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Freezing Vegetables

Note:  The fresher the vegetable, the more flavor is brought out by blanching.  Buy and process vegetables from local farm stands if possible.   After veggies are added to pot, cover to bring it back to boiling, then remove lid, or vegetables will overcook, promptly losing their color and crispness.  One food writer said this is due to acids released by vegetables during cooking, and points to the olive green color vegetables take on after sitting in a vinaigrette as an example.  The first table from New Mexico State Univ. offers two methods for blanching.  It may require some scrolling.  The second file is from the Univ. of Minnesota Extension Service.

1.  New Mexico State University is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and educator. New Mexico State University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Alice Jane Hendley, Food and Nutrition Specialist

Written: April 1992
Last Modified: June 1994
Placed on Server: March 7, 1996

Fresh vegetables can be frozen quickly and easily during the harvest season. Whether you freeze purchased or home-grown vegetables, the keys to a successful product are using vegetables at the peak of ripeness and freezing quickly after purchase or harvest.

Selection and Purchase

Choose vegetables that are young and tender. Wash well and rinse twice in fresh water each time to remove dirt. Trim away any bad areas, tough stems and leaves. Cut into desired sizes.

Blanching

Although freezing slows enzyme action, it doesn't completely halt it. Blanching, a heat treatment to inactivate the ripening enzymes in vegetables, preserves their color, texture, and flavor for nine to twelve months in the freezer.

Except for onions and green peppers, vegetables should be either water or steam blanched before being frozen. Some vegetables, such as mushrooms, eggplant and summer squash, are more satisfying if sauteed briefly in oil, butter or margarine before freezing. Chill before packing.

To water blanch vegetables, place the washed, prepared vegetables in a pot of boiling water. Use one gallon of water for each pound of prepared vegetables. See table 1 for recommended blanching times for different vegetables. Start timing the blanching action when the water returns to boiling after putting in the vegetables. Plunge the vegetables immediately into cold (preferably ice) water for the same time as you blanched the vegetable. This cold bath stops the cooking action.

To steam blanch, place two cups or about 1 pound of prepared vegetables in a single layer in a basket and lower into a pot containing one gallon of boiling water. The vegetables should be above the water. Cover with tight-fitting lid and start counting blanching time when steam comes up around the pot lid. (See table 1 for blanching times.) Plunge vegetables into a cold bath.

You can use the microwave oven to blanch small quantities. However, there is no time or money saved when microwave blanching vegetables.

 

Packing Food into Freezer Containers

Drain and chill food before packing into moisture proof freezer containers. Both freezer bags and square containers provide economical packs with regard to space used in the freezer.

Fill rigid containers to the expansion line. If you use freezer bags, lay bags on counter after filling with drained vegetables and press out air. Close zipper bags except for about one inch. Use a drinking straw to suck air out and complete closure. If using a bag with a twist tie closure, gather edges around drinking straw and draw out air before twisting and tying.

Date and identify contents using a moisture proof freezer pen. When freezing, place packages in the coldest area of the freezer with about one inch around the packages for cold air circulation until the food is frozen. After packages are frozen, stack tightly.

Freeze only the amount that the freezer can handle efficiently. A good rule of thumb is 2 to 3 pounds of food for each cubic foot of storage space. Overloading slows the freezing process and adversely affects the quality of the food, especially corn-on-the-cob.

Make a food inventory and post it close to the freezer. List foods and number and sizes of containers. Keep a pen close to mark the list as cartons are used.

 

Thawing and Preparing Vegetables to Eat

Except for corn-on-the-cob, vegetables can be cooked with little or no thawing. Greens should be partially thawed and separated before cooking. Because the vegetables were blanched before freezing, they will cook quickly.

Use the smallest amount of water possible to conserve nutrients. Cook only the amount you need for the meal. Avoid letting vegetables stand after cooking as nutrients leach into the cooking water.

