Freezing vegetables effectively preserves them at the peak of freshness, provided it’s done properly. If vegetables are not properly prepared before freezing, then you might as well skip it altogether.
I know what you’re thinking. Who needs instructions on freezing vegetables?
You just bag them up and stuff them in the freezer, end of story.
Well, not quite.
Years ago I remember thinking it’d be really convenient to have a freezer full of frozen butternut squash, already peeled and cubed for easy weeknight dinners. I bought a case of squash, peeled it, cubed it, and packed it into gallon-sized freezer bags for my chest freezer.
When I pulled the first bag out of the freezer I was sorely disappointed. The squash was rubbery, once fully defrosted had the consistency of a wet sponge. I literally wrung out a few cubes before I braved cooking them, just to play with their strange sponge-like texture.
It was a disaster, and the butternut squash was completely disgusting.
Freezing changes the texture of some raw foods and had I know that butternut must be blanched before freezing it would have saved a lot of squash that ended up in the compost pile.
Blanching preserves more than just texture, it also preserves quality in some vegetables. Freezing only slows down degeneration, and enzymatic processes are still happening (though slowly) within bags of frozen vegetables. They can actually still spoil in the freezer, if not properly prepared.
Every type of vegetable is a bit different, and some can be quickly thrown into bags with no prep at all. Fear not, I’ll walk you through how to freeze vegetables for peak quality.
For those vegetables that need blanching before freezing, there are two main methods: boiling or steaming.
Boiling is simple, but much less gentle than steaming. The agitation in the water can break apart tender vegetables, and it’s best reserved for firm-fleshed types. Being submerged in water also causes the veggies to lose more flavor, so it’s often not the best option.
Steaming, on the other hand, is gentle and helps the vegetables retain flavor. You’ll need a steamer basket of some sort to keep the vegetables suspended over an inch or two of boiling water, but the results are usually better.
Whichever method you choose, steam or boil, and then quickly transfer the veggies to an ice water bath. This stops the cooking immediately and helps ensure the vegetables don’t get overcooked or soggy.
Freezer Storage Containers
The storage container you choose is nearly as important as the way you prepare vegetables before freezing. Standard Ziplock freezer bags are one of the most common choices, but they’re not the only option.
- Ziplock Freezer Bags ~ One of the simplest and most economical options, freezer bags are made of a thicker plastic than regular storage bags. That helps prevent both leaks and freezer burn, but it’s still important to remove as much air as possible from the bags for the best quality frozen vegetables. Vacuum sealed bags are a better option for longer storage.
- Food Saver Vacuum Sealer Bags ~ A better option than Ziploc bags, vacuum sealer bags remove air from around the food and dramatically reduce the risk of freezer burn when veggies are stored for more than a month or two. It’s a bit of an investment upfront buying a vacuum sealer, but we’ve had ours for over a decade. It’s literally sealed thousands of pounds of food, and it’s been well worth it.
- Freezer Safe Gladware ~ Many types of Tupperware are not designed for freezer temperatures and will become brittle in the freezer. Even once they warm up, they won’t recover and can shatter easily. If you do use storage containers, choose varieties made from freezer-safe plastic, such as Gladware Freezer Safe Containers.
- Freezer Safe Mason Jars ~ Some glass mason jars are freezer safe, and they even have a freezing “fill line” embossed on the side. Be sure to leave around 1 1/2 inches of headspace below the top rim, as the food may expand when frozen. Only use straight-sided “wide mouth” mason jars, as jars with “shoulders” are not freezer safe and can crack as the food expands. Jars are best for pureed vegetables (such as frozen pumpkin puree) since it’ll fully fill the jar without air space.
How to Freeze Vegetables
Once blanched, most vegetables are then either placed directly into bags, or flash-frozen on baking trays to keep them from freezing together. This depends on the type of produce.
Blanch asparagus for 2-3 minutes, preferably by steaming since fresh asparagus can be tender and delicate. Remove the stems to an ice water bath, or place in a colander and rinse with cool water for a few minutes to stop the cooking.
Pat the spears dry and arrange on baking trays. Freeze the spears on trays for 2-4 hours, until firm. Transfer the spears to storage bags, press out the air, and seal tightly before storing them in the freezer.
