavor, and texture. Try this method with onions, peppers, herbs, celery, corn in husks, cabbage, sugar snap peas, summer squash, young tender broccoli, and green beans. It is the preferred method to use with berries. It can also be used with super-quality fruits, especially ones you plan to use semi-thawed, or baked in a dessert such as a crisp or a crumble.

6/1/2014 5:10:27 AM

I have never ever blanched food for freezing, and there have never been any problems. Blanching removes the minerals of food, which I'd rather eat myself. Instead of using plastic, I prefer to freeze veggies and fruit in sealed glass jars. (You may add a plastic bag around the glass to ensure they are sealed tight if your lid isn't good enough). I have done so for decades, and I have never had one glass broke due to freezing, and you could also cook your frozen goodies right in the glass after you have unfrozen it and let it go down to room temperature. The glass would break if you'd try to cook it right out of the freezer.

5/26/2014 9:20:57 PM

I have a BIG problem with boiling "plastic" and do not cook in plastic in the microwave, not even vegies that say they can be cooked in the bag. We get warnings all the time about heating plastic. Do you really find this goes along with "green" living?

9/23/2013 3:27:22 PM

my best friends brother got a nearly new red Mitsubishi Eclipse Convertible only from working parttime off a macbook air... .......:> w­w­w.j­o­b­s­6­0.c­o­m

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