Table 1. FREEZING TECHNIQUES FOR VEGETABLES __________________________________________________________________________________

VEGETABLES	PREPARATION		BLANCH/FREEZE TECHNIQUES
__________________________________________________________________________________
Asparagus	Wash,sort by size.  	Water blanch:	Small: 1-1/2 min.
		Snap off tough ends.			Medium: 2 min.
		Cut stalks in 2-inch lengths  .		Large: 3 min.
		or leave in spears	Steam blanch:	Small: 2-1/2 min.
____________________________________________________________________________
Beans		Wash, trim ends. .	Water blanch:	Whole: 3 min.
		Cut if desired				Cut: 2 min.
					Steam blanch:	Whole: 4 min.
							Cut: 3 min.
________________________________________________________________________
Beets		Wash.  			Cook until tender:  Small beets, 
		Remove tops leaving 1 	25-30 minutes: for medium 
		inch of stem and root.	beets, 45-50 minutes. Cool 
					promptly, peel, trim tape root and 
					stem. Cut into slices or cubes. 
					Pack into freezer containers.
________________________________________________________________________
Broccoli	Wash, trim leaves. 	Water blanch: 3 min.
		Cut into pieces.	Steam blanch: 5 min.
________________________________________________________________________
Brussels	Wash, 			Water blanch: 4 min. (medium sized)
		remove outer leaves.	Steam blanch: 5 min.
________________________________________________________________________
Cabbage		Wash. Discard coarse	Water blanch:	Wedges: 3 min.
		outer leaves; cut into 			Shredded: 1 1/2 min.
		wedges or shred 	Steam blanch:	Wedges-4 min.
		coarsely.				Shredded-2 min.
________________________________________________________________________
Carrots		Wash, peel and trim. 	Water blanch:	Whole-5 min.
		Cut if desired; leave 			Sliced-2 min.
		small carrots whole.
________________________________________________________________________
Cauliflower	Discard leaves and stem,	Add 1 Tbsp. vinegar.
		wash. Break into flowerets 	Water blanch:	Whole: 6 min.
		or leave small heads whole 			Cut: 3 min.
		(no more than 4-inch 		Steam blanch:	Whole: 7 min.
		diameter).					Cut: 4 min.
________________________________________________________________________
Corn		Remove husks, silks	Water blanch medium-sized ears, 
		and trimends. Wash.	3-4 ears at a time, 5 min.
					After blanching, cut kernels
					(about 2/3 depth) from cob, 
					bag kernels, freeze.
________________________________________________________________________
Eggplant	Wash, peel, 		Water blanch 4 minutes in 1 gallon 
		slice 1/3 inch thick.	of boiling water containing 1 1/2 
					Tbsp. citric acid or 1/2 c. lemon 
					juice or saute in oil and pack.
________________________________________________________________________
Greens		Select young,		Water blanch: 2 min.
		tender greens. Wash,	Steam blanch: 3 min.
  		trim woody stems.	Avoid matting leaves.
________________________________________________________________________
Herbs		Wash, snip or 		With basil only, water or steam.
		leave on stalks.	blanch 1 min. For other herbs,
 					blanching not necessary. Freeze 
					in a single layer on cookie sheet.
________________________________________________________________________
Kohlrabi	Select tender, mature		Water blanch slices: 2 min.
		stems. Trim ends.		Water blanch stems: 3 min.
		Wash. Peel off tough bark.
		Wash. Slice tender centers
		crosswise, 1/4 inch thick. 
		Leave small roots whole.
________________________________________________________________________
Mushrooms	Wipe with damp		May be frozen without blanching.
		paper towel. Trim	Or blanch whole, 5 min.; quarters,
		hard tip of stems. 	3-1/2 min.; slices, 3 min. Or, saute
 		Sort; cut large 	mushrooms in butter or margarine, 
		mushrooms.		cool quickly, and pack.
________________________________________________________________________
Okra		Wash. Separate  	Water blanch:	Small pods: 3 min.
		pods 4 inches and			Large pods: 5 min.
		shorter from larger 
		ones. Remove stems.
________________________________________________________________________
Peas		Shell garden peas. 	Water blanch: 1 1/2 min.
 Garden/	No need to shell 	Steam blanch: 2 1/2 min.
 Snow/   	snow or sugar peas.
 Sugar/
________________________________________________________________________
Onions/		Onions: Remove, 	May be frozen without blanching.
Green		peel, chop. 		Bag and freeze. (For best odor
Onions/		Green Onions: Trim, 	protection, wrap onions in plastic 
Leeks		slice or leave whole.	film before putting in bags.
		Leeks: Make cut through  
		leaves and bulb. Do not cut roots. 
		Wash thoroughly. Remove tough leaves. 
		Trim tops, leave whole or slice.
________________________________________________________________________
Peppers		Wash, remove 		Freeze whole, or cut as desired.
Green/red/	stems and seeds.	No heat treatment needed.
Sweet/Hot. 				(See E-311 for Green Chile.)
________________________________________________________________________
Potatoes	Peel, cut or 		Either cook in water or saute 
		grate as desired.	grated potatoes in oil. Grated 
					potatoes for hashbrowns and 
					mashed potatoes freeze well. 
					For new Potatoes,
					blanch whole 5 min.,
					blanch pieces-2-3 min. 
________________________________________________________________________
Sweet		Wash and dry.		Bake just until tender; cool. 
Potatoes				Peel and cut. Pack in flat layers 
					or roll in lemon juice and brown 
					sugar. Or, puree with orange juice.
________________________________________________________________________
Winter or	Wash and remove seeds. 	Bake whole or cut in half.
Spaghetti				Place cut side down on baking sheet,
 Squash/				cook until tender. Scrape
Pumpkin					pulp from rind or remove rind
					and cube.Cool and freeze cubes or 
					mash pulp, cool, and pack.
________________________________________________________________________
Zucchini/	Wash, trim ends.	Water blanch 3 min. or steam 
 Summer 	Cut into slices 	blanch: 4 min.and freeze.  Squash
 Squash		or strips.		may also be breaded and sauteed in oil.  
					Cool and freeze. If sauteed, place 
					waxed paper between slices before 
					freezing.
________________________________________________________________________________