Frozen asparagus will generally lasts 8-12 months if properly blanched and stored in a tightly sealed bag.
Artichokes can be frozen, but only after cooking. If you freeze artichokes raw, they turn brown when unthawed, and their flavor changes. Blanching isn’t enough because it won’t heat the center and cook thoroughly.
You can find several methods for cooking and freezing artichokes. Here’s one option.
Trim the tops from the artichokes and rub cut surfaces with lemon. Then, cook it in water flavored with lemon juice for preservation purposes. Let it cook for 20-25 minutes. Then, let it drain upside down and place upside down on a baking sheet, and flash freeze on trays before storing in freezer bags.
Make sure you thaw correctly, in the refrigerator rather than on the countertop. When ready to eat them, wrap each artichoke in aluminum foil and steam until hot.
Frozen artichokes keep for six to eight months before starting to change flavors.
Arugula will freeze in the same way that many other greens, but some say that freezing arugula in olive oil yields better results. The oil helps to retain flavor and prevents freezer burn, and it also makes a quick sautee at dinner time a breeze.
No matter the method that you use, frozen arugula cannot be used in salads or similar recipes. It’s best eaten cooked.
Blanch for two minutes and put directly into an ice bath. Use paper towels or a dry dishcloth to pat off excess moisture and store it in an airtight freezer container.
If you want to use olive oil, put the arugula in a shallow container, and submerge it in olive oil. Then, stick the container in the freezer and wait until it’s frozen before breaking it into smaller portions to be used in recipes.
Arugula lasts for up to six months in the freezer, but it tastes best if used within three months.
While you can pressure can green beans, the quality is much better if they’re frozen instead.
Normally, I blanch them for about 2-3 minutes before cooling them quickly in ice water. I’ve recently read that you can actually freeze green beans without blanching, and it yields excellent results.
Either way, blanched or unblanched, make sure the beans are trimmed and completely dry before packing tightly into freezer bags.
Frozen Green Beans last about 6 months in the freezer.
Beans, Cooked Dried (Pinto, Black, Navy, etc)
Canning beans is a great way to have easy side dishes or ingredients for soups, but many don’t realize that they can freeze beans. You might not want to try canning dried beans because it requires a pressure canner and takes a long time.
Beans need to be cooked before freezing but not blanched. Cooking dried beans takes time, but most of the time is hands-off. Most recipes soak dried beans for 12 hours, but quick soak recipes only soak for three hours.
After soaking using whatever method you pick, cook the beans for 30-60 minutes. This is when you add whatever seasoning you want, but I tend to be minimal with the seasoning because I don’t know how I plan to use them later.
Once cooled, put the beans into freezer bags in two cup portions, similar to what is used in most recipes.
Frozen beans last around to six months in the freezer.
Beets taste great when canned, but freezing them adds versatility to your pantry and allows you to create different dishes. They need to be cooked longer than blanching, but it’s still easy to freeze beets.
Fill a pot with water and cook small beets for 25-30 minutes and large beets for 45-50 minutes. Transfer the cooked beets to an ice bath to stop the cooking process, and give them time to cool down.
Once the beets are cool enough to handle, peel off the skins and any remaining tops and roots. Then, slice or chop the beets and flash freeze on a baking sheet to prevent them from clumping together in the freezer bag. Consider vacuum sealing to prevent freezer burning since beets have high water content.
Beets store in the freezer indefinitely but should be used within one year for optimal flavor.
Freezing is the best route for broccoli. Canning broccoli isn’t possible unless pickled, and that significantly reduces how you can use broccoli. It freezes great without altering the texture and flavor.
Water and steam blanching are acceptable for broccoli, but steam blanching seems to preserve the crunch better. Water blanch for three minutes, and steam blanch for five minutes. Transfer directly into an ice water bath; remove once cooled and store in freezer bags or containers.
Broccoli lasts six to eight months in the freezer.
Some claim that you can freeze Brussels sprouts without blanching, but the times that I tried, that didn’t seem to work as well. I found that blanching works well and preserves the texture better.
Trim and discard the root end, along with any yellowed or damaged outer leaves. Blanch large sprouts for five minutes, medium-sized sprouts for four minutes, and small sprouts for three minutes. Immediately transfer to an ice water bath and let them cool completely.
