Fresh vegetables straight from the garden has the most flavor and nutrients. If you have more vegetables than you can eat at harvest time, you can freeze them for the winter to preserve flavor and nutritional value.
Fruits and vegetables lose flavor and freshness quickly once they are picked. To capture the best flavor, prepare and freeze them immediately after harvest.
Wash vegetables in cold water and check for any insect damage or soft spots. Trim away leaves or stalks, then pare and cut into bite-size pieces. Vegetables like corn can be frozen whole. Prepare vegetables so they are ready to add to your favorite recipes.
Fill a large kettle with water and bring to a rolling boil. Place the vegetables into the boiling water and return to a rolling boil. Allow to blanch for two to three minutes. Individual needs vary. Always check the blanching times for the vegetable you are freezing. (See resources below.)
Prepare a large bowl with ice water. A tray or two of ice cubes added to cold water from the tap is fine.
Remove the vegetables from the boiling water with a slotted spoon or drain in a colander.
Plunge vegetable pieces into the bowl of cold water and chill until vegetables are cold in the center. Allow vegetables to sit in cold water the same amount of time they were blanched in boiling water.
Drain vegetables and pat dry with a soft cloth or paper towels. Place in zippered freezer bags and freeze.
Things You Will Need
- Large kettle
- Large bowl
- Zippered freezer bags