After much discussion today on Facebook about freezing fresh vegetables at home, I have some fantastic information from a fellow reader and chef Jaimee-Louise Warner.
This information is from professional college level chef training and methods used by Jamiee-Louise’s Great Aunty Ida, who grew up growing and preserving vegetables on a rural WA farm.
Snap freezing is a terrific way to preserve vegetables, as it keeps for up to 12 months in a correctly maintained freezer, you can cook the vegetables from frozen, it allows purchasing vegetables in bulk to save money, always have vegetables on hand for meals, high level of nutrients is maintained, you can fully understand where it comes from and there is an easy method to follow that uses minimal equipment.
This method applies to vegetables such as carrots, peas, corn, broccoli, cauliflower, turnips, parsnips, onion, snow peas, potatoes, pumpkin, capsicum beans and celery. It is not recommended for lettuce or Asian green leaves. Spinach can use this method, but drain really well and freeze into a block.
This is applicable for vegetables that will be cooked prior to serving, it’s not recommended for salads or raw, as they have been blanched in the process of preserving.
How to Snap Freeze
Step one: Wash and peel then cut the vegetables into inch cubes.
Step two: Submerge the vegetables in unsalted boiling water. On a high heat, bring the water back to the boil and allow to ‘cook’ for 1 minute. Then drain really well.
Step Three: Separate the pieces on a tray lined with greaseproof paper. Then leave on the bench until it has completely stopped steaming.
Step four: Place the tray in the freezer.
Step Five: Once frozen solid, place them in zip-lock bags, removing as much air as possible before sealing. Label and place back into the freezer.
Cutting into small pieces is easier to freeze. The pieces are already to portion size so it’s easier to serve.
Blanching is the process of submerging a food item into boiling water. The purpose is to remove impurities. The water should not be salted for this method.
Allowing time to stop steaming before freezing, makes sure that is doesn’t form freezer / ice burn. This will damage the food product and reduce it’s quality.
Freezing the items separately means they stay separate until defrosted. It’s exactly how the larger companies ‘snap freeze’ peas and other vegetables. So you can take out the amount you require without defrosting the whole package.
Zip-lock bags ideal for the following reasons:
1. Can make the package almost airtight when sealed.
2. It is resealable.
3. It can label them with a permanent marker.
4. The bags can stack quite easily in the freezer.
5. The bags come in different sizes and are very affordable.
Ideas for snap freezing:
– potatoes : easy mashed potatoes
– pumpkin : roasting
– beans, peas, broccoli : cook from frozen for an easy side dish or addition to dish
– celery, capsicum : addition to stir fries
– onion : easy start for meals such as spaghetti bolognese
– parsnips, turnips : soups
– cauliflower : cauliflower bake
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