• Fruits & Veggie’s: Can I Freeze That?

     

    If you’re like me you crave certain fruits and vegetables during the year when they’re not in Season. This can be frustrating because it leads to one of two things, you can either pay astronomical prices to buy it out of season, or you can’t find it.

    The solution I have found is to buy my fruits and vegetables while they’re in season, and on sale. I then freeze them so I’m able to enjoy them all year long.

    When a fruit or vegetable is in season that’s when your going to receive the most health benefits from that particular product because you’re buying it raw and fresh, You also reap the financial benefit because your purchasing it at its lowest prices. Why? Because there’s ample supply.

    So next time you’re at your local farmers market and see an ample supply of squash, zucchini, green beans, blackberries, and blueberries at fantastic prices you don’t have to sigh and WISH that you could take advantage of the rock-bottom prices, You CAN! So fill your basket up knowing that you can enjoy them all year long.

    Now, let’s talk about what you do with all this yummy goodness once you get it home. My kids would vote for gorging on mounds of berries ….. I would argue that by saying ……  Well freeze it of course.

    Don’t let this Process intimidate you. Freezing produce really is a simple process. I promise!!!

    Before you get started Let me answer a couple of basic questions I tend to frequently get asked when teaching on this topic.

    I also want to familiarize you with a couple useful terms that you will need to know to freeze properly.

    Q: How long can you freeze something?

    A: Indefinitely, however it doesn’t mean that’s what you should do. Produce that has been prepared and processed properly and frozen at 0°F can last 12 to 18 months if stored properly. The key is storing it properly. If it’s not air tight, it’s going to get freezer burn pretty quickly.

    Not sure how to make sure that doesn’t happen? No Problem! Come to one of our classes and we will teach you the in’s & out’s of freezing and preserving food.

    Our Cooking & freezing class is designed just for you!

    Q: Is freezer burn unsafe?

    A: No. However, it does compromise the quality and taste. By packaging your foods properly, and rotating frozen foods in your freezer you can avoid freezer burn. Let’s face it … we’ve all dealt with this at one time or another and even thought it won’t make you sick … it just doesn’t taste good. AmIright 😉

    A few helpful terms:

    Flash freeze: The process whereby objects are quickly frozen also known as blast freezing. (This process helps keep foods from freezing together.)

    Blanching: To put food in boiling water for a few seconds to loosen the skin or to kill enzymes. (This process helps keep veggies Crisp and tender It also allows you to preserve color, texture and flavor)

    When freezing fresh produce there are a couple different ways go about it.

    In order to know what method you want to use you need to know how you intend to use that fruit or vegetable. Having some type of a plan before you start the freezing process is always best.

     

    For Example:

    Berries: Prep the berries as normal and flash freeze them. This will allow you to pull out only what you need when you need it.

    Peppers: Prep the peppers as normal  (I chop them up) and flash freeze them. This will allow you to pull out only what you need when you need it.

    Mushrooms: Blanche them. This will preserve the texture and color of the mushroom.

     Helpful Hint: I like to first blanch my mushrooms and then flash freeze them. This keeps the color and texture with allowing me to throw them in a ziplock to “grab what I need” for soups, stews, and casseroles.

    There are tons of great resources on the Internet for freezing produce. I suggest running a Google search on freezing fruits and vegetables to learn more.

    Just a thought ….. Although anything can be frozen it doesn’t mean everything should be frozen. By using the Internet as a resource this will help guide you to what should and shouldn’t be frozen. There is also trial and error. That’s what i’ve done a lot of through the years. If you are not sure how something will freeze it’s always best to freeze a small amount and test run it before you invest your time and money into something that may not work.

    We also go into more depth about what freezes well and doesn’t in our Cook & freeze class. You should come hang out with us!

    As you begin remember to start slow and build upon it. It’s easy to get excited and go out and buy tons of food and then come home and feel very overwhelmed and it all goes to waste. I know I’ve been there before!

    Start out slow, find one or two things to bring home and try. Once you’ve got the hang of it and you’ve become a blanching flash freezing boss (hehe) add to it. Freeze food until your heart is content!

    I would love to hear what you try, and how it works. I encourage you to post in the comments or on our Facebook page. Let’s of life together!

    Happy Freezing Friends!

    Shannon

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