Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Oftentimes, I sit trying to think of what to write on this blog.  Then, just when I think I can't come up with something, a friend will ask about something and my proverbial light bulb comes on!  I guess this means if you know me in real life, keep asking questions!  

Today, my friend Amanda was asking me about freezing veggies.  So, let's talk about freezing!

For most veggies, like corn, green beans, etc., that you choose to freeze if you're not one who thinks canning is for you.  In fact, I prefer corn to be frozen, this is just my preference. 

Prepping veggies for the freezer is really easy.  It's blanching, shocking, drying, packaging and labeling.  

Blanching can be done in water or steam.  I have a large enameled pan with a steamer insert that I love.  It's good size and without the insert, can be used as a smaller stock pot.  I like to use the steaming method because I think that you leave the good vitamins and minerals behind in the boiling water.  Whether water or steam, it is a matter of putting the veggies in the water or steam for a few minutes.  Here is a guide that will give you some cook times for the different veggies.

Shocking is simply dumping the veggies into ice water to quickly stop the cooking process.  If you are doing a lot of veggies, you will use a lot of ice.  I seriously love my ice maker when I'm doing this!  Generally, I leave the veggies in the ice bath for how ever many minutes they were in the hot water or steam.

For drying, I lay clean kitchen towels on my kitchen table and then as I remove the veggies from the ice bath, I lay them out on the towels and let them dry for a few minutes.  This step will help to keep the veggies from becoming a vegetable brick in the freezer.  They'll be more separated once frozen.

I use Ziploc freezer bags for packaging.  I like them over containers because I can lay them flat.  I put the veggies in the bag until it's full but not bulging, like I said, I like to lay them flat and stack them, it saves space.  Try to get as much air out of the bag as you can and seal it.  

Make sure you label them with what is in the bag and the date you put it in the freezer.

I do take a short cut when I am going to use a veggie for cooking such as onions, celery and carrots.  I skip the blanching and shocking.  This shortcut is for veggies that are cooked with only, like onions in meatloaf or carrots and celery for making stocks, etc.  I will cut these veggies up in the way that I will be using them.  I dice the onions, slice the celery and carrots and lay them out to dry just a bit and then just freeze them.  If I have a lot of onions, I will lay them out on wax paper on a cookie sheet and put them in the freezer until they're frozen and then move them to the Ziploc bag.  Also, the celery leaves are great for flavoring broths and stocks too.  I will rough chop these and put in ice cube trays, fill with water and freeze them.  Once frozen, pop them out and put in a Ziploc.  When needed just pop a couple of cubes in the stock pot.

This is a great thing to know how to do because even if you don't garden, when you see a really great sale at the grocery or farmer's market, you can get a few extra items and put them up in the freezer to use when you can't get them as inexpensively.

No comments:

Post a Comment