2.  Preparing Vegetables for Freezing

Note:  This is a good primer on understanding the chemistry behind freezing foods with a how-to table at the end.

Source:    Freezing Fruits and Vegetables,  William Schafer and Shirley T. Munson.     Produced by Communication and Educational Technology Services, University of  Minnesota Extension Service.

FO-0555-GO
Reviewed 1990
To Order
College of Human Ecology

Freezing Fruits and Vegetables
William Schafer and Shirley T. Munson

Freezing is a quick and convenient way to preserve fruits and vegetables at
home. It is a popular method of home food preservation throughout Minnesota.
Home frozen fruits and vegetables of high quality and maximum nutritional value
can be produced if the directions below are followed. These directions are based
on:
the chemical and physical reactions which take place during the freezing
process;
scientific knowledge of the effect of freezing on the tissues of fruits and
vegetables; and
food microbiology.

Chemical Changes During Freezing

Fresh fruits and vegetables, when harvested, continue to undergo chemical
changes which can cause spoilage and deterioration of the product. This is why
these products should be frozen as soon after harvest as possible and at their
peak degree of ripeness.

Fresh produce contains chemical compounds called enzymes which cause the loss of
color, loss of nutrients, flavor changes, and color changes in frozen fruits and
vegetables. These enzymes must be inactivated to prevent such reactions from
taking place.

Enzymes in vegetables are inactivated by the blanching process. Blanching is the
exposure of the vegetables to boiling water or steam for a brief period of time.
The vegetable must then be rapidly cooled in ice water to prevent it from
cooking. Contrary to statements in some publications on home freezing, in most
cases blanching is absolutely essential for producing quality frozen vegetables.
Blanching also helps to destroy microorganisms on the surface of the vegetable
and to make some vegetables, such as broccoli and spinach, more compact.

