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© 2015 Shanna Lea
The easiest fruits and vegetables to freeze are the ones you grow yourself or buy locally. You can save money by picking your produce at the peak of ripeness and then quickly freeze your harvest. Fruits that are the easiest to freeze are bananas, peaches, berries, apples, nectarines, cherries and grapes.
How to Freeze Fruit
Most fruit needs to be washed and checked for damaged spots. Just cut away these areas and cut the fruit into the desired size. If you are freezing whole fruit like berries or grapes, spread them out on a tray to freeze. Then put them in plastic baggies for storage.
How to Freeze Vegetables
Most vegetables need to be blanched to stop the active enzymes or they will continue to ripen and spoil, even while frozen. To blanch, wash and trim the vegetables, then submerge them in boiling water for a short time. The time varies with each type of vegetable. You can find charts for blanching times online or in a canning book. I’ve always relied on my favorite food preserving book “Stocking Up” for freezing and canning food processing times.
After the time is up, immerse the vegetables in ice water to stop the blanching. Then dry and spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet that fits in the freezer. After the veggies are frozen, put them in freezer containers for storage in the freezer. They will keep up to six months to a year. To use, thaw them to eat raw, or steam or boil for recipes. Vegetables that freeze well are peas, asparagus, green beans, broccoli and corn.
Tips for Freezing Fruits and Vegetables
Some fruits and vegetables have a high water content and the cells will burst during freezing, leaving the food texture less desirable when thawed. For example, zucchini won’t stay firm, but is still good to add to soups. Tomatoes and leafy greens like Swiss chard, kale and spinach are the same, and should be chopped before freezing. Use these for soups or smoothies. Peppers and onions will be limp when thawed but are still good for cooking.
Freezing fruits and vegetables preserves vitamin and mineral content that is destroyed by canning. It’s a quick way to preserve an abundant harvest and keep the taste of fresh produce well into winter.