My garden is giving me more vegetables than I can eat or giveaway. I know canning is an option, but I’m looking for a simpler way to “put them up.” Can I freeze my own, like the frozen veggies in the supermarket?
Answer: Yes. Home freezing is an easy way to store your excess vegetables and it’s less labor-intensive than home canning (which of course has its own merits).
To freeze your vegetables, you must first blanch them. Take the largest pot you have and fill it with water. Bring to a boil. Meanwhile, fill your sink or another large pot or bowl with very cold water. Fling a batch of vegetables into the boiling water and leave them for a few minutes. Using a slotted spoon, scoop them out and drop them into the cold water. Remove them from the cold water, drain them and pat them dry.
It’s a good idea to “open freeze” vegetables and herbs before transferring them to freezer bags or plastic containers. Just lay them on a small baking sheet lined with parchment paper and put them in the freezer until they are frozen, then move them into the bags. This prevents the vegetables from freezing in a block, so that later you can easily remove some and put the rest back into the freezer.
For the best taste, use within 12 to 18 months.
Some more tips:
- Don’t let vegetables languish between the garden and the freezer. Freeze them as soon as possible after picking.
- Always divide the vegetables into batches for blanching. If you blanch too many at once, you will lover the water temperature and they will go soggy.
- Break cauliflower or broccoli into florets and top and tail your beans first.
- You can freeze fruit to turn into jams later or for cooking and baking, but most fruits aren’t very good for eating after they’ve been frozen. Open freeze soft fruits before bagging them (see above).
- When filling freezer bags or plastic containers, leave an inch or two of space at the top for the vegetables to expand.
- Don’t forget to label and date everything.
- Herbs and green peppers do not need to be blanched before freezing.
See an easy way to make pickles