Basic freezing steps

Yield: 1 servings

Measure Ingredient


Most vegetables take well to freezing. And when your garden produces an extra big crop of zucchini or tomatoes, for example, you can also cook up and freeze batches of spaghetti sauce, soup, zucchini bread, and other hearty dishes.

It's a good idea to read through the whole recipe before you begin preparing foods for freezing. Follow the directions exactly, and don't try to shortcut or skip any steps. A few recipes don't call for blanching -- except in these instances, you must always blanch vegetables before freezing and the recipes will specify for how long.

Similarly, if no head space is specified, you can assume that the food will not expand during freezing.

Preparing vegetables for the freezer isn't too difficult from preparing them for dinner. However, you must always follow the freezing recipes exactly. The recipes usually give you specific instructions for each vegetable, but here is a summary of the basic steps.

1. Check your freezer's size and estimate how much food you can freeze in a 24 hour period (3 pounds of food for each cubic foot of space), then check the recipe for the vegetable you want to freeze to see how much to pick for a single preparation session.

2. Select tender, young, fresh vegetables that are unblemished.

3. Wash vegetables well in plenty of cold water, scrubbing with a brush whenever necessary. Lift the vegetables out of the water to drain. Don't let them stand in water any longer than necessary, because they lose nutrients. Sort by size and handle like sizes together for even heating and cooling.

4. Put 1 gallon of water (2 gallons for greens) in the blancher; cover, and place it over high heat.

5. Prepare the sink or dish pan full of ice cubes and ice water.

6. Cut or prepare the vegetables, about 1 pound or 4 cups at a time, as the recipe directs.

7. Put 1 pound of prepared vegetables in the blancher's insert and lower it into rapidly boiling water. Keep the heat high. Cover and begin timing immediately.

8. When the time is up, remove the cover, lift the blancher's insert up out of the blancher for a few seconds to drain, then immediately put the insert of vegetables into ice water.

9. Keep vegetables in the ice water for about the same length of time as they were in the boiling water, or until cold. Stirring will help cool the vegetables faster.

10. Lift the vegetables from the ice water and drain them well in a colander, sieve, or on paper towels.

11. Pack into containers, bags, or freeze on trays.

12. Label each package with contents, number of servings, and date frozen. You might also wish to list an expiration date.

13. Freeze, following the directions for quick freezing or any special manufacturer's directions for your freezer.

14. Most vegetables will keep for 12 months at zero degrees F.

Source: Vegetable Gardening Encyclopedia Typos by Dorothy Flatman 1995 Submitted By DOROTHY FLATMAN On 09-28-95

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