Flash freeze the Brussels sprouts on a baking sheet for one hour before transferring them to a freezer bag or container. I personally think they do best in vacuum sealer bags, and we put up around 2 dozen bags of Brussels sprouts each fall this way.
Frozen Brussels sprouts last for one year.
The hardest part of freezing bok choy is learning how to freeze it without developing a nasty, mushy texture. Ultimately, freezing any greens will cause them to lose their crisp texture, but the consistency works well in soups, stir-fries, and noodles, which is how I primarily use bok choy.
Bok choy has high water content, so blanching increases the moisture, causing it to turn mushy. Here’s what you should do instead.
Put your bok choy on a cutting board and cut into even pieces, leaves, and stems together. Place everything into a freezer bag; I measure two cups of chopped bok choy per freezer bag. Remove as much of the air as possible and seal the bag. Then, put it in the freezer after labeling the bag.
When properly stored, bok choy lasts for 8-12 months.
Cabbage is versatile and can be stored whole in a root cellar, cold room, or simply the refrigerator for months on end.
Canning sauerkraut and coleslaw is one way to preserve cabbage, along with fermenting large crocks of kraut, but that limits you in the ways you can use cabbage. We like cabbage in soups, casseroles, stir-fries, and homemade pot stickers.
Remove the outer leaves and soak in cold water for 30 minutes to remove cabbage worms. Then, cut cabbage into the size you need; it can be frozen in shreds, leaves, and wedges. It’s best to freeze in wedges if you don’t know how you plan to use the frozen cabbage.
Blanch shredded cabbage or leaves for 1.5 minutes and wedges for three minutes, transferring immediately to an ice bath. Let the cabbage sit on a towel for 15 minutes, patting it dry and letting water drain out. The less water inside, the smaller the risk of freezer burn.
Flash freeze for one hour before storing in a freezer bag with as much of the excess air removed as possible.
For best results, use frozen cabbage within 8-12 months.
Canning carrots is an option if you have a pressure canner available, but the problem with canning carrots is that it changes the texture. The heat also destroys some of the nutritional value.
If you plan to use the frozen carrots within three months, it’s safe to freeze carrots without blanching, but the texture will be different. Blanching helps the carrots to retain their color and nutrients and dramatically improves their texture when defrosted.
Wash and peel the carrots, then slice or chop them into desired sizes. Blanch in boiling water for two minutes before transferring to ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain well after the carrots cool, and place them in a single layer on a baking sheet overnight. Transfer to a freezer bag or container.
Use frozen carrots within nine months.
Freezing is the best preservation method for cauliflower. It doesn’t dehydrate well, and canning doesn’t work either. The instructions for freezing cauliflower is similar to freezing broccoli.
Clean and soak cauliflower for a few moments to release dirt and bugs, and remove the green parts, chopping the head in half. Divide the head into florets that are no bigger than 1.5 inches thick.
Blanch or steam blanch the florets for five minutes and chill in an ice bath directly afterward. Only keep the cauliflower in the water for up to three minutes before allowing it to drain. Flash freeze in a single layer for one hour to keep the florets loose. Transfer into a freezer container or bag for storage.
Frozen cauliflower lasts for one year.
Sometimes called celery root, celeriac is similar to celery but shaped like kohlrabi. It has a robust celery-like flavor that can be eaten raw in salads or added cooked to soups or mashed.
Celeriac freezes well. These root vegetables must be washed and peeled before freezing, cleaning all of the crevices. Cut into discs or ½ inch cubes. Blanch in boiling water for four minutes, then plunge into ice water for several minutes.
Drain away the water and spread out the diced celeriac on a baking sheet to be placed in the freezer for several hours. Move the chopped celeriac root to freezer bags or containers for ideal storage.
Keep celeriac frozen for up to three months for ideal flavor.
Freezing celery is possible, but it loses its crispness. Frozen celery is best used in stews, soups, and other recipes. Don’t expect to use frozen celery in a veggie tray.
Unblanched celery must be used within two months, but blanched celery stores for much longer. Wash and chop the celery stalks into appropriately sized pieces, using no larger than one inch each.
