One of the easiest ways to preserve your fresh vegetables is by freezing them after they’ve been harvested, fresh and ripe. You can keep your summer vegetables frozen and use them throughout the winter months. Avoiding waste when you harvest your garden saves money and means fewer trips to the grocery store. You can store the frozen produce for months and thaw it when you’re ready to use it. You can preserve all those healthy nutrients and freeze your vegetable harvest for later.
Some vegetables have an unavoidable texture change once frozen and thawed. Certain foods will do better with freezing than others. They can be used in many valuable ways. Frozen vegetables can be added to stews, casseroles, soups, and other dishes. Recipes that are more about flavor than appearance are ideal. Almost any vegetable can be frozen. Green beans, squash, corn, peas, carrots, and broccoli all freeze and thaw very well. Some vegetables have too much moisture to freeze without becoming a wet, mushy mess when they are thawed. Veggies like lettuce, cucumbers, and mushrooms don’t freeze well at all.
Preparing your vegetables before freezing them is important. Wash and trim your vegetables. Most vegetables freeze better if they are blanched before they’re frozen. Peel, shell, core, or de-seed the veggies like you’re about to use or eat them. To blanch the vegetables you will need a large pot of boiling water. Each vegetable has its own recommended blanching time, to be submerged in the boiling water. They should still be firm after blanching, not cooked tender. The veggies should be cooled in an ice bath to stop them from cooking any longer than they need to. Then the vegetables should be patted dry so freezer burn doesn’t end up ruining them.
When it’s time to freeze the veggies, using a sheet pan is ideal. Spread the pieces out individually, flat on the pan. Freeze the veggies until they are completely solid. Then you can put them in a large container or bag. This allows the vegetable pieces to freeze separately until they’re completely hard and prevents them from freezing together into a lump. Be sure to use airtight bags or containers to keep your frozen vegetables protected until you’re ready to thaw and eat them.
Dehydrating is another quick, easy way to save and store vegetables. Removing the moisture content dries the food and prevents bacterial growth. Once the veggies are successfully dried, they can be stored in a cool, dry place in airtight containers. This method changes the way the vegetables look and taste. Dehydrators are appliances with racks that use heat and air to remove the water from food. They have multiple settings. You just leave the chopped food in the racks and set the dehydrator. When the veggies are no longer spongy or sticky, they are ready to store.
When you have an abundance of vegetables and don't want them to go to waste, there are easy ways like freezing them to preserve them. There are several methods for preserving veggies for later, but freezing and dehydrating are probably the simplest ways you can try. Don’t be intimidated by processing and preserving your extra produce. Get out the baking sheets and freezer bags and get to freezing those delicious vegetables. Order a produce box from The Farmers On Wheels today, you can use the freezer to preserve any overabundance of produce that you can’t use now.