Freezing Fresh Foods the Right Way
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We’re all spending more time at home these days, so why not spend some of it learning to extend the life of your produce? Freezing food is one of the best ways to combat food waste and allows you to have plenty of food on hand for an extended period of time.
What You’ll Need
- Veggies and fruit of choice
A pot of water
- An ice bath (a bowl or bucket of water with ice in it)
- Large sheet pan
- Freezer bags or resealable plastic containers
- Freezer set to 0˚ F or colder
Freezing Fresh Produce
The best way to freeze fresh vegetables is to blanch them first. Blanching is a simple cooking technique that prepares the food to preserve freshness. First, you want to prepare the food as you would if you were getting ready to eat it (e.g. trim stems from green beans, cut cauliflower or broccoli into florets, peel and slice carrots and so on).
Next, boil a pot of water and just before adding the vegetables, add a couple of teaspoons of salt to the water. Salt helps to maintain color and improve flavor, but it may be omitted if you wish. Add the vegetables to the pot in small batches so that the water continues to boil and cook them for a minute or two. Using a colander, immediately drain and transfer the vegetables to an ice-water bath to halt the cooking process. After draining, spread them out onto a large sheet pan to dry thoroughly (wet veggies will develop frost), spread onto a sheet pan, freeze, then transfer to freezer bags and store in your freezer.
Freezing fruits is similar, but you can skip the blanching step.
Freezing Fresh Herbs
You can freeze fresh herbs by chopping them, mixing them with a small amount of water or olive oil and then freezing the mixture in ice cube trays. Once frozen, transfer the cubes to freezer bags for storage.