The USDA recommends that adults eat 2 to 3 cups of vegetables a day. Make it easier to enjoy the taste of fresh garden vegetables year round by freezing them.
Step 1: Consult a vegetable blanching timetable Check a vegetable blanching timetable for the best way to prepare your vegetables; they should be blanched before freezing to help retain flavor and nutrients.
Step 2: Wash and trim vegetables Wash your vegetables thoroughly, making sure they are free of dirt and other deposits. Trim or chop the vegetables according to your preparation table.
Step 3: Boil water Boil 1 gallon of water for every pound of vegetables you plan to blanch. For steam blanching, use a large pot with a few inches of water, to suspend a single layer of vegetables three inches above it.
TIP: Hard water can make vegetables tougher. If you don’t have soft water, boil bottled or distilled water instead.
Step 4: Blanch vegetables Put your vegetables in a wire basket or mesh bag and put it carefully into your boiling water or above your steam. Cover with a lid and begin timing immediately.
Step 5: Cool and drain vegetables Take your vegetables out of the boiling water and submerse them in ice water. Keep them submerged for the same amount of time as they were blanched and drain using a colander.
Step 6: Place vegetables in container Put your drained vegetables in a tightly packed freezer bag or container. With solid containers, leave one-half inch of clearance at the top; for freezer bags, remove excess air before sealing.
TIP: To keep vegetables loosely packed, place them on a tray or cookie sheet in a single layer. Freeze them until firm; then package them and return to freezer.
Step 7: Label and freeze vegetables Write the date on your container and freeze at the lowest freezer setting. For best quality, only freeze 2 to 3 pounds of vegetables per cubic foot of freezer space. Enjoy fresh garden taste for the next year!
FACT: Did you know? Most vegetables consist of more than 90 percent water.