It’s my 100th post!  That went by way too fast!  Also, to my readers.. So sorry for the lack of updates these past few weeks.  This past week in particular, was well… full of life’s unexpected moments.  Praise the Lord for family and friends :) Anyway’s, back to preserving!

Have you ever frozen any vegetables and pulled them out 3 months later to find that they look horrible and quite honestly taste like cardboard? This is the work of enzymes and why it is so important to blanch (boil quickly) before freezing them. After so much labor in the garden, it’s well worth the few extra minutes in the kitchen to blanch your veggies for the long winter ahead of us.

Vegetables, as they come from the garden or your farmers market, have enzymes working in them. These break down vitamin C in a short time and convert sugar into starch. By freezing your vegetables they only slow down the process, however, they are stopped by the blanching process. By blanching you will preserve your vegetables taste, texture, color, and nutrients.

Steps to Follow for Freezing Vegetables

  1. Pick young, tender vegetables for freezer storage. Avoid bruised, damaged, or overripe vegetables.

  2. Line up everything you will need for blanching and freezing before you start.  Time and speed is of the essence when holding on to freshness, taste and nutrients.

    What you will need:

    • Large pot with boiling water
    • Large bowl with ice water or placed underneath running cold water
    • Towels to dry vegetables
    • ziplock freezer bags or other suitable freezer containers

  3. Vegetables should be cleaned, cut and then blanched.  As a general rule, use at least a gallon of water to each pound of vegetable, preheated to boiling point in a covered pot.  When you plunge your vegetables into the boiling water, start timing when the water returns to a boil.

  4. Cool quickly to stop the cooking process.  Veggies that are not cooled quickly are overblanched and show a loss of color, taste, texture and nutrients.  Plunge your blanched vegetables immediately into cold water, ice water, or cold running water.

  5. Towel dry and package at once in freezer bags or suitable containers.

 So, what can I blanch and how long does it take?

Artichokes
Select small artichokes or artichoke hearts.  Cut off the top of the bud and trim the thorny end down to a cone.  Wash and blanch for 8 minutes.
Asparagus
Wash, cut and blanch for 4 minutes.
Beans
Wash, snip ends, cut and blanch for 3 minutes.
Beans, Lima
Wash and blanch for 2 minutes.  Drain and shell.  Rinse shelled beans in cold water before freezing.
Broccoli
Rinse, peel and trim.  Blanch in boiling water for 2-4 minutes.  (If there is a chance that the tiny green cabbage worm has invaded the buds, soak in cold salt water for 10 -15 minutes.  Rinse well and pick over.  Rinse, peel, trim and blanch.)
Brussels Sprouts
Pick only green buds. Rinse and trim, cutting off outer leaves.  Blanch in boiling water for 4 minutes.
Cabbage
Trim off outer leaves.  Shred for tight packing of cut into wedges.  Blanch shredded cabbage for 1 1/2 minutes.  Blanch wedges in boiling water for 3 minutes. 
Carrots
Trim, wash, peel and blanch in boiling water for 2 – 3 minutes.  (smaller pieces, 2 minutes; larger pieces, 3 minutes)
Cauliflower
Wash and break into florets.  Peel and split stems.  Blanch in boiling water for 3 minutes. (If there is a chance that the tiny green cabbage worm has invaded the buds, soak in cold salt water for 10 -15 minutes.  Rinse well and pick over.  Rinse, peel, trim and blanch.)
Corn
Pick ears as soon as they ripen.  Natural sugars in corn turn to starch quickly after ripening, so good timing is critical.  To blanch whole ears of corn, blanch 3 at a time in boiling water for 6 – 8 minutes.  Cool and pack seperately, or pack together enough for one meal.  Ears can be wrapped in freezer paper, a double layer of aluminum foil, or in plastic freezer bags.   If you are freezing cut corn, blanch with kernels on the cob first.  Follow above blanching directions.  Then cool and remove the kernels from the cob with a sharp knife or corn cutter.
Greens
Clean leaves and blanch in boiling water for 2 minutes.  Cool and chop, if dersired, before freezing.
Kohlrabi and Rutabagas
Wash and trim off trunk.  Peel and slice or dice into 1/2 inch pieces or smaller.  Blanch in boiling water for 3 minutes.
Leeks
Leeks do not need to be blanched.  Just slice and freeze!
Okra
Wash and cut off stems.  Blanch in boiling water for 2 – 3 minutes.
Onions
Onions do not need to be blanched.  Just peel, slice and freeze!
Parsnips
Choose smooth roots, woody roots should not be frozen.  Remove tops, wash and peel.  Cut into slices or chunks.  Blanch in boiling water for 3 minutes.
Peas
For podded peas, pick when seeds become plump and pods are rounded.  Shell but do not wash.  Freeze the same day they are harvested, as sugar is rapidly lost at room temperature.  Discard immature and tough peas.  Sugar or snow peas can be harvested any time before the pods fill out.  Blanch both types of peas in boiling water for 2 minutes.
Peppers
Peppers do not need to be blanched.  Just clean, slice and freeze!
Tomatoes
Tomatoes do not need to be blanched.  Freeze whole tomatoes on baking sheets and, when frozen, store them in plastic bags.  The skins will peel off when they are defrosted!
Turnips
Cut off tops, wash, peel and slice.  Blanch in boiling water for 2 1/2 minutes.
Zuchinni and Summer Squash
Clean, Slice and blanch in boiling water for 3-4 minutes.  You can also shred zuchinni or summer squash.  If shredded, it does not need to be blanched.
So that’s my list so far of vegetables that can be blanched and frozen.  If I’m missing anything, please let me know.  Have you frozen anything this year?  Isn’t it a great feeling to take out fresh, local veggies long after they’ve gone out of season!  Always brings a smile to my face :)


