Preserve Summer Produce the Easy Way: Freeze it!

August 22nd, 2016


Make tasty meatless meals with summer produce all year long!

Summer is a wonderful time to sample new fruits and vegetables – but how can you enjoy those flavors all year long? Preserve your summer favorites quickly and easily by freezing them! Use one of these three methods to freeze your particular produce for the colder months.

 

Freeze Berries Individually

Individual Quick Freeze

Begin by washing and drying small, fleshy fruits like fresh berries or tomatoes. Place each fruit on a baking sheet and lay flat in a freezer. Make sure each item of produce has space and isn’t touching its neighbors – if they are touching when they freeze, you’ll have to use them all at once. Allow the produce to freeze thoroughly over 2-4 hours. Once frozen, move your fruits to an airtight container or freezer storage bag. For more on freezing and using berries, click here.

 

Blanch and Freeze

Some fruits and vegetables like squash and zucchini should be quickly blanched before freezing. To blanch, bring a large pot of water to a boil and have a bowl of ice water standing by. Clean and chop your veggies, boil them for about one minute, then quickly remove and place straight into the ice water. Pat dry, freeze, and store. You can also blanch cooking greens in the microwave, and peaches can be blanched whole – just slit the skin of the fruit before boiling. For more about how blanching helps preserve your food, click here.

Freeze Zucchini by Blanching First

 

Freeze Herbs in Broth or Oil

Freeze in Liquid

Fresh summer herbs can be easily preserved by freezing them in liquid. Clean your herbs and chop or dice them to a small, manageable size. Pour a teaspoon of each herb into the molds of an ice cube tray, and then add a cooking oil like olive or canola oil. Make sure the herbs are saturated with liquid, then allow them to freeze solid. Pack away your produce and keep frozen for later use. For more on preserving herbs, click here.

 

There are a few foods that shouldn’t go in the freezer, but many fruits and veggies can be preserved with minimal preparations and supplies. Thawed produce works wonderfully in a variety of recipes from soups and sauces to baked goods. For more information on what to freeze click here, and find out more about cooking with frozen foods here.  Frozen foods can last several months in the freezer, giving you the opportunity to enjoy the flavors of summer in your meatless meals all fall and winter long!