Guide to Freezing Vegetables

The reason why there is frozen produce is that they last longer than the goods in the fresh section. Frozen products can last for months, while fresh veggies can only last for a few weeks. However, if you like to prepare your food stock in case of an emergency (or if you simply like to prepare your goods ahead of time), then you can freeze your fresh veggies yourself. It’s not as easy as buying a pre-frozen bag of peas or corn, but you’ll be glad when you have vegetables to eat down the road.

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Glad Zipper Food storage plastic Bags gallon - 50Count - 4 Pack
Glad Food Storage and Freezer 2 in 1 Zipper Bags - Gallon - 36 Count - 3 Pack

Here’s the proper way to freeze vegetables to keep them fresh:

1. Prepare produce.

For most veggies, you have to slice them up or trim to be stored more efficiently. Oddly-shaped vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower must be chopped to smaller pieces so you can store it in a small container — details on how to prepare some vegetables to follow below.

2. Blanch.

After that, the vegetables have to be blanched before freezing. Blanching is the process of quickly putting the food in boiling water. This can kill bacteria that are lingering on the surface of the veggies, and it can stop the action of food-degrading enzymes, helping the vegetable be fresh for longer. Blanching can also slow down vitamin and mineral loss and helps brighten the color. Freezing it locks the vegetables in its nutrient-rich state. See the suggested time for blanching below.

3. Pre-freeze.

After blanching, drain the vegetables. Spread them quickly in a single layer on a baking sheet pan. Freeze the vegetables until solid. This step will prevent the produce from sticking to each other, forming a big frozen lump of veggies.

4. Pack veggies.

Remove the sheet pan from the freezer and pack the frozen vegetables in a quart or gallon-size freezer bags. These reusable plastic bags come with a zip-close top to maintain freshness. Don’t just use any plastic or even plastic sandwich bags, because these are not heavy-duty enough. Fill the containers to the top and remove as much air as possible.
Keep moisture inside the package by keeping it air-tight. When frozen foods come into contact with freezer air, off flavors can develop. Sealing them helps keep them from odors coming from other foods in the freezer. It helps to put a date into the packages so you can keep track when the vegetables get bad.
After storing the food to the freezer, set the freezer to its coldest setting. Don’t overload the freezer because this will slow down the freezing process.

Tips:

The best vegetables to freeze are low-acid vegetables. The veggies that hold up well to cooking, such as peas and corn, generally freeze well.
These frozen vegetables, when kept in the freezer at its best condition, can last for about 18 months. It can even last longer than that, but the quality of the produce may decline.
Always choose veggies that are unblemished.

Guidelines for Preparing and Blanching Vegetables for Freezing

After thoroughly washing your produce, here are the steps to do to prepare them for freezing:

1. Asparagus

Preparation: Trim woody ends. Cut in two-inch lengths or leave as it is.
Blanching time: 2-3 minutes

2. Beans (lima, pinto, butter)

Preparation: Shell beans. Discard outer shell.
Blanching time: 2-3 minutes

3. Beets

Preparation: Trim tops but leave ½ inch of stem. Cook until tender. Peel and cut into slices or cubes.
Blanching time: (Cooking) 30-45 minutes

4. Bell peppers

Preparation: Cut into ½-inch pieces. Remove seeds.
Blanching time: 2-3 minutes

5. Broccoli and Cauliflower

Preparation: Cut into 1 to 1 ½-inch florets
Blanching time: 3 minutes

6. Brussels sprouts

Preparation: Remove outer leaves and trim stems. Halve the small sprouts; cut larger ones into quarters.
Blanching time: 2-3 minutes

7. Cabbage

Preparation: Remove coarse outer leaves. /cut into thin wedges, shreds, or separate the head into leaves.
Blanching time: 1 ½ minute

8. Carrots

Preparation: Remove tops. Peel and cut into slices or cubes. Leave small carrots whole.
Blanching time: 2 minutes

9. Corn

Preparation: Husk the corn and remove kernels.
Blanching time: 2 minutes

10. Greens (beet greens, collards, kale, chards, spinach, mustard greens, or turnip greens)

Preparation: Remove any woody stems. Chop if desired.
Blanching time: 2 minutes

11. Mushrooms

Preparation: Trim ends. For better color, soak in a solution of 1 pint water and 1 teaspoon lemon in 5 minutes.
Blanching time: 3 minutes

12. Okra

Preparation: Remove stems at the end of seed cells, while carefully preventing the seed cells from being exposed. Leave whole or sliced crosswise.
Blanching time: 3-4 minutes

13. Peas (snow, snap, green, shelling peas)

Preparation: Remove any fibrous stems and leave whole. Remove shelling peas from its pod.
Blanching time: 1-2 minutes

14. Sweet peppers

Preparation: Cut in half. Remove seeds and stems. Cut into strips if desired.
Blanching time: 2-3 minutes

15. Potatoes (Irish)

Preparation: Peel potatoes.
Blanching time: 3-5 minutes

16. Pumpkin and winter squash

Preparation: Cut into small pieces. Remove seeds. Remove the pulp from rind.
Blanching time: Cook until tender. Then, mash before freezing.

17. Summer squash and zucchini

Preparation: Cut into ½-inch slices.
Blanching time: 3 minutes

18. Sweet potatoes

Preparation: Peel. Cut in halves or slice. To prevent it from darkening, dip into a mixture of 1 quart water and ½ cup lemon juice for 5 seconds.
Blanching time: Cook until tender.

19. Turnips

Preparation: Peel and cut into ½-inch cubes.
Blanching time: 2 minutes