Preserving the Bounty

In addition to traditional canning (which we do when there are lots of tomatoes!), there are several other ways to make the most of your bounty of produce, including pickling; drying and dehydrating; brining, curing, and smoking; and freezing. Today, we’ll talk about freezing.

Freezing tips
Here are the steps for freezing green beans, dark green leafy vegetables, carrots, and broccoli:

  • Wash, peel, and prepare the vegetables according to their variety.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil and blanch the vegetables for several minutes, depending on their density.
  • Remove the vegetables from the cooking water and shock in ice water.
  • Drain the vegetables and package them in one or two layers in a freezer bag, removing as much air as possible.
  • Label, date, and freeze immediately.

What not to freeze
As wonderful as freezing is, it doesn’t work for everything. Here are some items that don’t freeze well:

  • Celery
  • Cucumbers
  • Green onions
  • Lettuce
  • Melon
  • Milk, cream, and yogurt
  • Radishes
  • Tomatoes (unless processed)

Avoiding freezer burn
Freezer burn happens when air reaches frozen food. While it’s not a food safety risk, it does reduce the quality of the food. So what can we do to prevent or reduce it?

  • Store foods to be frozen properly in airtight containers. Wrap foods tightly and/or be sure that seals are fully formed before transferring food to the freezer.
  • Reduce temperature fluctuations in your freezer. Open the freezer as little as possible, and don’t keep it open for extended periods of time.

I want to know more!
To learn more about freezing, or, if you’re inspired to try other preserving methods, check out the CIA’s Preserving. This thorough and accessible book gives you all the information, safety tips, and recipes you need to start canning, preserving, and pickling your own foods.

Excerpted and adapted in part from the CIA Preserving cookbook.

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