How to quick freeze vegetables

With a little work it easy to have fresh vegetables after the growing season is over. Many vegetables contain enzymes and bacteria that can alter the taste, color, and texture of food after being picked. A quick clean, or blanching is all that is needed to store them well into the winter. Blanching or scalding is important because it destroys those enzymes minimizes the loss of flavors, color and most importantly the nutrients of your vegetables.

To blanch in boiling water, put about a pound of vegetables in a fine mesh wire basket with a wire cover to hold the food under the water. Make sure to use enough water to completely cover the food. Cover the kettle and then use the times recommended below for each vegetable. After Blanching, chill quickly and thoroughly in ice water for a minute longer than the time the vegetables were blanched. When completely chilled, remove from water, drain and pack immediately into freezer bags.

 

Vegetable
How to Prepare
Blanching Time
Beans Wash, remove stems, remove strings, cut or leave whole. Blanch, chill and pack into freezer bags.

Cut: 2 Minutes in boiling water
Whole: 2 1/2 minutes in boiling water

Cabbage Wash and cut into manageable chunks, or shred, chill, and pack

Shredded or whole leaf: 1-2 minutes
Cut wedges: 3-4 minutes

Carrots Remove tops, wash, and scrape of skin. Slice lengthwise or crosswise as preferred for large carrots, smaller carrots can be processed whole. 1-2 Minutes in boiling water depending on size or thickness of slices.
Cauliflower Break heads into flowerets about 1" across. Wash, Blanch, chill, pack. 3-4 minutes in boiling water.
Eggplant Wash, peel, slice into 1/3" pieces, blanch immediately to avoid discoloration, chill and pack 4 minutes in boiling water
Kohlrabi Remove tops and roots, wash and peel. Use whole small to medium sized or dice into 1/2" cubes. Chill and pack.

Whole: 3 minutes in boiling water
Cubes: 1 minute in boiling water

Peas Shell, sort out undersized and spoiled peas, blanch, chill and pack. 1-2 minutes in boiling water.
Peppers, Green Wash and cut away seeds. Blanch, chill and pack. 1-2 minutes in boiling water depending on thickness of flesh.
Squash Remove ends, cut into 1/2" pieces, chill, and pack 3 minutes in boiling water.
Tomatoes Wash, blanch, remove skins, and pack. 1-2 minutes until skin loosens.
 

Special Hints for Cabbage
When growing your cabbage, try to keep it in the garden as long as possible, however harvest before frost causes the leaves to wilt. With the new styles of perforated bags available at the super markets, it is now possible to store heads for 3-4 weeks in the refrigerator. Leaving the outer leaves on will help to keep the head from wilting. Once the leaves are cut, is best to use them quickly and stored in airtight containers for 3 days.

Cabbage is can be preserved in several ways depending on it's final use. Shredded leaves can be blanched and frozen for sauerkraut. Larger chunks, and whole leaves can be blanched and frozen for stews, roll-em-ups. For best results use boilable bags for blanching.

Cabbage can also be frozen without blanching. Whole heads do not freeze well, however it can be cut into wedges or shredded and then frozen. Add frozen pieces to recipes that call for cabbage. Thaw shredded and whole leaves slowly in the refrigerator before using.

Peppers
Hot peppers are one of the easiset vegetables to store. One popular method is to hang them on a string to dry. They can also be dehydrated very easily. One of the easiest and simplest ways to preserve them is freezing. Wash them, and wait for them to dry thoroughly. Slice the stem off at the very top of the pepper and freeze them in baggies with the seeds intact.

Green peppers can be frozen without blanching. Remove the seeds from half or whole peppers and freeze on a tray for 12 hours. Then cut into portions, or leave hole and package in freezer bags..

 
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