Blanch for three minutes in boiling water and chill in ice water. After cooled, drain and dry with towels before spreading the celery pieces out on a baking sheet to flash freeze for one to two hours. Then, place the pieces of celery in freezer bags or containers.
Frozen celery lasts for 12 to 18 months.
While chicory is best eaten fresh, freezing is an option if you can’t get it all before it goes bad. It should only be frozen for use in cooked dishes because the texture won’t be as crisp. Use firm heads for freezing for best results.
Cut chicory into even pieces and blanch in boiling water for three minutes. Put into an ice water bath and drain after three minutes. Lay the leaves out on a towel and dry. Pack the leaves into freezer bags, remove as much air as possible, and store them in your freezer.
Frozen chicory lasts for six months.
Collards are full of delicious nutrients, and these greens freeze well to be used in future recipes. They’re versatile and easy to use because you don’t need to thaw before adding them to your favorite recipe.
Here is how to freeze collard greens.
Blanch the greens in boiling water for three to four minutes, and then transfer to ice water for three to four minutes. Let the collard greens drain in a colander before putting them into a freezer bag. Remove as much air as possible before putting them into the freezer.
Collard greens store for one year in the freezer.
Learning how to freeze corn is easy, but you have several options to consider. Corn can be frozen unblanched on the cob, unblanched cut kernels, and blanched cut kernels.
The easiest way to freeze corn is to simply shuck the corn, put it in a freezer bag, and toss them into the freezer. However, I found that blanching the corn for three to five minutes before freezing creates the best texture once thawed.
Kernels can be frozen, blanched, or unblanched. The hardest part is cutting the kernels off of the cob; it’s time-consuming. If you opt to blanch, cook the corn on the cobs, then cut off the kernels. It’s much easier.
I’ve found that the easiest way to cut corn off the cob is by using a bunt pan and holding the corn cop in the center of the pan. Slide a sharp knife down the cob to cut the kernels, and they’ll fall right into the bundt pan. That’s my favorite way to freeze corn since it takes up much less space in the freezer than whole frozen corn cobs.
Keep corn in the freezer for eight to 12 months.
Most gardeners prefer to preserve cucumbers by canning pickles, either dill pickles, or my favorite, bread and butter pickles. That said, freezing cucumbers is possible if you made enough pickles for the year. The texture will be different when thawed, but if you’re okay with that, learn how to freeze cucumbers!
Slice the cucumbers and put them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Freeze for several hours before putting them in a freezer bag.
They won’t be crisp, but they’ll still be wonderful for flavoring fresh dishes, or for juicing for an epic cucumber gin and tonic.
Frozen cucumbers last for up to 12 months.
Eggplant is another vegetable that freezes well, but once thawed, it won’t have the same texture as fresh eggplant. Before freezing, it’s a smart idea to bake eggplant due to its high water content. Baking pulls out excess moisture that would cause freezer burn.
Slice the eggplant into one-inch rounds and place them on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes at 350°. Then, let the rounds cool complete, which is a necessary step. Once cooled, put the slices into a freezer bag, using wax paper between layers to prevent sticking.
I actually love to freeze prepared baba ganoush, which is just slow-roasted eggplant mixed with olive oil, tahini, and spices. Since it’s a puree with a good bit of oil, it’s better at resisting freezer burn.
Eggplant freezes well for up to eight months.
Anyone who uses garlic often while cooking should learn how to freeze garlic. Instead of peeling and mincing garlic for each recipe, try doing the work in bulk every few months. While frozen garlic loses the crunchy texture of fresh garlic, the flavor is just as potent.
Peel as many garlic cloves as you want to use and put them in a small food processor with some olive oil. All you need is enough oil to coat the cloves, typically one tablespoon per garlic head. Use the pulse function until all of the cloves are minced.
Cover a baking sheet with wax paper and drop teaspoons of minced garlic onto the sheet. Then, freeze for several hours before transferring to a freezer bag. Each teaspoon is equal to one garlic clove.
Garlic freezes well for up to six months.
Kale is the ultimate winter green, capable of staying in the garden after the temperature dip below freezing. If you end up with an abundance of kale, don’t let it go bad; try freezing kale instead.
Wash the leaves well to remove debris and dirt and separate the leaves because dirt accumulates at the base. It’s possible to freeze kale without blanching, but it must be used within six weeks to avoid a bitter flavor developing.
