How To Freeze Vegetables?
With the alarming news on the dangers of pesticides and the prices of fresh vegetables soaring, the best alternative is to grow your own vegetables. And if you have a lot more vegetables than you can possibly consume, then freezing vegetables is the best option. The main focus of this page is learn how to freeze vegetables the right way s o as to keep all their nutrients and taste intact, so that you can enjoy them any time of the year. Just read on.
The first thing you should know before you freeze fresh vegetables is that not all produce can be successfully frozen. For example, potatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, radishes and celery lie in this category. They tend to turn soft and mushy when frozen and then thawed out. Some other vegetables - onions, tomatoes and peppers can be frozen only if you are going to use them in a cooked recipe. Celery, whole tomatoes and new potatoes may be frozen but may change in their texture and quality once frozen. So, before freezing vegetables know about your needs and requirements.
Freezing fresh vegetables
When freezing vegetables, you will get the best results when using the freshest vegetables. It will be an advantage if you have your own harvest or a piece of land for growing vegetables. Vegetables tend to deteriorate very quickly. Therefore it is important to freeze vegetables immediately within 12 hours of harvesting or picking. Otherwise, the valuable nutrients might get lost.
Be sure to use vegetables that are in good condition for freezing. They should not be bruised or soft or over ripe. Most vegetables need to be prepared in to their edible portions. For example, green beans need to be stringed, p the tops and bottoms of the root vegetables need to be removed, while broccoli and brussel sprouts need to cut apart, etc.
The first step in freezing fresh vegetables is to blanch them first. Wash them thoroughly in clean tap water. Depending on the size and type of vegetable, you have to immerse them in fast-boiling water or steam them for a required amount of time, in order to blanch them. The vegetables are then plunged into ice-cold water before they are drained and packed.
Blanching the vegetables before freezing minimizes their deterioration and you get to eat them fresh and in the same condition once they emerge from the freezer. Broccoli or beans give the best results for blanching as it seems to improve and enhance their flavor too.
The second method for blanching is the steam method, where a steamer is used which fits onto the top of the pot. When the water in the pot below begins to boil, then the vegetables are placed in the steamer. The steamer is covered with its lid and start timing.
Blanching times vary for different vegetables. Certain vegetables which are more solid will need to be blanched for more time than others and can range from a minute to a few minutes. Once you have blanched the vegetables, drain them and pack them in polythene bags or plastic containers. It’s a good idea to label them before placing them into the freezer. Frozen vegetables will keep fresh for up to six months but take care not to overcook or over blanch them.