Sunday, July 24, 2011

Preserving: Freezing vegetables

With our storage room all set up and the freezer running efficiently (estimated $37 worth of annual electricity usage), we are in prime freezing mode right now.

There are many sources on freezing vegetables to refer to; we use Seymour's Self-Sufficient Gardener and The Joy of Cooking. As Seymour writes: "all fruit and vegetables should go to the freezer as soon as they are harvested. To leave them sitting about allows the sugars to start turning into starches and thereby the flavor is lost." So right from our garden harvest, we cold water rinse, blanch, flash cool and pack our vegetables. The JC gives appropriate blanching times for vegetables. Here are the ones we've tried or plan on trying this season:

Beans, green - 2.5 min
Beans, broad in pod - 4 min
Beet greens - 2.5 min
Beets, small - until tender
Broccoli - 3-4.5 min
Brussels sprouts - 3-4.5 min
Cabbage, leaf or shredded - 1.5 min
Carrots, sliced - 3 min
Celery, diced - 3 min
Chard - 2.5 min
Chinese cabbage, shredded - 1.5 min
Collards - 2.5 min
Kale - 2.5 min
Mustard greens - 2.5 min
Parsnips - 2 min
Peas, green - 1.5-2.5 min
Peppers - 2 min
Spinach - 2.5 min
Pumpkin, pureed - until tender
Squash, summer, sliced - 3 min
Squash, winter, pureed - until tender
Turnip greens - 2.5
Turnips, diced - 3 min

Once the vegetables have been blanched, cooled and packed, we use Seymour's tip of sucking out the air using a drinking straw (rather than buying a vacuum sealer). Yesterday, although the hottest day on record in our area, we harvested our collards after we noticed some pest damage and ended up with 40 packed cups worth. We even saved the stems and may try pickling them.

Who doesn't think frozen veggies are far superior to canned?

1 comment:

  1. Hey Jason!

    Just checking in. Really like what you are doing. Best of luck, especially with the freezing in this weather!