Posts Tagged Broccoli

What Vegetables are Good for Freezing? Handling and Storage Ideas

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
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Seed Starting 2009

My new backyard

Our trees are going to be trimmed so more sunlight shines through!  The concrete block is going to get broken up and that’s where my veggie garden will reside! I can’t wait

I’m so excited to start seed starting this year. This year, we finally have our very own house and yard to garden in. I can not wait until we have the backyard finished so we can put in my veggie garden. I hope to have my plot done by next year so this year will mainly consist of gardening in the front yard and in various size pots.

Who says you can’t plant vegetables in the front yard? I plan on it! I have a couple of patches of dirt that are currently bare. Since the front of our house faces north and doesn’t get too much sun, I want to try some cool weather veggies like lettuce, radish, broccoli, cabbage, arrugula, bok choi, brussel sprouts, onions, and more.

I have already started the following flowers:

  • coleus
  • impatiens
  • bells of ireland
  • violas (Johnny jump ups…I believe)
  • 4 o clocks
  • sweet peas
  • hollyhock-pink and yellow varieties
  • shoofly
  • stocks
  • snapdragons (first ladie’s mix)
  • chinese lanterns

Here’s my list of veggies I’ve started from seed

  • Lettuce-bibb, romaine, lolla rossa, butterhead, black seeded simpson
  • arrugula
  • onion-pearl
  • swiss chard-rainbow mix
  • broccoli-calabrese
  • cabbage-savoy
  • cauliflower-snow white
  • bok choi
  • brussel sprouts-catskill
  • radish-early scarlett
  • radish-watermelon

Tomato seed starting:

  • supersweet 100s tomato
  • patio tomato
  • striped cavern tomato
  • san marzano tomato
  • jelly bean tomato
  • brandywine tomato
  • thessalonika tomato
  • marglobe tomato

Pepper seed starting:

  • fish peppers
  • kung pao peppers
  • nardello peppers
  • mini bell peppers
  • red ruffled peppers
  • sweet banana peppers
  • jalapeno peppers
  • California wonder peppers 

Eggplant seed starting:

  • little prince (Renee’s seeds)
  • rosa bianca eggplant (Renee’s seeds)
  • nadia eggplant (Renee’s seeds)

I have also started planting garlic cloves in pots too. I started planting seeds this Wednesday and to my surprise I already have some germination on my savoy cabbages and bibb lettuces! The weather in California is amazing. There is early morning fog and that burns off by 9:00 am and we get sun throughout the day. It warms up to around 60 degrees and cools to 35 degrees at night. However, the weather forecaster predicts some rain next week but for now we’re enjoying the weather!

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Garden Update 02-03-08

Package from Mary Ellen. Thanks Mary Ellen!!! (Click on picture for larger image)
The other day, I received a swap package from a fellow gardener named Mary Ellen. I’m part of a group called “Petal Pushers” which hosts its forum on Gardenweb. They host a monthly swap which consists of partners and you simply send them seeds and garden supplies. It’s a nice surprise every month since everyone gives different seeds to their partners. It’s like an anticipated present every month and you get the benefit of giving away your surplus/left over seeds to others who might be interested in them. I planted my eggplants yesterday. Last year, I didn’t get any eggplants although I did get a lot of pretty velvety leaves and some flowers. It was partly my fault because I had to housesit during the hottest times of the summer and didn’t have anyone to water my garden. After my house sitting days, I had to move apartments so everything had to go except for a select few plants. I hope I get tons of eggplants this year. I planted 8 plants so what are the chances I’ll get one productive plant? I hope I hope…


Seedlings Transplanted (cabbage) (Click on picture for larger image)

I transplanted some of my seedlings into their own individual pots on the 29th. I think they were getting crowded in my seed trays. I transplanted some cabbage, broccoli, swiss chard, bok choy, and a lot of lettuces. They’ll be ready to go out in 2 weeks. I plan on putting them in full sun since it’s still cool outside and temps are moderate (around 60 degrees). I don’t think they’ll get sun burnt or anything. I’ll just make sure to set them out in stages (i.e. slowly acclimate them to outside conditions).