The major problem associated with enzymes in fruits is the development of brown
colors and loss of vitamin C. Because fruits are usually served raw, they are
not blanched like vegetables. Instead, enzymes in frozen fruit are controlled by
using chemical compounds which interfere with deteriorative chemical reactions.
The most common control chemical is ascorbic acid (vitamin C). Ascorbic acid may
be used in its pure form or in commercial mixtures with sugars.

Some directions for freezing fruits also include temporary measures to control
enzyme-activated browning. Such temporary measures include soaking the fruit in
dilute vinegar solutions or coating the fruit with sugar and lemon juice.
However, these latter methods do not prevent browning as effectively as
treatment with ascorbic acid.

Another group of chemical changes that can take place in frozen products is the
development of rancid oxidative flavors through contact of the frozen product
with air. This problem can be controlled by using a wrapping material which does
not permit air to pass into the product. It is also advisable to remove as much
air as possible from the freezer bag or container to reduce the amount of air in
contact with the product.

Textural Changes During Freezing

County extension offices frequently receive questions about whether certain
fruits, vegetables, or mixtures of either may be successfully frozen. Such
questions can be answered by knowing the effect of freezing on various plant
tissues.

Water makes up over 90 percent of the weight of most fruits and vegetables. This
water and other chemical substances are held within the fairly rigid cell walls
which give support structure, and texture to the fruit or vegetable. Freezing
fruits and vegetables actually consists of freezing the water contained in the
plant cells.

When the water freezes, it expands and the ice crystals cause the cell walls to
rupture. Consequently, the texture of the produce, when thawed, will be much
softer than it was when raw. This textural difference is especially noticeable
in products which are usually consumed raw. For example, when a frozen tomato is
thawed, it becomes mushy and watery. This explains why celery, lettuce, and
tomatoes are not usually frozen and is the reason for the suggestion that frozen
fruits, usually consumed raw, be served before they have completely thawed. In
the partially thawed state, the effect of freezing on the fruit tissue is less
noticeable.

Textural changes due to freezing are not as apparent in products which are
cooked before eating because cooking also softens cell walls. These changes are
also less noticeable in high starch vegetables, such as peas, corn, and lima
beans.

Rate of Freezing

The extent of cell wall rupture can be controlled by freezing produce as quickly
as possible. In rapid freezing, a large number of small ice crystals are formed.
These small ice crystals produce less cell wall rupture than slow freezing which
produces only a few large ice crystals. This is why some home freezer manuals
recommend that the temperature of the freezer be set at the coldest setting
several hours before foods will be placed in the freezer. Some freezer manuals
tell the location of the coldest shelves in the freezer and suggest placing
unfrozen products on these shelves.

All freezer manuals give guidelines for the maximum number of cubic feet of
unfrozen product which can be frozen at one time. This is usually 2 to 3 pounds
of vegetable to each cubic foot of freezer space per 24 hours. Overloading the
freezer with unfrozen products will result in a long, slow freeze and a poor
quality product.

Changes Caused by Fluctuating Temperature

To maintain top quality, frozen fruits and vegetables should be stored at 0 F
or lower. This temperature is attainable in separate freezer units and in some
combination refrigerator-freezers. A freezer thermometer can help you determine
the actual temperature of your freezer. If your freezer has number temperature
settings, such as from 1 to 9, check the manual to see what settings are
recommended for different uses.

Storing frozen foods at temperatures higher than 0 F increases the rate at
which deteriorative reactions can take place and can shorten the shelf life of
frozen foods. Do not attempt to save energy in your home by raising the
temperature of frozen food storage above 0 F.

Fluctuating temperatures in the freezer can cause the migration of water vapor
from the product to the surface of the container. This defect is sometimes found
in commercially frozen foods which have been improperly handled.

