It’s the time of year that garden is producing more than your family can eat and so preparing your veggies for the freezer will give you great satisfaction in storing up food for the winter! If you don’t have a garden, consider stocking up on that fresh locally grown food you can purchase at farmer’s markets.
Freezing is a great alternative to canning if you have the freezer space. Blanching and freezing locks in as much nutritive value as you can possibly get next to eating fresh from the garden. Canning takes a lot of equipment, lots of time, and poses some risk for botulism if done improperly. Freezing, however, is safe, simple, easy, and quick.
The steps to getting a package of cooked vegetable into your freezer for the winter are as follows:
- Wash and cut up your vegetable.
2. Ideally use a steamer or stock pot to place your cut veggies in. This allows you to immediately pull out the veggies without draining the boiling water.
3. Get your water to a rolling boil. I usually put the lid on the pot to get it to boil faster.
4. Place the steamer with your veggies inside the pot of boiling water, cover and boil for 3-4 minutes (check a cookbook for accuracy of the timing for the particular veggie you’re doing, but usually it’s 3 minutes). You don’t want to overcook or you’ll lose nutritional value and you’ll end up with mushy vegetables that won’t freeze well.
5. While that’s boiling, fill your clean and sanitized sink with cold water and add ice cubes. When your timer goes off, immediately take your steamer out of the pot and plunge it into your icy water. This stops the cooking process.
6. The last step is to put the vegetables into freezer bags. Label them with the name of the veggie (because you know you’ll ask yourself in 6 months, “What is this?”) as well as the date (not good to keep more than 18 months).
Your water is still boiling so do another batch!
There it is! There’s something very satisfying, very cave-womanesque about storing up food for your family for the winter.