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Garden Update 01-12-08

Seedlings (click on image for larger picture)

The seeds I planted earlier this week which include three types of lettuces (bibb, iceberg, black seeded simpson), bok choi, swiss chard, brussel sprouts (de cicco variety), radish with have all sprouted with the exception of the celery (tall variety).

Impatien Seedlings (click on image for larger picture)

My impatien seedlings are doing well and growing tall. In a couple of weeks, I’ll put them in a big pot so they can bloom for me. Impatiens are said to be great houseplants.

The other day when I was out running errands, I went to Lowes to get another storage bin and could not resist the temptation to go out to the garden center. I was surprised to what I saw there. It was wonderful, they had all their seed starting equipment (i.e. seed trays, soil, peat pellets, pots, and seeds) aligned neatly in the middle of the aisle. I then went outside to the actual garden area and there were so many blooming things which include primulas, geraniums, violas, cyclamens, and more. I happened across an aisle that had these shelves with all these distressed plants lined up and I could not resist taking a look. There was a sign on the shelf that said everything on the shelf was 75% off. I immediately got excited and found a Christmas cactus for a $1.00waiting to be picked up and given some tlc(the Lowes employees neglect these poor things). My new Christmas Cactus, which I call Fred, is sitting prettily on my desk at work under a fluorescent light that is on most of the day. I don’t know what color the blooms are but maybe I can get him to bloom by spring and see! I bought his sister Christmas Cactus a couple of months ago at Walmart for a couple of bucks and she’s a beauty. She blooms these glittery white flowers.

I then went to Walgreens to pick up some toiletry items and found in their ad that they were having a sale on their seeds 10 for $1.00 with coupon. These were the American Seed company variety which are cheap anyway but this was a deal I could not resist. The coupon limited a person to only 10 seeds. However, I have a contact at Walgreens who happens to be the manager and he allowed me to buy $5.00 worth of seeds. I have a variety of basil (sweet), sweet corn, California wonder bell peppers, daisies, sunflowers, zucchini, cucumber, morning glories, eggplant, squash, and more! If you’re too late for this sale, they typically sell their seeds for only $.20. I would personally wait until they come out with another coupon for 10 for $1.00 seed.

I then went to Walmart and they too had a selection of racks of seeds from the Walmart brand and Burpee. There are some on the burpee rack I’m interested in (specifically the supersweet 100s that I tried last year and it produced tons of tomatoes). There were some herbs I was eyeing too like (thyme, lime basil, and fennel). I’m just so excited to see all the garden things out so soon. I couldn’t wait til all the Christmas decor was moved out of the garden center and replaced with what is supposed to be there: gardening accoutrements. Walmart also had some 50% off sales on some of their houseplants. My husband pulled me away before I got a chance to pick one up but as I was being tugged away I saw that most of their pothos were on sale for $2.22, which originally went for $4.44. I might just have to take a little trip to Wally world in the near future! hehe. Well, that’s all for now. Check back next week for more gardening updates!

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Garden Update 12-31-07

Broccoli De Cicco Seedling (6 days)
I started some broccoli de Cicco, Cabbage Early Golden Acre, and Italian Parsley seeds today. The broccoli seed is from my own crop. The funny story about this one is that I started it last fall and it survived to the spring. In the spring, it began becoming leggy and it flowered. I kept it for awhile I neglected it. My husband saw this and decided to become its savior and put it in the ground. The broccoli survived and bloomed beautifully. I let it stay where it was, although, I needed the spot for a pepper plant. It grew and grew then I saw some seed pods so I let them dry. I collected it and this is the story of my first collected vegetable seed! If it weren’t for my husband, I wouldn’t have had the great experience of getting my first collected veggie seed. I pre-germinated some of the seeds and it worked.