Moisture Loss

Moisture loss, or ice crystals evaporating from the surface area of a product,
produces freezer burn—a grainy, brownish spot where the tissues become dry and
tough. This surface freeze-dried area is very likely to develop off flavors.
Packaging in heavyweight, moistureproof wrap will prevent freezer burn. Freezer
wraps will be discussed later.

Microbial Growth in the Freezer

The freezing process does not actually destroy the microorganisms which may be
present on fruits and vegetables. While blanching destroys some microorganisms
and there is a gradual decline in the number of these microorganisms during
freezer storage, sufficient populations are still present to multiply in numbers
and cause spoilage of the product when it thaws. For this reason it is necessary
to carefully inspect any frozen products which have accidentally thawed by the
freezer going off or the freezer door being left open.

Nutrient Value of Frozen Foods

Freezing, when properly done, is the method of food preservation which may
potentially preserve the greatest quantity of nutrients. To maintain top
nutritional quality in frozen fruits and vegetables, it is essential to follow
directions contained in this leaflet for pretreatment of the vegetables, to
store the frozen product at 0 F and to use it within suggested storage times.

Storage Times for Frozen Foods and Vegetables

Fruits—Most frozen fruits maintain high quality for 8 to 12 months. Unsweetened
fruits lose quality faster than those packed in sugar or sugar syrups.
Vegetables—Most vegetables will maintain high quality for 12 to 18 months at 0
F or lower. However, it is a good idea to plan to use your home frozen
vegetables before the next year crop is ready for freezing.
Longer storage of fruits and vegetables than those recommended above will not
make the food unfit for use, but will decrease its quality.

Selecting Freezer Containers

You must use good quality freezer containers to maintain the quality of frozen
fruits and vegetables. A high quality wrap should be both moisture and vapor
proof so that moisture can be kept in the product and air kept away from it.
Many moisture- and vapor-resistant wraps, such as heavyweight aluminum foil,
plastic coated freezer paper, saran, and other plastic films, are effective at
excluding oxygen. They should be strong, pliable, and adhere to the shape of the
food item. These can be sealed easily with heat or freezer tape. Be sure to use
only tape that is designated for the freezer because other household tapes lose
adhesive quality in the extremely cold freezer temperatures. These wraps are not
as convenient for fruits and vegetables as plastic bags or rigid freezer
containers.

Plastic film bags made especially for freezing are readily available. They seal
with twist and tie tops. Collapsible cardboard freezer boxes are frequently used
as an outer covering for plastic bags to protect them against tearing, and for
easy stacking in the freezer. Plastic sandwich bags and bread wrappers are not
suitable for freezing.

"Freeze-and-cook" bags withstand temperatures from below 0 F to above the
boiling point and are suitable for both freezing and cooking the product. These
come in 1 pint and quart sizes and also as large rolls of plastic so that they
can be made the size desired. A heat sealer is necessary for closing these bags.
These products are more expensive but allow greater convenience.

Methods of Packing Fruits

There are three ways to pack fruits for freezing: sugar pack, syrup pack, and
unsweetened pack. Although some fruits may be packed without sweeteners, the
flavor of many fruits is retained better with the use of sugar. Gooseberries,
currants, cranberries, blueberries, and rhubarb give good quality packs without
or with sugar.

To freeze fruits using sugar pack, sprinkle the required amount of sugar over
the fruit. Gently stir until the pieces are coated with sugar and juice.
To make sugar syrup, dissolve the needed amount of sugar in cold water. Stir the
mixture and let stand until the solution is clear.

Methods of Packing Vegetables

There are two basic methods for packing vegetables for freezing, the tray pack
and the dry pack.

Dry pack—
This is the method used to describe the packing of blanched and drained
vegetables into containers or freezer bags. Pack the vegetables tightly to cut
down on the amount of air in the container. If the vegetables are packed in
freezer bags, press air out of the unfilled part of the bag. When packing
broccoli, alternate the heads and stems.

