Thursday, July 18, 2013

SUE ANN'S FREEZING VEGETABLES AND FRUITS

               FREEZING VEGETABLES

Vegetables are very easy to freeze. They last just about a year in a freezer..so the summer is a great time to plan what to put away for Winter. Most vegetables freeze well..some are not really good to do. Freezing stops the food sugars from crystalizing and beginning decomposing....it can also dry the food out, and when it is thawed, some foods get mushy, and are not flavorful at all. If you prepare vegetables IN a dish, and want to freeze it, that is easy too...and sometimes a better way to go with some of the veggies.....If you have a lot of okra, then make a huge pot of gumbo and freeze the gumbo...okra frozen can be tough, or mushy, when thawed, depending on when you picked it. All vegetables need some type of prep before you freeze.I will give you a list of a lot of the most common ones frozen. as in ALL preserving recipes, the term "salt", is canning salt.

Green Beans-   wash, snap (the pointy tips and the stem ends) ,then blanch.Some people also call blanching, scalding...same thing...quick heat shock to the food..then food is removed from it and chilled quickly. scald 3 mins, then cool immediately. I use a sink of cold water with ice cubes in it and keep adding water or ice, until the food is cold.Maybe 5 mins is all it takes.  Package, label, freeze.

Lima Beans- wash, shell, blanch 3 mins, cool, package and label, freeze.

Beets-  remove tops, wash, cook til tender, cool, remove skins, cut however you like, package, label, freeze.

Broccoli- wash, remove leave or any woody parts, immerse in salt water(like I mentioned in an earlier post), about 30 mins. rinse and drain. Blanch med. heads 3 mins., large heads, 4 mins., cool package, label, freeze.

Brussels Sprouts- remove coars outer leaves, wash, blanch small size, 3 mins, med. size 4 mins., large size, 5 mins. cool, drain, package, label, freeze.

Do you see the basic technique for freezing? It is all the same.....you really need to know only the minutes to blanch.


Carrots- carrot sections, blanch 3 mins, whole carrots, 5 mins.
Cauliflower- soak in salted water in the sink-30 mins, rinse, drain. Blanch med size , 3 mins., large size, 5 mins.

I could go on forever on what you can freeze!!! You can find it very easy on the internet, and pretty well trust what you read about freezing, as it is the easiest food prep around and does not harm the food, or you....if you forget to blanch, or cold water bath after, etc...it is one of the only food preps, that if you forget a step...all will still be ok....when thawed..... In freezing foods, you have more of a choice...questions to ask yourself when faced with 15 lbs of tomatoes......what do I like? What will I use? what do I need the most of?
If you answer, spaghetti sauce..then that one is sooo easy..wash the WHOLE tomatoes..and bag them and freeze them! when thawed..toss them in a pot to cook down for the start of your sauce. That is just one example. If you can imagine it..you can prepare the foods to freeze, for when you want to cook .....Many times I have too many things to do at once, in the fresh veggie department, so I quick freeze a lot of them..to be thought about in the deep dark winter when I am looking for something to do!!!! Much easier to freeze veggie stew ingredients separately on a hot humid day...then, on a cold winter day, I can simmer it all day !!! and warm the kitchen!
                          FREEZER SLAW
great to make -you will be the only one with fresh slaw in the middle of January!!!

1 med cabbage, shredded
1 carrot, grated
1 green pepper, chopped
1 t salt
1 c vinegar (your choice)
1/4 c water
1 t whole mustard seed
1 t celery seed
2 c sugar
 Mix salt with shredded cabbage, let stand 1 hour, drain, squeeze out excess moisture. Add grated carrot, green pepper, let stand, while you make the dressing.
 DRESSING

Combine in saucepan, vinegar, water, mustard seed, celery seed, sugar. Boil 1 min. Cool. Pour over slaw mixture. Put into tight fitting containers, freeze. Thaws quickly for use and can be re-frozen.

                                      CUCUMBER SLICES, FROZEN

8 c sliced cukes ( peel or not to peel..that is up to you)
1 lg. onion, sliced
2 T salt
(slice cukes and onions thin)
Mix well, soak for 2 hours, or overnight in the fridge. Pour off any liquid (the salt will draw the bitterness out of the cabbage....)
ADD, 1/2 c vinegar. 1 1/2 c sugar
DO NOT COOK
Package and freeze.

This is a very basic freezer pickle, you can add spices as you like, and even other vegetables-remember...that if you slice one veggie thin, then ALL the veggies have to be thin..or, if you slice them chunky, the same applies.....it has to do with all the veggies absorbing the flavorings, equally...

