Preserving the Bounty: 5 Favorite Veggies for Freezing
Freezing your garden produce is a great way to preserve some of the excess. However, some vegetables freeze better than others. Here are some of the best veggies for freezing for later use…
When your garden is producing more fresh veggies than you can eat in a week – let alone a day – what do you do with all the excess?
There are lots of things you can do with extra vegetables, but one great idea is freezing them for future use. Not only will you save money on purchasing veggies during the winter months, but you will also have the pride of knowing you are providing food for your family year-round. Plus, you’ll know that your frozen vegetables are safe and organically grown!
This is also a great idea for vegetables that you get through your CSA and can’t eat up right away, or for saving money when you see a great sale on a large quantity of produce at the farmer’s market.
However, some vegetables freeze better than others, so knowing which ones do well in the freezer is helpful. Below are some of our favorite veggies for freezing, plus some tips for preserving them properly:
If you want to freeze Brussels sprouts, you will first need to remove the outer leaves, then trim the stems. You can then take the individual sprouts and cut them in halves or quarters. They are usually a little too big to freeze as whole sprouts. Blanch for about 3 minutes in boiling water, then cool quickly in ice water and drain, and pack into containers or freezer bags to freeze.
Carrots are a great veggie for freezing and are very handy in many recipes. When you are ready to cook them, you can quickly steam them to thaw, or microwave them if you prefer (I prefer not to microwave my precious veggies!)
To freeze carrots, first, peel them, then slice or dice into small pieces. Blanch for 2 minutes in boiling water, then cool in ice water, drain well, and place in freezer containers or bags.
Many dark, leafy green vegetables can be frozen, including kale, spinach, and chard. For all of these vegetables, you should remove any ribs or stems, then either freeze whole or chop them. Blanch them for about 1 minute in boiling water, then shock in ice water, press out the water in a colander, and pack into freezer-safe containers.
Depending on how you will use them, the frozen greens can be lightly steamed or microwaved to thaw, or chopped and thrown still frozen into soups or stews.
Peppers of all kinds are extremely easy to freeze, and they require no blanching. Frozen peppers can be used in soups, stews, sauces, or casseroles, or roasted and stuffed for various recipes or added to sandwiches.
Wash your peppers and remove the seeds, then slice, cut in half, or freeze whole in freezer bags or containers. Small hot peppers like jalapenos are great frozen whole, and poblanos may be stemmed, seeded, and frozen whole for stuffing in chili rellenos.
Peppers and tomatoes are my all-time favorite veggies for freezing! Tomatoes are super easy, as all you need to do is wash them, chop to your preferences, and place them in freezer bags. Squeeze out all the air, lay the bags flat for easy storage, and freeze. If you prefer your tomatoes peeled, you can also wash and freeze tomatoes whole. When they thaw, the skins will easily slip off, and then they can be chopped and tossed into soups, stews, sauces, and more, and will bring a lovely fresh flavor to your winter dishes.