Today’s guest post is perfectly timed with all our down under gardens full of produce with it being the middle of summer and all. Thanks Allison for this informative guest post I know I’ll refer back to it often as I’m storing summer vegetables for winter. All photos are taken by me and are my produce from last season.
Blanching is the process of briefly cooking produce so that you can freeze them without losing the colour or flavour. You boil the vegetables for a short time and then stop the cooking process by placing them in ice water. Many vegetables can be preserved by blanching and freezing for up to a year or longer. However not all produce is alike. Many vegetables require longer periods of blanching to preserve while some do not require it at all.
Here is a simple guide on blanching times for some vegetables:
Artichoke Hearts – While I love artichokes it can be a pain to go through the process of cleaning them up to be eaten. If you have grown a bunch or found a great sale you can easily prepare and freeze them for later use. Artichoke hearts must be blanched for seven minutes.
Artichoke, Jerusalem – Another type of artichoke, this vegetable does not need as much cooking time. It only takes three to five minutes to prepare this vegetable for freezing.
Asparagus – One of my favorites and a long term gardening project, you want to be sure to preserve your asparagus and reap the benefits of your labor. It takes two to four minutes to blanch asparagus.
Beans: Snap, Green, or Wax – Although these types of beans do not have to be blanched before they are frozen it helps to preserve their colour. To blanch beans you need to only submerge them in boiling water for three minutes.
Beans : Lima, Butter, or Pinto – A different type of bean, these do require blanching. Cook them for two to four minutes depending on the size.
Beets – This root vegetable cannot simply be blanched before freezing. Instead it is best to cook it completely before you freeze it.
Broccoli – Green and beautiful, broccoli does not have to be blanched before freezing but it helps to preserve the colour. Cut it up in the proper size and blanch for three minutes before freezing.
Brussels Sprouts – These tasty tiny cabbages must be blanched before freezing. Simply cook for three to five minutes depending on the size.
Cabbage or Chinese (Napa) Cabbage – Providing that you have shredded the cabbage, you can freeze it without blanching. However the colour is best preserved by blanching for one and a half minutes.
Carrots – Whether you diced or sliced your carrots you need to blanch them before freezing. Cook for two minutes and then freeze.
Cauliflower – Another vegetable that goes bad fast on me, this one must be blanched before freezing. Chop or break it up and then cook it for three minutes.
Celery – Who knew you could freeze celery? It only takes three minutes to blanch it before it can be successfully frozen.
Corn, Whole – You can freeze whole corn without blanching, but it is best to blanch it to preserve the colour. First shuck the corn and then cook it for seven to eleven minutes before freezing.
Corn Kernels – Once corn has be removed from the cob it must be blanched. Cook for four minutes before laying out to freeze. Then pour into a freezer bag for easy storage and use.
Eggplant – This purple vegetable is easy to freeze. Simply peel and cut into slices or chunks. Then blanch for four minutes before freezing.
Greens: Collard, Mustard or Turnip – Freezing greens is a snap and keeps them looking beautiful. First wash the greens well and then blanch for two to three minutes. Drain well but do not worry about getting them completely dry. Some moisture is good for freezing. It is best to chop them after cooking and then lay out to freeze.
Onions – For best results, slice the onion into rings before blanching. Cook for only ten to fifteen seconds! You can also chop and freeze them without blanching first.
Peas: Green – For peas that are removed from the pod you should shell them and then blanch them for one and a half minutes. Then lay out flat to freeze before pouring into a freezer bag. Blanching also helps them to stay green.
Peas: Snow or Other Edible Pod– For peas that stay in the pod you should blanch them for one and a half to three minutes before freezing. Blanching also helps them to stay green.
Peppers: Bell or Other – Bell peppers are a family favorite and are included in many recipes. You can freeze halves for stuffed peppers or cut it into strips or chop it for other recipes. Peppers do not need to be blanched first but it helps to retain their color. If you will not be cooking with them, then don’t blanch them. To blanch peppers submerge them in the boiling water for two minutes.
Pumpkin – A holiday favorite for pies and other treats, pumpkin should always be cooked completely before freezing. From puree to chunks, cook it first.
Rutabagas (Swede) – Although rare in my dishes, rutabagas can be frozen. Blanch for three minutes before freezing.
Soybeans – I love the flavour of soybeans or edamame! You need to blanch them to retain their colour and flavour. Cook for five minutes before freezing.
Squash, Summer – Just like zucchini, I love to use summer squash shredded or diced for stir fry. You can freeze it without blanching, but if you cook it for three minutes it helps to retain the colour and makes it easier to include it in your recipes.
Squash, Winter – Like pumpkin, winter squash should be cooked completely before freezing.
Sweet Potatoes – Another treat you did not realize could be frozen, sweet potatoes need to be cooked first. They can be left whole or cut into pieces before freezing.
Turnips or Parsnips – These unusually flavoured root vegetables are best frozen when cubed. Blanch for two minutes and then lay out to freeze before bagging.
Hopefully this list has been of help to you in your quest to freeze your vegetables before they go bad. If you found a great deal at the store, want seasonal produce out of season, or grow your own vegetables then freezing is a great way to preserve what you need. Just be sure to do it right so you can enjoy all the great flavours later.
Author Byline: Blogging was a natural progression for Allison once she graduated from college, as it allowed her to combine her two passions: writing and children. She has enjoyed furthering her writing career with nanny classifieds. She can be in touch through e-mail allisonDOTnannyclassifiedsATgmail.