This summer I planted a garden for the first time and was overwhelmed by the amount of zucchini that grew. I knew right away that we would never eat it all. I also knew that a great way to not let it go to waste would be to freeze it. Freezing Fruit and Vegetables is a great way to save!
So, Why Should YOU Freeze Produce?
If you don’t have your own garden, you may notice certain times of the year, prices on specific fruit and veggies go down. That’s because it’s in peak season- and that’s the time to stock up! Another time to stock up is when you find great manager’s special markdowns. Freezing produce for you family can save you money, help with food prep in the future and gives your family great “fresh” produce all year round. Now you know you want to freeze produce for your family, but are wondering how to do it.
Here are some Tips for Freezing Vegetables and Fruit.
Freezing Produce Prep
- First be sure to wash all pieces and dry them thoroughly.
- Have freezer containers on hand. You can choose to use freezer specific storage baggies, plastic containers that seal tight or vacuum sealer bags. I personally use grocery store bought freezer baggies- with my own DIY vacuum sealer method (a straw to suck air out)! 😉
- You will also need freezer space. I have a separate deep freezer in my garage. As I mention in my Realistic Stockpiling post, it’s a hand-me-down avocado green, but it works great!
Techniques for Freezing Produce
- Flash Freezing: This technique is generally best for fruit. It will help you avoid the one big lump of frozen produce mess. To flash freeze, lay the items out on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer. When they have just frozen, take out and place in your tight sealing container. This way your berries, bananas or strips of green peppers will be in individual pieces not that big frozen clump
- Raw vs. Cooked: Generally speaking, fruit is best frozen raw as are most veggies. However there are some vegetable that are better “blanched” first. To blanch a vegetable, place it in a pot of water. Just when the water begins to boil, take out the vegetables and place them under cold water. This will help retain the sugars and nutrients in the vegetable. Corn, for instance, it best blanched and then cut off the cob.
- Meal Prep Packets: Another way to freeze your produce is in easy meal prep packets. For instance, we love chili in the winter. So I chop up the recipe amount of onions, red and green peppers and freeze them all together in one bag. Then they are ready to throw in the crock pot! Also when I am making asparagus as a side dish, I will cut the bottoms off in thin sliced pieces and freeze them. These are great added into any soup, casserole or sauce recipe (shhh, the kiddos won’t even know they are there).
Favorite Fruits and Vegetables to Freeze
- Asparagus slices
- Bananas (see more tips!)
If you are wondering when specific produce is in season, I have created a little printable cheat sheet so you can know what fruits and vegetables are in season and when. What’s In Season- Produce Guide Printable I would love to hear about your experience in freezing fruit and vegetables. Do you make amazing fruit smoothies? Is there another veggie you freeze that I should try? And let me tell you, my kiddos LOVE frozen grapes. They say it’s like eating little popsicles (only much better for them!)