You’ll be so pleased with these tips for freezing vegetables at home because there are more benefits to frozen veggies than you might imagine. Many people think that frozen vegetables are a poor substitute for fresh – yes fresh is always best – but done properly, frozen vegetables do not lose their nutrition, texture or flavor. Plus if you freeze vegetables when they are at their seasonal best, you can enjoy them at any time of year without compromise and worry that fresh vegetables are not naturally grown or shipped in from thousands of miles away. For wonderful produce all year round, follow these tips for freezing vegetables.
1. Clean Them
The first of the tips for freezing vegetables is to give them a good wash and do all the usual stuff you’d normally do, like remove eyes or bruised bits, roots etc.
2. Select Young Veggies
Avoid going for old veggies because they will usually give unpalatable results – freezing will not enhance the quality, only preserve it. For things like corn, you need to be even more careful to get young cobs only and remove all the husks and silks before you even think of freezing them. Going for barely ripe, fresh, and young veggies is definitely the best option.
3. Blanch Them
While it's possible to freeze fresh vegetables, you will be better off blanching them first. Blanching (boiling in hot water for a few minutes) will remove most of the bacteria and also preserve the color.
4. Use the Right Packaging
When it comes to freezing your food, packaging matters a lot. No matter what other tips for freezing vegetables you've followed, you will fail miserably if the packaging is not right. Remember, the air in your freezer is so dry that it can cause “freezer burn” or make the veggies lose their taste completely. The air makes vegetables lose moisture, which makes them unpalatable. Pack them properly to avoid any issue.
5. Get Rid of the Air
If you can, use a vacuum sealer on your bags of veggies. This makes the most proficient packaging for freezing. And to go along with this …
6. Freeze in Small Portions
There are a number of reasons to do this. It means you can tuck packs of veggies in nooks and crannies in your freezer. Smaller packs take less time to freeze. They are convenient for cooking and importantly, given the issues pointed out in the previous point, you won't have to concern yourself with opened packages in the freezer, like you would with big bags you only take portions from.
7. Don’t Freeze Hot Food
You’ve gone to all the trouble of blanching to get rid of the bacteria. Put hot food in the freezer and you one, give bacteria the chance to grow again, and two, it messes around with the temperature in your freezer.
8. Fast Freeze
Fast freezing is always the best process, so freeze your veggies in the coldest part of the freezer. If you are not going to use vacuum sealed bags, the easiest way is to spread the vegetables out on a tray so they freeze individually. You can then pop them into bags when frozen.
9. Label Them
Everything you freeze should be marked with what it is and the date of freezing. This helps not only with finding what you need but also helps you use the oldest stuff first.
Freezing vegetables may not be rocket science but these tips will help you make the most of the process and ensure you have frozen vegetables that taste as good as they should. Do you freeze vegetables or do you stick to store bought or only eat fresh?