Tag Archives: freezing veggies

Freezing Fall Veggies

veggie blancherHearty vegetables from fall and winter gardens can’t all be canned. You can still preserve some of these nutritious veggies though, by freezing them!

Before putting fresh veggies into a freezer, be sure you blanch them. Blanching method and time will vary based on type of vegetable.

We don’t recommend canning broccoli, but it is easy to blanch and freeze broccoli.

You could pickle Brussels sprouts, or if you want to taste them as is, try freezing Brussels sprouts.

Carrots may be canned, pickled, or frozen to produce high-quality final products.

You can also choose to can cubed winter squash or pumpkin, but if you want to preserve it mashed or as a puree, your only option is to freeze it. Directions for freezing pumpkin are only a little bit different from freezing winter squash.

We also do not have recommendations for canning eggplant, but it is simple to freeze eggplant (directions include how to freeze it for frying later).

Fresh, Not Frozen

frozen lettuceSome foods just don’t freeze as well as others. Why not? Crispy, crunchy fruits and veggies like celery, lettuce, cucumbers, and apples that we usually eat raw are more likely to disappoint when frozen because they will be much softer and limp when thawed. These foods have high water content combined with fragile cell walls in their tissue, and when they are frozen the water expands, breaking cell walls and turning the texture to mush. Similarly, citrus fruits, watermelon, grapes, and tender-leafed herbs like basil also become unpleasantly mushy after thawing. (Frozen grapes, however, are worth trying as a sweet frozen treat, yum!)

Cooking fruits and vegetables also softens cell walls, so foods that we are used to eating cooked are good candidates for freezing, such as tomatoes (so long as you aren’t planning to slice them onto a sandwich after freezing).

High-starch vegetables like corn, peas, and lima beans are less affected by textural changes from freezing.DSC_0122

Undesirable flavor changes also occur in some foods when they are frozen. Green peppers and garlic become overly strong and even bitter, whereas onion tends to lose flavor. Spices and seasonings may also be affected; for example, cloves, pepper, and celery seasoning get stronger and bitter, curry develops and off-flavor, and salt loses flavor. Adding salt also runs the risk of increasing rancidity if added to foods containing fat. To avoid these flavor changes, season prepared foods when reheating for serving instead of prior to freezing, or just season them lightly before freezing.

For much more information about freezing foods, visit the NCHFP website, General Freezing Information.