While you may think fresh vegetables are available only during the peak summer months, you ought to revisit your perception because the good news is, you can enjoy the fresh crunchiness all through the year of your freezer. Be it broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, or other green leafy vegetables, store a portion of these homegrown or organic freshly brought Vegetables for the rest of the winter.
Can You Freeze Raw Vegetables?
Yes, of course, take a look at how to freeze them effortlessly. Here are five essential steps to keep in mind when storing veggies in the freezer.
Step 1: Segregate And Store
Potatoes and onions may be kept in the same container outside, but they should be wrapped in two different plastic wraps or containers when storing them. The same goes for tomatoes, zucchini, and cabbage. Thus, the first vital step is to segregate the variety of vegetables you wish to freeze to avoid cross-contamination.
Step 2: Wash In Running Water
As soon as you segregate your veggies, wash them with clean running water thoroughly. As you will freeze these veggies for a prolonged time, you need to make sure it does not carry along dirt, mud, or other impurities that have the chance to get into your food.
Step 3: Blanch
Blanching is a very crucial step as in this step, you immerse the vegetables in boiling water but do not boil the vegetable ultimately. Blanching inhibits the enzymes present to ripen the vegetable further and enables getting rid of the dirt that wouldn’t be eliminated with running water. Blanching also helps to eliminate bacteria and provides suitable conditions to maintain the quality of the vegetable. Except for tomatoes and cucumbers, blanching can be applied to most vegetables.
Step 4: Ice Water Dip
As soon as you blanch the vegetables, pour ice-chilled water into a bowl and drop the veggies into the bowl. First, make sure the Vegetables are entirely chilled. Let them be chilled water for five to ten minutes at least. Next, remove them from the cold water and pat dry to prepare them for the storage step.
Step 5: Chop And Pack
Chop the veggies into desirable sizes and pack them into separate containers that are freezer-friendly. Let the veggies freeze in these containers before you plug them in plastic wraps.
Consider The Conditions
Ensure there is no air while you pack these veggies because the package needs to maintain moisture inside and the air outside to avoid oxidation of the veggies. Do not use plastic sandwich bags because they are not heavy-duty and will easily let the flow of oxygen into the bag, changing the flavor and the taste of the Vegetables. You can freeze vegetables for 18 months, but consumption of frozen food items after this period is not advised due to a decline in the quality and nutritional level.
The freezing temperature should be beyond minus four degrees, and anything below this temperature can cause harm to the quality of your frozen foods.
Which Vegetables Can Be Frozen For A Long Time?
Almost all the potatoes can be frozen for you to enjoy later during the cold winters when there is a shortage of fresh vegetables.
Potatoes and sweet potatoes- Do not peel potatoes and their cousins as the skin holds the power to keep them in integrity.
Salad greens and lettuces do not lose their water capacity and can be relished any time of the year. Make sure to chop considerable amounts because too tiny pieces will be prone to losing water quickly.
Root vegetables and tubers– wash them crystal clear and then freeze to store
Corn- only store the corn kernels and not the whole corn with its base and leaves.
Apples and pears- should always be stored separately to avoid the acidity of both the fruit to cross-contaminate.
Onions, Shallots, Scallions, and garlic– always peel and store.
Brussels sprouts and cabbage– should be frozen under similar conditions
Cucumbers and tomatoes– do not blanch before storing
Winter squash and pumpkins– make sure not to peel off the skin
Similarly, other veggies such as Bell Peppers, Fresh Chiles, Asparagus, Broccoli, cauliflower, and Celery can be frozen.
Storing vegetables isn’t a difficult task if you know how to do it. Most people do not consider the details and therefore end up storing rotten veggies or do not take fresh at the end of the storage period.
The Bottom Line
Vegetables should be immediately frozen after the thawing steps, wherein you immerse them in ice-cold water after they have been blanched. If you waste too much time, there can be increased damage to their cell wall, causing a very mushy feeling when you cook them. To reduce this mushiness and the overall breakdown of the cell wall, you should freeze them immediately. Another piece of advice is to note some unusual vegetables such as cucumbers or tomatoes that cannot be stored on similar lines. You need to skin the blanching and the cutting step as it is wise to keep such high water content vegetables naturally.