Wednesday, August 19, 2009

How to freeze this summer's harvest

Are you finding that you can't eat all your garden (or your neighbor's garden) is producing? Don't fuss, there is a way to prolong it's life. Freeze. So far, I have frozen blackberries and yellow squash. And there isn't anything to it, but you do have to do an extra step to ensure you will be able to effectively use it when you are ready.

First, slice up what you are going to freeze. Spread them on a baking sheet in a single layer. Put them baking sheet in the freezer and freeze your vegetable/fruit until solid. Once solid, put the slices into a labeled freezer bag.

Why go to the trouble of freezing in a single layer? Because most fruits and vegetables have a high moisture content. Without an initial single-layer freeze, your produce will be a big frozen block. If you freeze them individually, then you can use as much as you need to instead of the whole bag.

What about if you don't have a garden? Not a problem. The grocery store is going to have the season's vegetables for a reasonable price. And they are going to taste their best if you buy in season. So if the store has zucchini for $.75 a pound, get a few pounds and freeze them. Speaking of zucchini, a lot of recipes call for shredded zucchini. You can freeze that too. Shred some zucchini and spread is onto a baking sheet. Obviously, you can't freeze it in single shreds, but in an even layer is fine. Once solid, break into smaller pieces and put into a freezer bag. When you are going to use it, let it thaw in a colander.

Here is a list of what would freeze well. Add to it in the comments if you can think of anything else.

Carrots (peeled)
Cherries (pitted)
Peaches (peeled)
Bell peppers (sliced or diced)
String beans


Frieda said...

So far, I have flash frozen raspberries, black berries, and currants. I have also frozen zucchini, pre-measured in freezer baggies. I have even frozen egg whites or mashed bananas using ice cube trays and then dumping them in a baggie. Throw a frozen cube of mashed banana into your next smoothie! Next up, is freezing basil in my ice cube trays....

Sweet Pea Chef said...

Broccoli and Cauliflower freeze really well too! Thanks for the reminder...we have green beans out the wazoo right now, and I made a huge batch of greek green beans, but clearly plain frozen is a good idea too!

by M said...

Thanks to your tip on Saturday, I did this very thing. Now I'm feeling well stocked and un-guilty about those overflowing zucchini bushes!

Thrifty and Thriving said...

Whit...I have a question. So I love watermelon. Love love love it. Can't get enough of it. If i could eat it for every meal of the day I would. (ok maybe that is over kill) anyway...Is there anyway to freeze watermelon so i can enjoy it just a little longer? :)

Sarah said...

I also like to grate the zucchini and use it for frittars, cakes, breads, etc.

Jenny said...

Maybe a dumb question, but how do you cook the frozen yellow squash? Do you thaw them first?

bet[c] said...

any ideas on a way to freeze basil? I have tons.

Also, to Thrifty and Thriving - as a kid my parents scooped melon balls and froze them. The we put them in cups and poured sprite over them. Very tasty. Also blend it up and freeze in ice cube trays. Then you can make smoothies, sorbets, etc.