Tray Pack
—This is the method of freezing individual pieces of blanched and
drained vegetables on a tray or shallow pan, then packing the frozen pieces into
a freezer bag or container. This method produces a product similar to
commercially frozen plastic bags of individual vegetable pieces and is
particularly good for peas, corn, and beans.

In this method it is most important to pack the individually frozen pieces into
a bag or container as soon as they are frozen.

Freezing Vegetables

Assemble the necessary equipment for processing vegetables.
a large kettle (minimum capacity of 2 gallons)
a colander, wire basket, or net bag for blanching
large pans for cooling
ice cubes or ice blocks for cooling
knives
plastic freezer bags or other containers
a timer or a clock with a second hand
hot pads

Choose vegetables for freezing that are at their peak of flavor and texture.
If possible, harvest the vegetables in the cool part of the morning and
process as quickly as possible. If the freezing process is delayed, immerse
the vegetables in very cold water or refrigerate in shallow trays to preserve
quality and nutrients.

Carefully follow the blanching instructions in the included table for each
vegetable. Count the blanching time from when the vegetable is immersed in the
vigorously boiling water.

The quality of water used to blanch the vegetables can have an effect on the
texture of certain vegetables. Very hard water can cause the toughening of
vegetables such as green beans. If you have problems with excessively tough
green beans, check into the level of hardness in your water supply.

To Blanch in Boiling Water

Use 1 gallon water for each pound of vegetable except for leafy greens, which
need 2 gallons per pound.
Bring water to rolling boil.
Immerse wire basket or blanching basket mesh bag containing vegetable.
Cover kettle and boil at top heat the required length of time (see table).
Begin counting time as soon as you place the vegetable in water. You may use
the same blanching water 2 or 3 times. Keep it at required level. Change the
water if it becomes cloudy.
Cool immediately in ice water for same time used for blanching. Keep chilling
water ice cold.
Drain the vegetables thoroughly. Extra water will form too many ice crystals.
Pack using dry or tray pack method.
Freeze.

To Blanch in Steam

Put 1 inch of water in kettle, bring to a rolling boil.
Suspend a thin layer of vegetable in wire basket or loose cheesecloth over
rapidly boiling water.
Cover and steam blanch vegetable required amount of time as listed on table.
Complete as for boiling water blanching.

Microwave Oven Blanching

Some directions are available for microwave blanching of vegetables. Incomplete
inactivation of enzymes may occur due to the variability of microwave heating
resulting in a shorter storage time in the freezer.
Lack of standardization of power levels among various microwave ovens make it
impossible to publish a blanching timetable that can be used with all microwave
ovens. Follow the instructions in the manufacturer's microwave cookbook.
Vegetables blanched in the microwave should be chilled in ice water and
processed as regular frozen vegetables.

To Freeze Fruits

Wash and sort fruits carefully and discard parts that are of poor quality.

Prepare fruits as you will use them.

Check the chart for fruit being frozen to see if an anti-browning treatment is
suggested. Use ascorbic acid preparation as recommended in the chart or in the
manufacturer's instructions.

Use dry sugar, or sugar syrup in proportions suggested in the chart. Dissolve
sugar needed in cold water. Stir. Allow to stand until sugar is completely
dissolved. Do not heat. You may hold sugar syrup 2 days in the refrigerator.
If you are preparing a sugarless pack of fruits that brown, be sure to treat
with ascorbic acid or other anti-browning agents.

Pack into good plastic bags, freezer containers or freezer jars. Allow -inch
headspace for expansion. Pack fruits, such as peaches, that tend to darken, in
rigid containers and under the syrup by placing crumpled wax paper between lid
and fruit.

To Use Home Frozen Produce

Fruits
Thaw fruit at room temperature in its original package to preserve
quality and nutritive value. If faster defrosting is required, submerge (if
watertight) in cool or lukewarm water or follow microwave defrosting
instructions. Serve as soon as defrosted, preferably while a few ice crystals
remain.

