Sarah Harris published a 2400 word guide on 19 awesome tips and tricks to freeze vegetables. You can find the complete article with excellent graphics and charts at:
As a preview, check out these tips:
#1 Freezing Fruits – There are a number of ways to freeze fruits, although it can be a little tricky. The following are two methods I’ve found to always work well. When freezing berries, place them all out on a plate or cookie sheet and freeze that way. Once they are completely frozen you can transfer them into a container or a freezer bag.
My apples and peaches and such always turn brown fast. I don’t really know why, but if you are going to freeze them for say a smoothie or recipe, then you can add ascorbic acid or vitamin C tablets to some water and dip them in that. Lay them out and let them dry before plopping in the freezer.
#2 About Blanching – One of the many questions that come up when people start to prepare to freeze food is: “Which vegetables do not need blanching before freezing?” “Which vegetables do?”. You may have asked yourself if you can freeze raw vegetables or if you have to blanch them before freezing. Well, everyone who’s been in or around a kitchen has heard of blanching at one time or another. Blanching is a way for veggies to keep their color and flavor.
The technique destroys all the bad organisms in the food and then packs it tightly together. What happens if you don’t blanch vegetables before freezing? Well, to be honest, you’ll be dissatisfied with the outcome, to say the least. Freezing vegetables without blanching can leave you with dark and sometimes black vegetables that aren’t edible. Remember to only blanch vegetables, though.
#3 Get Rid of That Air – Always get the air completely out of the container or bag that you are using. Air is what lets freezer burn sink in.
#4 Ice cube Trays – Ice is not the only thing that those little cubed trays are used for nowadays. These are perfect for stock, olive oil mixed with fresh herbs, flavored butter, coffee for iced coffee, roasted garlic, lemon juice, citrus zest, cookie dough, wine, caramelized onions and more. There are a number of ways you can spread your wings and use those little trays for more.
#5 Don’t Freeze Hot Food – Source: NYFA – You might think this is an obvious one, but you’d be surprised at how many people think that the temperature of the food before freezing it won’t make a difference in the end result. Make sure to always cool foods down before freezing. When you place hot foods in the freezer the overall temperature inside will decrease. This could cause some harm to the other foods inside and possibly even start the defrosting process.
#6 Freeze in Bulk – The fuller your freezer, the cheaper your electric bill. Just as in the outside, the air inside the freezer needs to circulate. If your freezer is full then there is less area to circulate, therefore costing you less in electric.
#7 How Many are You Cooking for? – Source: RebellionNerdFitness – It’s just three of us at home, so we usually just make a big pot of soup or something one night, and then freeze it into several portions for the rest of the week. If you live alone, don’t thaw out a whole pot of soup for just one bowl. It may turn into a big waste because, if you can’t eat it all soon enough, it’ll end up in the trash. In this day and age, we should all try to avoid wasting food as much as possible.
#8 Freezing Does not Equal Disinfecting – Source: SeriousEats – So here is a bit of a myth. Freezing something doesn’t necessarily mean that it kills the bacteria. When you label your food make sure you always put the date on it as well. You don’t want that mystery meat, but you also don’t want to second guess if it’s still good, either. If you can’t remember then just be safe and toss it in the compost pile.
#9 Mind Your Frozen Food – Remember that if there is a storm or you lose power for any reason you have a freezer full of food. The last thing you want to do is open the freezer. Keep as much of the cold air as you can inside and keep it shut.
#10 Get a Vacuum Sealer – If you’re planning on freezing a lot of food, do yourself a favor and buy a vacuum sealer. Not only does it completely remove the air inside and make food last longer in the freezer, but it also saves room in the freezer as well.
#11 Organize Your Freezer – Our freezer is sectioned off by product. We have a shelf for veggies, a shelf for breads and dough, a shelf for chicken and poultry, a shelf that is split in half for beef on one side and seafood on the other, a shelf for flavorings (such as those little ice cube trays full of stuff) and frozen containers of stocks and soups. This makes it a lot easier for anyone to find what they’re looking for and prevents food from being forgotten, as well.
#12 Always Thaw Your food in the Refrigerator – You never want to leave food sitting out on the counter, especially meat. This will, in turn, cause bacteria to grow on the food and end up a mess. Put it on the bottom shelf in the refrigerator on a plate or in a bowl. This way, it won’t contaminate other food inside the refrigerator if it starts to leak.
#13 Wash Before Freezing – Always wash your food when you prepare to freeze it to remove any contamination. Also remove any stems, pits or extra parts not needed. This will save you room in the freezer and time when you thaw it.
#14 Leave Room for Expansion – Source: TreeHugger – Store your soups or broths in canning jars in the freezer as well. Yes, you can freeze canning jars, but there is one thing to remember when doing this: just like with everything else that freezes, things expand. Make sure to leave at least an inch and a half of room from the top of your soup to your lid for this reason. Give the soup room.
#15 Temperature Settings – Always remember to keep your veggies and fruits at the lowest temperature setting in the freezer. They will last longer. If kept at 0 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, veggies and fruits can last up to 12 months.
#16 Blanching Before Freezing – Everyone has their own techniques, but the following are my favorite ways to blanch vegetables before freezing. Bring a pot of water to boil. You want to have a gallon of water to every pound of veggies. Never blanch more than a pound at a time.
Place a bowl full of ice in the sink as well. Place your veggies into the boiling water and let them boil for only three to four minutes. Place them immediately into the ice bath. This will stop the cooking process. Let them dry completely and then package in an airtight container or bag. Here’s a video to see how it’s done:
#17 Steam Blanching – Source: WikiHow – To steam blanch your veggies you need to get a saucepan that will comfortably fit your steaming basket and a lid on top. Place about two inches of water in the bottom of the saucepan. When it is boiling place the veggies in the basket and cook for half the time you would normally steam them to eat. Dry them off completely and then package in an airtight container or bag.
#18 Microwave Blanching – Source: YuenYarn – To blanch in the microwave, place the veggies in a microwave safe bowl and put a few splashes of water on top of them. Cook the veggies for half the time you would normally cook them, stirring them in between to evenly cook them. Rinse under cold water thoroughly to stop the cooking process and then dry them off before packaging in an airtight container or bag. Here is a video to see how it’s done:
#19 Prepare Before Freezing – Source: Shutterbean – Now that you know the tricks of the trade you may be wondering what to do first. The first thing you want to do is figure out what it is you are going to be freezing. Are you freezing that leftover chicken casserole or just some veggies you got from the farmer’s market that morning?
Remember that the food you are freezing will probably have a different texture when it thaws. Think of the things you have learned including blanching vs non-blanching vegetables. Remember to remove as much air as possible from the bag or container if you aren’t using a vacuum sealer. You can place a straw into the top of the bag to suck out the air before sealing it shut.
Remember to always leave room for the food to expand if you are freezing soups and such. Don’t blanch your vegetables too long. Also remember that, like rice, cooked vegetables should never be allowed to thaw; cook properly frozen veggies right out of the freezer and you’ll be fine.
As long as you do it properly, freezing your food will keep it fresher for later use and save you both time and money, something we could always use a little more of. Please tell us what you think and share your thoughts and ideas below