Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Frozen Vegetables

Last year I decided to freeze some of the sweet corn available at my local farmers market so we could enjoy it in the winter. I cut the kernels off of about 8 ears of corn, packed it into a ziploc bag and stored it in my refrigerators freezer.
I had good intentions...but did I really think one little bag of frozen corn was going to last very long??
I probably froze it in late August and I'm pretty sure the bag was gone by October. Oops.

This year is going much better! We invested in a large upright freezer (I think it's about 12 cubic feet) and have been stocking up on vegetables like they're going out of style.
Broccoli, zucchini, corn, green beans, peas, and cauliflower are just some of the vegetables we've begun freezing.
Obviously frozen vegetables have somewhat of a limited range of use once thawed but they'll be great in soups, curries, stir frys, and pasta sauce, to name a few.

Here are some tips for successful frozen veggies:

- Only use unblemished perfect produce. If it's starting to become overripe, don't bother freezing it.
- Clean veggies well.
- Prep the veggies as you would if you were about to cook them. Trim beans, shell peas, chop broccoli, etc. They should be completely ready for use straight from the freezer.
- Remove as much air as possible from freezer bags.
- Label bags with name and date.
- Dry veggies thoroughly after washing or blanching.
-Vegetables that should be blanched include corn, peas, broccoli, cauliflower and leafy greens. Green beans, peppers and zucchini can be frozen raw.

To blanch, place prepared veggies in a colander over a pot of boiling water. Blanch for 3-5 minutes (or until produce colour just becomes bright, but not fully cooked). Toss blanched veggies in an bowl of ice water to stop cooking. Drain well and pat dry.

For more information on preserving food by freezing check out "The Beginners Guide to Preserving Food at Home" by Janet Chadwick.

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