22 Responses to My 100th Post! Freezing Vegetables – Blanching

  1. Simply Life says:

    Wow, thanks for all the helpful hints and congrats on 100 great posts!

  2. Cedar City Arnold Fam says:

    Any tips for potatoes? My sister-in-laws just got 100 lbs and were talking about ways of preserving them. Thanks~Karyn

  3. girlichef says:

    Awesome, informative post Diana! Thank you so much for all the great information :D Congrats on 100!

  4. Cookin' Canuck says:

    Congratulations on your 100th post! This is an excellent, informative post on freezing. Thanks so much for the great information. Just one question – after the blanching and cooling the veggies, should they be dried before placing in freezer bags?

  5. Diana Bauman says:

    Thanks for the great comments :)

    Karyn – Potatoes prefer to be stored in a root cellar or cold basement. I know many people these days don't have either so there are a few methods of preparing potatoes to be stored. I found a great link for you to check out! It will take a bit more effort but I'm sure totally worth it :)

    http://www.ehow.com/how_4597270_can-freeze-potatoes.html

    CC, Thanks for pointing that out! Yes, they do need to be towel dried before freezing :)

  6. Chow and Chatter says:

    congrats on your 100th post, great tips i feel you have really come into your own and found your niche with this blog, lol Rebecca

  7. Erica says:

    Congratulations on your 100th post!

  8. Arabic Bites says:

    Congratulations on your 100th post diana.
    Great post.
    Always love to learn a new things from your blog ;)

  9. Elin says:

    Hi Diana,

    Thanks for the information on how to freeze veggies. This is so enlightening. And Happy 100th post and many more to come. I love your blog and hope to be able to drop in more often.

    Best Wishes,
    Elin

  10. Liz says:

    Congratulations Diana! I really love your blog!
    This guide is very useful, I take note… Thanks!
    Have a great week and Besos,
    Liz

  11. Ruth says:

    Excellent tips Diana! And great to see you back. I have had problems with my Internet so I cant quite keep up at the moment but I do hope all is well with you and huge Congrats on the 100th post!!!!!!

  12. Tasty Eats At Home says:

    What a helpful post! Definitely bookmarking this. Congrats on 100 posts!

  13. Jessie says:

    I freeze my veggies as well! It saves so much time and money. Very informative for those looking to freeze their produce

  14. bella says:

    This was such an informative post and congratulations on you 100th post!!! Roz

  15. Velva says:

    Congratulations on your 100th post!

    I am saving this post too! This is great freezing advice.

  16. Andrea@WellnessNotes says:

    Great tips! Thanks for sharing!

    Congratulations on 100 posts!

  17. 5 Star Foodie says:

    Excellent guide for freezing vegetables! Congrats on the 100th post!

  18. pixen says:

    Thank you for sharing the list of wonderful ideas and tips! Really appreciated them since Summer's gone!

  19. Brie: Le Grand Fromage says:

    Congrats on Post 100! This is very helpful and something I'll be using for sure!

  20. lululu says:

    congraz!!!!
    thanks for the wonderful tip!
    first time to visit your blog, love your profile photo.

  21. Kristen says:

    Congrats on 100 great posts!! I just hit the century mark as well ;-).

    Have a wonderful weekend!

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