For long-term kale storage, blanch the leaves and steam for 2.5 minutes in boiling water, then plunge into an ice bag.
Let drain and dry the leaves on a towel, using it to squeeze out excess moisture. Transfer to freezer bags, getting out as much air as possible before putting the bags in the freezer.
Blanched kale stores for eight to 12 months in the freezer.
In recent years, kohlrabi gained popularity, and more gardeners began to grow it each year, but storing kohlrabi is a little more complicated. The best way to store kohlrabi for long-term use is by freezing it. (Though, I’ve heard it’s decent pickled too.)
Cut off the tops and roots, making sure to wash the bulbs well. Cut the kohlrabi into ¼ inch slices or dice ½ inch cubes. Blanch kohlrabi for one to two minutes in boiling water, transferring immediately to an ice bag. Store in freezer bags or freezer-safe containers.
Frozen kohlrabi lasts for ten to 12 months.
Freezing leeks is a great idea; it’s much easier to add them later to soups, stews, and casseroles. Clean the leeks well and chop them into appropriately sized pieces. Make sure to allow the leeks to dry well before freezing.
Flash freeze leeks in a single layer on wax paper before transferring to a freezer container. When ready to use the frozen leeks, toss them into your recipe without thawing. Easy peasy!
Frozen leeks must be used within five to six months.
Not all mushrooms freeze the same. Button mushrooms, creminis, and portobellos can be frozen raw or cooked. Hen of the woods and maitake mushrooms freeze raw.
Clean the mushrooms well, tossing any that are shriveled, then chop them into slices or dices. The pieces should be no thicker than ½ inch. Place the pieces on a baking sheet in a single layer, freezing for two hours. Then, transfer to a freezer container.
If you want to freeze cooked mushrooms, clean and slice in the same manner, then toss the mushrooms into oil or butter over medium-low heat. Cook for four to five minutes, then let them cool to room temperature. Store in portions that are no greater than ½ cup.
Most frozen mushrooms last for nine to 12 months.
Freezing fresh okra lets you enjoy it all winter long. While okra can be pickled, freezing is the best preservation method, letting you toss these veggies into dinners with ease.
Wash okra in a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and water. Then, cut off the stems, but don’t cut into the seed cells. Blanch okra in boiling water; blanch small pods for three minutes and large pods for four minutes.
Stop the cooking process by transferring the okra to an ice water bath and then draining it in a colander. You can leave the pods whole or chop them into pieces. Flash freeze in an even layer for one hour before transferring to a freezer bag. Frozen okra can be added to recipes without thawing.
Whole frozen okra should be used within one year and chopped okra within nine months.
Onions are in most good dinner recipes, so why not make your life a bit easier and learn how to freeze onions in bulk. You don’t even need to blanch or pre-tart them in any way; onions are so easy to freeze.
Chop onions to your desired size; diced or sliced works the same. It’s not recommended to freeze whole onions. A mandolin slicer makes it easier to cut even pieces.
Freeze onions in either a pre-measured amount or a thin layer so that you can break off the amount needed. Another option is to flash freeze in a single layer before transferring to a freezer bag. Typically, one medium onion is equal to one cup of diced onions, so break off the number of onions needed from the freezer.
While “blanching” isn’t required, I still often sautee the onions before freezing. Just about every recipe I cook on a busy weeknight starts by sauteing onions in olive oil and doing this step ahead saves time. It also makes them pack better in the freezer, as she shrink when sauteed.
Raw onions last up to eight months in the freezer, and sauteed will keep for 12 to 14 months.
Parsnips are similar to a carrot or a rutabaga, and since both freeze well, you might guess that parsnips freeze well. Make sure to scrub and peel them beforehand because parsnips are a root vegetable, and peeling is preferred to avoid harboring bacteria.
Cut off the tops and bottoms, then cut the parsnips into bite-sized pieces. Let them blanch in boiling water for three minutes before transferring to an ice bath. Drain and let the parsnips set while drying. Then, transfer to the freezer.
Parsnips store for up to 12 months in the freezer.
Freezing peas is the best way to preserve them after the garden dies down. While peas can be frozen unblanched, they lose their flavor and texture if you freeze for longer than four to six weeks.
