Preserve vegetables, fruits, and meats by freezing them for long term storage.
The down side of freezing foods is that we need room to store them and keep them cold.
The fresher the vegetables the better they will save and the better they will taste when they are used. Often frozen veggies are fresher than “fresh” veggies from a store since they were frozen shortly after being picked and not boxed and shipped across country.
Most vegetables will store frozen for 12 to 18 months at 0° F.
Most vegetables are best frozen after blanching, blanching is the boiling or steaming then placing them in ice water to quickly stop the cooking process and preserve the color, vitamins and minerals. Blanching will stop the enzymes from breaking down vitamins and will stop them from changing sugars to starches.
To blanch bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling add the vegetable to the boiling water and bring back to a boil. After it has boiled for 1 to 2 minutes remove veggies with a slotted spoon and submerge in a large pot of ice water.
Tomatoes do not need to be blanched but they should be pealed before freezing. One of the easiest ways to peal a large amount of tomatoes is to… blanch them, once the tomatoes have started to cool the skin should split and pinch off.
Place drained cool veggies into a freezer bag removing as much air as possible and set in the freezer.
Veggies that are usually consumed raw do not freeze well such as lettuce and cucumbers.
The best time to freeze fruits is just after picking when they are ripe, if the fruit is picked before it has finished ripening let it sit and ripen. Once the ripe fruit has been picked clean and dry it remove any pits or cores, cut to desired size and freeze. For fruits that brown only work with amounts that you can process and freeze before it browns then go on to the next batch, We can also add ascorbic acid. Ascorbic acid is vitamin C it can be purchased as a powder or we can use lemon juice, lime juice, or even grapefruit juice to delay the oxidation. Often fruit is mixed into a syrup or coated with sugar before freezing. When freezing delicate berries it is best to lay them flat on a baking sheet and freeze them. Then once frozen, bag them.
Most Fruit will store frozen for 12 months at 0° F. By freezing at 0° F the ice crystals that are formed will be smaller than if frozen at a higher temp, smaller ice crystals will result in less mushy food when thawed.