The plan this growing season for me is to can, freeze, preserve, and dehydrate fruits and vegetables we do not consume and have an abundance of (i.e. peak of tomato season where we have lots of tomatoes). This is a big endeavor for me since it will be my first time preserving what I grow. I have gotten a lot of books detailing how to preserve vegetables from your garden. I have been busily reading and noting what techniques to use. A great reference book I would recommend is Ball’s Complete Book of Home Preserving. It details every vegetable you can grow and how to preserve them. It’s an invaluable resource to any gardener who wants to pursue this adventure.
I have read a lot about preserving vegetables by blanching and freezing. Freezing is a great way to lock in nutrients. Blanching is the process of dropping your desired vegetable in boiling water for a set time (typically for 30 seconds to 3 minutes). After blanching, you will take the veggies out and place them in an ice bath consisting of water and ice cubes. After they have cooled, you can freeze them flat on a tray in the freezer before packaging. Since, you’re not completely cooking the vegetables you keep the nutrients and texture of the vegetables. Happy gardening everyone!
What you’ll need to freeze vegetables is simple:-desired vegetable you want to preserve -pot -water -bowl -ice water -bags (sandwhich or freezer) and/or small containers (1 quart) -freezer
Here’s a chart of vegetables that will do well freezing, when to freeze, and how to handle and store them:
|What to Freeze
| Time to Freeze
How to Freeze
|Berries||Spring to Fall||Wash your produce, air dry and freeze|
|Broccoli||Spring and Fall||Cut into bite-size pieces, blanch in boiling water for 30 seconds to 1 minute, cool in ice bath for 2 minutes, drain and freeze|
|Chard||Spring, Summer, and Fall||Blanch until wilted (several minutes) It will look like wilted spinach. Cool in ice bath, drain, and freeze in small batches|
|Edamame (soybeans)||Summer to Fall||Simmer pods in salted water for approximately 5 minutes. Cool in ice bath for 2 minutes, drain, and freeze|
|Peas||Spring to Fall||Blanch in boiling water for a minute. Cool in ice bath for 2 minutes, drain and freeze|
|Peppers||Summer to Fall||Slice, blanch in boiling water for 1 minute, cool in ice bath for 2 minutes, drain and freeze|
|Snap beans||Summer to Fall||Blanch in boiling water for a minute. Cool in ice bath for 2 minutes, drain and freeze|
|Spinach||Spring to Fall||Blanch until wilted (several minutes) Cool in ice bath, drain, and freeze in small batches|
|Sweet corn||Summer||Cut kernels from cobs, simmer in hot water for 2-3 minutes. Cool in ice bath, drain, and freeze in small batches|