Sunday, August 4, 2013
Freezing is so simple. Anyone can do it and you don’t need any special equipment.
Small fruits like berries can easily be dry packed, no special prep work required. Just clean and dry the berries. Then, place on a cookie sheet and allow to fully freeze. Place the frozen berries in a pint or quart jar and store in the freezer until needed. You can also put in a freezer bag.
Most vegetables have to be blanched to stop the enzymes and preserve the taste. There are a few exceptions, like tomatoes and peppers. For the small tomatoes, I just pop them into a freezer bag whole. For large tomatoes, I cut them up and place into a freezer quart bags as I use a quart bag at a time. If you are not going to use a whole freezer bag, you can use a pint bag. If you want to pull out individual slices, place the cut pieces on a baking sheet and freeze solid before putting into freezer bags.
For blanching, you put the veggie into boiling water and allow to boil for the time required, then dunk in icy or very cold water. Dry and place on a cookie sheet to freeze, then place in a freezer bag. You can use wax paper to keep the vegetable or fruit from sticking to the cookie sheet.
Blanche times, after slicing:
1-2 minutes-cabbage, carrots, corn, greens, kohlrabi, parsnips, peas, turnips
3-4 minutes-asparagus, beans, cauliflower, celery, eggplant (use 1/2 cup lemon juice), mushrooms, new potatoes, okra, onions, rutabagas
5-7 minutes-artichoke hearts, broccoli, brussels sprouts, soybeans
For herbs, you can chop them and place in a ice cube tray with water to freeze. Another option is to place your herbs in olive oil and chop in a food processor then store in freezer bags. Just thaw slightly and take what you need.
Make sure you label your storage container with contents and date. Use within 6-12 months.