Freezing Vegetables: You can do it yourself!
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Let’s talk about fresh vegetables. They are healthy, wholesome, & delicious but sometimes you just can’t eat them before they go bad. I’m here to say, don’t let them go to waste and save yourself some money by freezing your own!
This especially comes in handy when seasonal vegetables go on sale (I’m looking at you 25 cent corn cobs!) or when your own garden is yielding a lot of produce. Just take a second to think about all those times your tomatoes or mushrooms went squishy in the fridge because you didn’t eat them in time and you had to throw them out. You are essentially throwing away your money!
Here is a quick guide on how to freeze your own vegetables, but there are bigger & more thorough resources out there so make sure to check them out, too.
The base of freezing MOST vegetables is to clean, cut, & blanch them. Blanching is when you get a pot of water boiling and throw in the veggies for a few minutes. This helps to clean the vegetable & to stop the enzyme actions that cause them to decay. Blanching times differ for each vegetable & it is super important to NOT under blanch them because it can jump start the enzyme action instead of stopping it.
I found myself with an abundance of eggplant, carrot, mushroom, & sweet potato (thanks to my amazing gardening team of mom & stepdad!) and I knew our household would not be able to eat them all before they started going bad. I decided to take a morning to prep & freeze those bad boys so I can use them in the future.
First, let’s take a look at eggplant. I had two versions; the ‘normal’ kind & Japanese long eggplant. I enjoy making eggplant parmesan, so with the normal eggplant I washed and sliced them. Then I blanched them for four minutes & cooled them with ice water. The ice water stops them from cooking in their own heat.
Next, I went ahead and breaded them so they are ready to go into the oven or hot oil. Then, lay them out in a single layer of freezer or wax paper, wrap, & put into a freezer bag.
With the Japanese long eggplant, I washed & chopped them into similar size pieces. Then blanched for 4 minutes, cooled, drained & packed into a freezer bag. Make sure to get out as much air as possible. These will go great into a soup!
I did the same thing for carrots because honestly, I do not eat a lot of fresh carrots but I do like them for stews & soups! All you need to do is wash, cut off the ends, & slice into your preferred size; there is no need to peel them. Then blanch (4 minutes for my cut), cool, drain, & pack!
Third, I went for the mushrooms. With mushrooms you can steam blanch them or cook them. I went for the cooking method by washing and cutting them into even sized pieces. Then I sauteed them with onion slices, minced garlic, & black pepper. Once it cooked and cooled, I bagge them in a freezer zipper bag to use as a burger or steak topping in the future.
Lastly, I had some sweet potatoes that needed to be preserved. There are several methods to freeze sweet potatoes, but I went with the method that needed the least prep. I washed each potato, preheated the oven to 350 degrees & baked them for an hour (or until they are just soft to the touch). Turn off oven and let them sit in there for another hour. Once cool, wrap each one individually in foil, pack in a freezer bag, & freeze! They are now ready to go when you need them. You can place them in the oven to warm to have a baked sweet potato or peel them and have mashed sweet potatoes!
There are so many other vegetables you can freeze that are not shown here. I highly recommend it for your household!
Let me know you’re favorite vegetable to freeze in the comments below!