With all of the farmer’s market hauls this summer, some people may find it difficult to use up all that fresh produce every week or before it goes bad. Just like meat, you may find it helpful to freeze your vegetables and fruit. Here are some helpful tips for freezing your veggies so your fresh produce never goes to waste and provides long after the season is over!
- Prep & Blanch your veggies!
Never blanched anything before? Don’t worry, it’s easy! It’s basically just cooking your vegetables for about 5 minutes in boiling water. Doing this will help keep the flavor and nutrients in your vegetables after they’ve been frozen and you’ve reheated them again. All you’ve got to do is thoroughly wash your desired vegetable, cut it into desired sizes, throw them in a large pot of boiling water for no more than 5 minutes, and voila! Blanched vegetables ready to freeze.
- “Frozen at the peak of freshness”
If you’ve ever purchased frozen vegetables, you’ll notice that many of the packages say that the vegetables inside were “frozen at the peak of freshness.” This is a good rule to follow for your vegetables, too. If you have picked up an item or two that just doesn’t seem like it’s ripe yet, give your veggies a couple of days and then freeze them.
- Glass jars, freezer bags, metal containers are your friends
When freezing, stick to containers that are only meant for freezing – likely these containers are going to be way better at keeping frozen items sealed air-tight which is important for preventing any harmful bacteria from forming on your food.
- Don’t forget about your fresh herbs!
That’s right, herbs like basil, thyme, mint, parsley, chives, or any other fresh herb you may pick up can be frozen up to 4 months. Herbs will require blanching as well, but unlike your bulkier vegetables, you’ll only need to blanch herbs in boiling water for a few seconds. After blanching, transfer your herbs to a bowl of ice water to chill for several seconds. Dry the herbs thoroughly, placing them on a baking sheet and covered loosely with plastic wrap. After an hour, put these in a storage bag or jar to finish freezing.
What are your tips for extending the life of your farmers market purchases? Give us your secrets in the comments!