Vegetables
All vegetables may be cooked from the frozen state except
corn-on-the-cob, which should be partially defrosted. Cook frozen vegetables in
a small amount of salted water (about cup or less). Cook only until
tender—about half as long as if the same vegetable were fresh.

You can use a pressure saucepan for cooking frozen vegetables. Follow manufacturer's
directions for cooking time. A pack should be thawed enough to break it up
before pressure cooking.

HOW TO PREPARE VEGETABLES FOR FREEZING


VEGETABLES PREPARATION

Asparagus

Pick bright colored brittle stalks that snap when broken and have tight heads.

Wash and sort medium and large stalks. Discard woody and blemished stalks. Break off fibrous ends. Leave whole or cut in 1- to 2-inch lengths. Blanch medium stalks 3 minutes, large stalks (- to -inch diameter) 4 minutes. Chill in ice water. Asparagus has a shorter storage life than other frozen vegetables. Should be used within 9-10 months.

Beans (Green and Yellow Podded)

Pick young tender beans that snap when broken. Harvest while seeds are small and tender.

Wash, snip off tips and sort for size. Cut or break into suitable pieces or freeze small beans whole. Blanch 3 minutes. Chill in ice water.

Beans, Lima

Pick well-filled pods containing green, young tender beans (white beans are overmature).

Wash, shell and sort. Blanch small and medium beans, 3 minutes; large beans, 4 minutes. Chill in ice water.

Beans, Snap (Italian) Wash, snap off ends and cut or break into l - or 1-inch lengths. Blanch 3 minutes. Chill in ice water.

Beets

Use garden varieties of good color and quality. Pick smooth, tender small to medium beets.

Remove tops leaving 2 inches of top and wash. Cook until tender. Chill. Remove skins. Slice or dice large beets.

Broccoli

Choose firm, tender stalks with bright green compact heads.

Discard off-color heads or any that have begun to blossom. Remove tough leaves and woody butt ends. Cut through stalks lengthwise, leaving heads 1 inch in diameter. Soak hour in salt brine ( cup salt to 1 quart water) to drive out small insects. Rinse and drain. Blanch 4 minutes in water. Steam-blanch 5 minutes. Chill in ice water. Pack heads and stalks ends alternately in container. Broccoli may be cut into chunks or chopped.

Brussels Sprouts

Pick firm, compact heads of good green color.

Wash and trim. Soak hour in salt brine (see broccoli). Rinse and drain. Blanch medium heads, 4 minutes; large heads, 5 minutes. Chill in ice water.

Carrots

Pick smooth, tender carrots before roots become woody. Harvest in cool weather.

Top, wash and scrape. Dice or slice -inch thick. Blanch 3 minutes. Chill in ice water.

Cauliflower

Use well-formed, compact heads with fresh leaves.

Trim and wash. Split heads into individual pieces 1 inch in diameter. Soak hour in salt brine (see broccoli). Rinse and drain. Blanch 4 minutes. Chill in ice water.

Sweet Corn—On-the-Cob

Use Golden Bantam types. Small to medium ears are preferred. Harvest early in the morning if weather is hot. If corn is immature, it is watery when cooked; if too mature, it is doughy. Process rapidly.

Husk, remove silks and trim ends. Use a large kettle (12- to 15-quart capacity) for blanching. Chill in ice water. Corn which is not thoroughly cooled may become mushy. The long blanching time is necessary to inactivate enzymes which are in the cob. The long cooling time is needed to chill the cob. Failure to follow the blanching and freezing times will result in the development of cobby off-flavors.
Blanching Time—12 Quarts Water

Size of ears Number
ears
Diameter
(inches)
Blanch
(minutes)
Cooling
time
(minutes)

Midget 24 1 or less 8 16
Small 14 Between 1
and 1
8 16
Medium to
large
10 Over 1 11 22

Sweet Corn—Cut Husk, remove silks and trim ends. Use a large kettle (12- to 15-quart capacity). Blanch whole kernel corn to be cut from the cob 4 minutes.