The cabbage is called early golden acres I bought from American Seeds and the Italian parsley was from a trade (my first box trade). Parsley takes a while to germinate so I hope it works and maybe I’ll be able to collect seeds in the spring for my own future crops. I wasn’t planning on growing cabbage but I was inspired by this video I found on you tube where a gardener grew these big heads of cabbage. The video is from a you tube user called, beutifullady . This is one of her many videos which she calls: how does your garden grow. My plan is to grow 4 cabbages, 4 broccolis, and two containers full of Italian parsley. I recycled these ice cream cups from the grocery store. They’re the ice cream that has orange sherbert and vanilla ice cream mixed together. I used a hot nail to punch holes in the bottom. I recommend doing this in a well-ventilated area to prevent the horrible fumes.

Yesterday, I made a list of seeds I want to try next year. It’s pretty hefty but I can’t help try new seeds! I think I have 8-10 tomato varieties I want to try. Eek. I’ll have plenty of leftovers to give to my friends and family. I’m excited about the New Year and its many gardening adventures.

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Garden Update 12-12-07

I know it’s been awhile but I have been super busy with Christmas shopping and decorating our place for our first Christmas. I still have been tending to my plants inside. My coleus seedlings are still doing well. I’ll put them into individual peat pellets or little pots soon. By spring, I’ll have tons of coleus to enjoy and share.

The ornamental pepper I got on clearance is starting to die. I purposely let it commit suicide since I just wanted it for its seeds. I took some seeds from it earlier this month and I germinated them and success!

In the next couple of weeks, I’ll be planting my early spring crops: broccoli, parsley, and cabbage. I’m using the square foot gardening as a guide. It’s a wonderful way to garden in a small space. I would recommend it to anyone. Well, that’s it for this week. Next week, my order from grocoseeds and maybe valueseeds! We’ll see…Happy gardening everyone!

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Garden Update 11-17-07

Last week, I forgot to mention that I planted some garlic and sweet peas for the spring. This is my first year planting garlic from real garlic stock from the gardening store. I went to my local Orchard Supply Hardware store and got 3 bulbs for $1.96. There was no tax since garlic is food. It takes about 9 months for a clove of garlic to mature and become a bulb. A garlic expert on the Martha Stewart Show compared growing garlic to a baby. It takes nine months for garlic to mature and 9 months for a baby to come out. It was an interesting analogy nonetheless. I potted them in a container since we might be moving by the time the bulbs are ready to pick. I expect some yummy garlic next summer.

Last year, I tried to grow garlic from the grocery store but they didn’t work. They would produce lots of shoots but once they died out, I could never find any bulbs. I believe there is a growth inhibitor in grocery store garlic that prevents them from growing. Urgh….well I hope I got it right this time around.

I also planted some sweet peas I got from Home Depot from a company called Stover seeds. They sell bulk packets of seeds. I got around 300 sweet peas and thousands of California Poppies for around $3.97 a piece. They also have vegetable seeds in bulk too. They’re around $2.97 a piece. I plan to get some bok choi and other veggie seeds in the spring. I’ve only had one sweet pea bloom last year. It was mainly because I started them in the spring. My coworker who grows a plethora of sweet peas every year suggested that I plant my sweet peas right now for blooms in the spring. I listened to her and I hope next year we’ll have pretty sweet peas.

Currently, I am pre-germinating some seeds I collected this year. I like to test seeds before I put them up for trade just to make sure they work. This week, I’m germinating some coriander, broccoli-De Cicco, and two types of eggplants (purple and white). I hope they work. It just gives me more validation that what I’m doing-gardening wise-is right. When I was in the grocery store the other day, I saw a huge bag of coriander seeds on sale for $2.69. This was a very large bag. I’m going to get them and try germinating them this year.

I also picked up two taro roots when I was at the grocery store too. Taro root plants look similar to “Elephant Ears” or Alocasias. They were relatively cheap; $.50 a piece compared to $5.99 per root at the garden center. I placed them in a deep pot and placed them in the sun. I hope they root and produce cool little plants for me. I’m a little weary because it is winter and it’s probably not the best time to pot these up since they’re tropical plants. Well, I’ll try them anyway and protect them from frost or bring them in. If they don’t work, I’ll only have wasted $1.00 instead of $10-$12. That’s all for now!

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