Freezing your fresh veggies and fruits is the best way to extend their shelf life, but if you do it the wrong way, they will become saggy and bland. Therefore, you might want to learn how to freeze them properly to retain their flavor and nourishment.
What Will Happen to Veggies and Fruits that Are Frozen the Wrong Way?
Some veggies and fruits have crystals forming around them after freezing. When these crystals melt, the produce becomes mushy and dry. Well, this happens as a result of improper freezing. The water content of the frozen fruits and veggies expands and they start to get cellular damage.
How to Prevent This?
The formed crystals should be smaller to have less cell wall damage during the freezing process. You can achieve this if you freeze your fruits and veggies in high cold temperatures.
How to Pack Your Produce for Freezing
The first thing to do is get a tight and secure lid pack. Use moisture proof containers or heavy duty freezer bags. The produce needs to retain the moisture, and you need to remove as much air from the bags as you can before sealing them. Use tape to wrap the lid in order to secure the seal.
Then, set your freezer temperature to the highest setting. You can cause lower temperature and bruising if you overload or place one on top of the other. Wash and dry your fruits and veggies thoroughly. Put them in the container as wholes or chopped in pieces. If you like to freeze them faster, cut them in small pieces before placing them in the container.
But, there are some which are better to pack as wholes, like blackberries, bananas, tomatoes, corn, and chili peppers.
How to Freeze Fruits
Delicate Fruits (blueberry, raspberry, etc.)
Place them in a single layer on a baking sheet and then put them in the freezer for half an hour. Once your delicate fruits are frozen, put them in a freezer bag, removing as much air as possible before sealing. Then, return back to the freezer. If you like, you can add some sugar syrup in your delicate fruits before freezing them.
Sensitive Fruits (apples and other fruits which easily turn brown)
Either crush few vitamin C tablets or buy powdered vitamin C to create an ascorbic acid. Stir ½ a teaspoon of it in three tablespoons of water, and use the solution to brush or sprinkle the fruits before freezing. This should prevent your fruits from bruising.
- Check if the fruits have any damage or punctures after washing them well.
- Choose the fruits you like to freeze and treat them with ascorbic acid or sugar syrup.
- Then, pack them as explained and put them in freezer.
How to Freeze Veggies
Blanch your vegetables in boiling water and then submerge them in ice cold water until they turn cold. Place the cold vegetables on top of paper towels, and make sure you dry them off completely. Put them in a heavy duty bag or container and seal.
Why Blanching before Freezing?
Because it will prevent color damage, bacteria growth, bruising, and loss of nutrients. Always choose fresh fruits and vegetables to retain their taste and nutrient content.
Thawing the Veggies and Fruits
Boil most of the frozen veggies as soon as you remove from freezer, except for corn. You don’t want to thaw the delicate fruits completely, as they will become very mushy. Therefore, it’s best to consume them while still a bit frozen.
Why Freeze Your Veggies and Fruits?
Although it’s easy to find and keep them for a longer time, canned veggies and fruits lose a great deal of their nutrient content and quality. So, freezing them will not only preserve their quality and taste, but it will also give you a chance to make your own mix of veggies and fruits, without costing you a penny. They can last up to 6-12 months. In this way, you can eat your favorite seasonal produce even when it’s not in season.
- Place the date and the name of the produce you freeze
- To consume the fruits which were frozen first, label the containers and bags with date
- If there are some fruits you don’t plant to eat, use them to make jams
- Instead of regular tape, use a freezer tape
- Remove the air from bags and containers using a vacuum sealer
Once again, freezing your veggies and fruits is not only a healthier option than canned produce, but it will also keep them in the fridge for longer.