The hardest step is to shell all of your peas; do so as soon as you pick them because peas continue to ripen after harvesting. Wash your shelled peas and blanch in boiling water for only 1 ½ minutes. Scoop the peas out and put them into an ice-water bath. Once cooled, drain the water.
Spread the cooled peas out in a single layer on a baking tray and flash freeze for one to two hours. Transfer the peas to a freezer bag. This allows you to scoop out as much as you need for whatever you’re cooking.
Blanched peas store for 12 months in the freezer.
I always have plenty of peppers growing in my garden, and while I can some into pickled peppers, most go into our freezer for recipes. I like to scoop out what I need from the freezer bag rather than chopping a fresh pepper each time I need it.
This method works for both hot and sweet peppers.
Slice the peppers in half, removing all of the seeds. Then, slice or dice the peppers into the desired size and shape. Rinse the peppers well, drain, and dry with a paper towel. The drier the peppers are, the less likely they’ll end up with freezer burn.
Spread the peppers out in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze for 12 hours. Put the frozen peppers into a freezer bag, removing as much air as possible. It’s best to thaw peppers before adding them to recipes.
(I also can pickled peppers, which work great in curries that often call for both vinegar and peppers, so I’m able to use them in cooking that way.)
Frozen peppers store for 12 months in the freezer.
Canning potatoes in a pressure canner works for soups, but they won’t end up working as french fries. That’s where freezing potatoes come into play. The key is to cook the potatoes before freezing them partially.
Start by chopping the potatoes into whatever shape you want, such as fries, wedges, or shredded. It’s up to you whether or not you leave the skins on the potatoes. Then, steam the potatoes (or bake them) until they’re al dente. They should be tender but not soft enough to eat.
Put them into a large bowl of ice water. After several minutes, drain the water and let it cool and dry on a towel. Spread out on a baking sheet in a single layer for six to 12 hours. If the potatoes touch, they’ll freeze together, so you might need several trays. After freezing, put it into a freezer-safe container.
Frozen potatoes stay good for ten to 12 months.
Radishes divide people – you either love or hate them. If you love radishes, you’ll be happy to know that, with the right steps, it’s possible to freeze radishes. Improper freezing techniques yield radishes with a nasty texture and flavor, so learn how to freeze radishes the right way.
Clean the radishes well, but leave the skins in place. Cut them into small pieces; radishes retain a lot of moisture. (It’s not possible to freeze radishes whole without the skin splitting.)
Blanch radishes for two to three minutes before transferring to an ice water bath. Once cooled and dried, toss them into a freezer bag.
Radishes store in the freezer for six months.
Rhubarb is one of my favorite vegetables, but they only ripen for a short time frame. While I love making rhubarb jam (and strawberry rhubarb jam), freezing rhubarb makes it easy to toss it into baked goods throughout the year.
Cut rhubarb stalks into one-inch pieces, and spread them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Freeze for several hours until they’re firm, then place them in a freezer bag or container.
Use frozen rhubarb the same way that you might use fresh rhubarb. Toss the pieces into crumbles, jam, pies, or sauces.
Rhubarb stores well in the freezer for up to one year.
Canning rutabagas is possible, but the flavor becomes more robust and not-so-appealing. The best way to preserve rutabagas is by freezing them.
Start by cleaning, peeling, and cutting the rutabagas into cubes and blanching them in boiling water for three minutes. Transfer to an ice bath to stop the cooking process, and drain thoroughly. Make sure the rutabaga pieces are cool and dried.
Put the diced pieces into freezer containers or bags and toss them into the freezer. Another option is to boil and mash the rutabagas, similar to mashed potatoes, and store them in plastic containers for easy side dishes.
Expect frozen rutabagas to last up to 12 months.
Blanching is only necessary if you want to freeze spinach for longer than a few weeks. Unblanched frozen spinach eventually turns brown because of enzymes changing the texture and coloring.
Blanch spinach for two minutes in boiling water. Use tongs or a slotted spoon to remove the spinach and place it in an ice bath. Chill for three minutes and place in a colander to drain. Squeeze the spinach with your hands to remove excess water.
Put the blanched spinach into freezer containers in appropriate portion sizes or a muffin pan with liners. Freeze and transfer the muffin liners into a freezer bag if using that method.
