Friday, May 31, 2013

Freezer Tips (Vegetables)

Tips for Freezing Vegetables

  • Frozen vegetables should be used within one year.
  • Always freeze fresh ripe produce. Do not try to freeze overripe produce. Freezing does not make bad food good.
  • Freeze your produce on the day that it was harvested if at all possible.
  • If you can not freeze right away store your vegetables in a cool place. The refrigerator is best.

How to Blanch Vegetables.

Most vegetables will need to be blanched before freezing. This helps maintain vitamins and reduces the actions of enzymes. This will help produce to stay fresh longer.

First wash and drain vegetables.

Bring a pot of water to a full boil. Put vegetables in a blancher or some kind of a wire basket. Plunge the food into the boiling water. Start counting your time immediately. Blanch for the time indicated in your recipe or directions. Each vegetable has a different blanching time.

Immediately after the time is up. Dump the vegetables into ice cold water to cool. Stir gently during the cooling process. Keep the vegetables submerged in the cold water for the same amount of time that it was blanched. Add ice if necessary to keep the water cold.

I have seen it recommended that you plunge the basket and all into the cold water but I prefer to dump just the food. I like to keep my water as cold as possible and the blancher will only add that much more heat to the process.

After food has cooled, package, label and put into the freezer. Place packages in a single layer in your freezer until they are completely frozen. Then you can rearrange and stack things more conveniently. This allows the packages to freeze as quickly as possible. If you stack many on top of each other while still unfrozen, the layers in the middle will take much longer to freeze and may spoil.

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