Thursday, June 25, 2009
Preserving the Harvest: Freezing Veggies
So we have a ton of vegetables ready to eat in our garden. It's a combination of ideal conditions, lots of travel, and hubby being gone. So I decided to try my hand at freezing the extras.
After doing a bit of research online and in my food preservation books, I decided the easiest, tastiest, and healthiest method would be to prepare and wash the vegetables, blanch them for 1-3 minutes, immerse in an ice bath, dry and place in freezer bags.
So now we have a freezer of Kale, Swiss Chard, Spinach, Bush Green Beans, Peas, and Sugar Snap Peas! It seems that none of these vegetables will be able to stand alone as a side dish but mixed into soup, rice, pasta, or a casserole, they'll be great. And hopefully I'll like having lots of organic vegetables, basically prepared in the fall!
I checked Preserving Summer's Bounty out from our library and it has been so helpful! I decided to commit one morning to freezing our veggies and it only took about an hour. But an hour of work for local, cheap, organic vegetables in the winter will be worth it. It has me questioning if starting next summer we could live the 100-foot diet in our urban backyard!
I appreciated this tip from Preserving Summer's Bounty that saved time and hassle: when attempting to quickly cool blanched vegetables do not immerse them in an ice bath where they will lose more nutrients into the water when drained and you will need new ice for each water bath. Instead, just place the blanched vegetables into a small container and then settle them on top of a larger bowl of ice and then place a bag of ice on top. This worked very quickly and saved the step of draining the vegetables again once they were cooled. You can then pop the ice bag into the freezer to use again!!
This post is part of the Food Roots series at Nourishing Days. Go check out more entries on local, seasonal foods or what people are doing to find your food’s roots. Thanks for visiting!