Yes, you can freeze whole, peeled, cooked til tender, potatoes, yes you can freeze corn in any shape or form, yes you can freeze mushrooms.....
          FREEZING FRUITS
the only thing  easier than freezing veggies~
 soft fruits are simple to do, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, huckleberries, lodenberries, etc...wash , drain, dry , then package in the amounts you will use them...the best way is to freeze a quart at a time....too much in a container, and it may not all equally freeze. I lace a square of parchment paper over the tops, before I close the lid..to help fight freezer burn...and it works. Do not try to freeze whole graes, or gooseberries.....the skins prevent proper freezing. I know people freeze grapes for soccer teams and hockey teams....but that is very short term..like, overnight!!!! For long term, the skins must be removed...burt instead of going thru the agony of de-skinning teeny grapes..make a recipe with them and freeze that...once the grapes are "changed", as in a freezer salad....the "skin rule" changes too, as they are now busy doing something else..like absorbing a liquid of some sort....Do any of you remember the "famous frozen jello grape dessert" from the 1950's? Google it and you will find it..that was the "hot" dessert of our moms' time, or, in some cases here, our grandmothers' time!!
 To freeze other fruits off trees.....the basic prep is all the same...they still need to be in a syrup pack, as if you were canning..if you don't-they will turn color, soften,become mealy. apples, peaches, pears, fall under this syrup catagory. There are so many teeny nuances to many fruits...each, would just about be a post in itself...apricots, necterines, pineapple, fall under this-and bananas too! So...if you have specific fruits....it wold be easier for me to answer you, then to list so many, that you may never even do..or see! Saves me the typing!
I was thinking on pickles..and I will do one post for them.....and separate it by crock, canning, freezing.....you have one freezer one here today..but there are more! The nice thing about the freezer..is ANYTHING can go in it...as long as you mark your containers..and remember it is in there!! I mentioned keeping a canning note book..well..add your freezer items in that too....then you can look back and see what you have...without opening the doors..and taking everything out and wondering what it is! Your notebook will tell you! I am sure I have missed someone's questions, so let me know! I will answer in the comments!!

7 comments:

New York State Of Mind said...

Good Morning Everyone,
I really appreciate Sue Ann for putting on about freezing vegetables and fruits.

It's suppose to hit the 90's again today.

Marilyn

Veronica said...

Once again thank you Sue Ann for so much wonderful information. We are hoping to do so more freezing of vegetables this year.I am sure I will be going back to many or your posts.I think it is great that you having taken the time to share so much wisdom with us. I hope everyone is making out okay with the hot temperatures. I remember being a kid with no AC I can not imagine what we would do without it. So blessed!! Hope everyone is having a great week. Hello Marilyn I hope you and Pierre are staying cool. Blessing Veronica

New York State Of Mind said...

Good Morning Veronica,
Oh, yes, I remember the days without air conditioning, too. It didn't seem to bother us as much then. Sure glad we have now. Pierre and I are staying cool, hope you are, too.

God Bless,
Marilyn

Countryside Reflections said...

This is perfect SueAnn, thank you. Should the water be boiling for blanching? I didn't realize that there was a canning salt. I assume that it's labeled as such and in with the canning stuff at the store.

Thank you for all of this information.
Doreen

SueAnn said...

Hi Doreen- yes, the water should be boiling for the blanch. Canning salt is marked as such, you can also use Kosher salt, or coarse salt......table salt is too fine a grade for any canning, and many times has extra chemicals in it that would ruin the can...

ga447 said...

Thank you for all this information, it is so so helpful.

SueAnn said...

I want to add one thing that is easy to freeze...did'nt think of it when I worte the post..but CHIVES....if any of you grow your own spring onion, or buy them anywhere....cut the green stalks with a scissors....leave about 2-3 " of stalk on the onion!! Trim off any brown sports...then snip them into teeny pieces....you can always re-cut them when you need them, put in a container and freeze...no blanching needed..just be sure to wash them first....don't try to chop them in a food processor before you freeze them...unless they are bone dry...they hold a lot of natural water and you will end up with chive slush......you can put them in containers sized for a recipe , or just all in one big container...I usually do that...and when I need some for a dip or to add to soup, I take out what I need...they are fairly easy to remove from the container frozen..no need to really thaw completely...I have never ever bought chives in a store..so I don't even know if that is possible! I always have grown them, or get them from a farmer's market.....You can do this also with garlic chives..the flavor is , of course...garlic.....