Maybe your garden is producing faster than you can consume. Maybe there’s a great bargain on green beans at the farmers market. If you’ve got extra produce that you aren’t able to eat, freezing it for later is an easy way to make sure it doesn’t go to waste. It’s also a great money saver because you won’t be paying a premium price for out-of-season vegetables come winter.
Before you freeze most vegetables, you need to blanch them. Blanching is a method that partially cooks the vegetables in boiling water to help them retain their nutrients, color and texture. Then the vegetables are plunged into an ice bath (this part is called shocking) to stop the cooking process. For a step-by-step tutorial on how to blanch, visit All Recipes.
One of the tricks to blanching is knowing just how long each type of vegetable should be boiled before it is pulled out. Here’s a handy chart that I got from my farmers market's weekly newsletter.
- Beets: cook to tender
- Broccoli (1.5" pieces): 3 minutes
- Cabbage (shredded): 1 1/2 minutes
- Cauliflower: 3 minutes
- Corn-on-the-cob, large ears: 10 minutes
- Eggplant: 4 minutes
- Greens: 2 minutes, 3 for collards
- Green or wax beans: 3 minutes
- Mushrooms: (steam, don't boil)
Whole (steamed): 5 minutes
Buttons or Quarters (steamed): 3.5 minutes
Slices (steamed): 3 minutes
- Onion, sliced into rings: 10-15 seconds
- Sweet Peppers
Halves: 3 minutes
Strips or Rings: 2 minutes
- Pumpkin: cook through, freeze cubed or mashed
- Zucchini/yellow squash: 3 minutes
- Squash-winter: cook through, freeze cubed or mashed
- Sweet potatoes: cook through, freeze cubed or mashed