Blanched spinach must be used within three to six months.
Zucchini is the most well-known summer squash, but all varieties can be frozen using the same methods. I freeze most of the zucchini shredded because my family loves zucchini bread, but you also can freeze summer squash in slices or zoodles. Zoodles are noodles made from zucchinis via a spiralizer.
If shredding zucchini, grate by hand or with a food processor, and put into a colander. Press down, removing as much water from the zucchini as possible. You also can squeeze the shredded zucchini inside of a towel. Store in freezer bags in two-cup portions which is the average amount needed for a loaf of zucchini bread.
Blanch slices for three to six minutes, depending on the thickness. Transfer to an ice bath, and drain well after cooling. Transfer to freezer containers. If you have a vacuum sealer, flash freeze in a single layer first so that you can remove as much air as possible.
Summer squash stores in the freezer for three to six months.
Freezing sweet potatoes is done in the same way as freezing regular potatoes. They can be frozen in any shape and size that you desire.
Scrub and clean the sweet potatoes, then boil for 10-15 minutes to get tender. Remove from the water and place in an ice bag to stop the cooking process. Let cool.
Peel and slice sweet potatoes in the desired size, such as fries or diced. Spread out on a baking sheet, making sure no pieces touch each other, and freeze for several hours. Place the sweet potatoes into a freezer bag, removing as much air as possible.
(Personally, I prefer canning sweet potatoes because they’re amazing eaten with a fork right out of the jar.)
Keep sweet potatoes in the freezer for up to 12 months.
Swiss chard is best eaten fresh, but freezing is the only recommended preservation method. Separate the stalks from the leaves; stalks take longer to cook, so this is for convenience. Also, some recipes call for one or the other.
Blanch Swiss chard stalks for two minutes and leaves for one minute. After cooling in an ice bath, make sure to drain these greens well, removing as much moisture as possible. Place the stalks and leaves in separate containers, and remove as much air as possible.
Swiss chard freezes well for six months to one year.
Freezing tomatoes is so easy; you don’t even need to peel them. I freeze all of my tomatoes until the fall when I make large tomato sauce batches, but frozen tomatoes can be used in other recipes as well.
The best types of tomatoes to freeze are Roma and other paste varieties. Beefsteaks and juicy tomatoes won’t thaw properly. These tomatoes need to be used as stewed tomatoes, but you won’t be able to slice in them and expect their shape to stay.
Keep the tomatoes in a freezer bag – no blanching needed. When it’s time to use them, run the whole frozen tomato under warm water; the skip slips right off. Use your tomatoes however you need for the recipes.
Tomatoes last for one year in the freezer.
The best way to preserve turnips is by freezing them. Try freezing turnips diced, cooked, mashed, or roasted.
The simplest method is to blanch diced, peeled turnips, cut into ½ inch pieces, for two minutes. Transfer the pieces to an ice water bath to stop the cooking process before draining in a colander. Spread the turnip pieces out on a baking sheet and freeze for two hours. Then, put all of the turnip diced into a freezer bag or container.
Turnips freeze well for ten months.
Winter Squash & Pumpkin
All winter squash types can be frozen to be used in pies, soups, muffins, and other delicious dishes. It makes using these winter veggies a little less intimidating. The instructions for freezing winter squash are the same no matter the type you freeze.
Cut the squash in half, scooping out seeds. Make sure to save the seeds for next year’s garden! Put the halves cut-side down on a baking sheet with ½ inch water. Bake at 400° for 40 minutes until cooked thoroughly.
Remove the squash and let cool until you can handle the halves. Scoop out the insides and put them into freezer bags. Store them flattened for the best use of freezer space.
(I do pressure can pumpkin in cubes for use in curries which require pumpkin chunks instead of puree, but if you’re going to be using puree then freezing is easier and yields better results.)
Winter squashes last for six to eight months in the freezer.
Food Preservation Methods
Looking for more food preservation guides? Read on…
- Canning Recipes ~ 100+ Recipes for Canning Everything!
- 100+ Dehydrator Recipes
- 5 Best Vegetables to Dehydrate for Winter Soups
- 20+ Ways to Preserve Pumpkin
- 30+ Ways to Preserve Apples