Eggplant

Use garden varieties of good color and quality.

Precooked eggplant is usually more satisfactory for freezing than blanched eggplant. Peel, cut into to 1/3-inch slices, or dice. To retain light color, drop pieces immediately into cold water containing 4 tablespoons salt per gallon. Blanch 4 minutes. Chill and package in layers separated by sheets of freezer paper.

Garden Herbs Wash and drain, but do not blanch leaves. Wrap a few sprigs or leaves in foil or seal in film bags. Store in carton or glass jar.

Kohlrabi

Choose young, tender kohlrabi.

Cut tops, wash, peel and dice in -inch cubes. Blanch 2 minutes. Chill in ice water.

Mushrooms

Pick young firm mushrooms of edible types.

Wash and remove stem base. Freeze small mushrooms whole; cut large ones into 4 or more pieces. When blanching mushrooms, add 1 teaspoon citric acid (or 3 teaspoons lemon juice or teaspoon ascorbic acid) per quart of water to prevent darkening. Blanch medium or small whole mushrooms 4 minutes; cut pieces, 3 minutes. Chill. OR: Slice mushrooms -inch thick. Saute in butter, 2 minutes. Cool.

Onions

Sweet Spanish types preferred. Can use good garden varieties.

Peel onions, wash and cut into quarter sections. Chop. Blanch 1 minutes. Chill in ice water. (They will keep 3-6 months.)

Peas (Green, English)

Avoid Alaska (smooth skin) and other starch peas. Pick bright green, crisp pods with tender, sweet peas but not overmature.

Wash, shell small amount at a time. Blanch 1 to 2 minutes. Blanch black-eyed peas 2 minutes. Chill in ice water.

Peas (Edible, Podded, Sugar or Chinese)

Select bright green, flat tender pods.

Wash. Remove stems, blossom ends, and any string. Leave whole. Blanch 2 to 3 minutes. Chill in ice water,

Peppers (Green)

Choose crisp, well developed peppers of deep green color.

Wash, cut out stem and remove seeds. Halve, slice or dice. Blanch halved peppers, 3 minutes, sliced or diced ones, 2 minutes. Chill in ice water. You can freeze chopped peppers without blanching them.

Peppers (Pimiento)

Choose crisp, well developed peppers of deep red color.

Oven roast at 400 F for 3 to 4 minutes. Cook, skin and pack dry without additional heating.

Potatoes

Any good quality potato. For french fries, a russet type preferred.

Wash, peel, remove deep eyes, bruises and green surface coloring. Cut in - to -inch cubes. Blanch 5 minutes. Cool. For hash browns: Cook in jackets until almost done. Peel and grate. Form in desirable shapes. Freeze. For french fries, peel and cut in thin strips. Fry in deep fat until very light golden brown. Drain and cool.

Pumpkin

Select any good pie pumpkin of good color.

Cut or break into fairly uniform pieces. Remove seeds. Bake at 350 F, or steam until tender. Cool, scoop pulp from rind, and mash or put through ricer. You can prepare pie mix for freezing, but omit cloves.

Spinach and other Greens

Select young, tender leaves.

Sort and remove tough stems. Wash. Blanch most leafy greens 2 minutes. Blanch collards and stem portions of Swiss chard 3 to 4 minutes. Blanch very tender spinach 1 minutes. Chill in ice water.

Summer Squash—Zucchini

Select when 5-7 inches long and rind tender and seeds small.

Wash, peel and cut in pieces. Blanch -inch slices, 3 minutes; 1-inch slices, 6 minutes. Chill in ice water. If skin is tender, you do not need to peel.

Winter Squash

Select squash with shells hard enough so you cannot push thumbnail through them. "Dry" types are recommended.

Prepare same as pumpkin. You can blend two or more varieties or blend squash with pumpkin.

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