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Guide to Freezing Fresh Produce

Freezing fruits and vegetables is one of the easiest ways to preserve the abundance.

Tips for Freezing Produce continued...

Frozen food can develop rancid flavors as a result of contact with air. Prevent this by choosing containers that are moisture- and vapor-proof. Opt for glass jars, metal containers, freezer bags or other plastic containers that are designed for storing frozen foods. If using plastic bags, be sure to remove as much air as possible before sealing. A vacuum sealer is also useful for removing air and preserving quality.

Packing

There are two kinds of packing: solid-pack and loose-pack. To solid-pack produce, place prepared food in the desired container and freeze. Solid-packing conserves space and is useful when planning to use large batches of frozen vegetables or fruit at one time. To loose-pack, freeze one layer of fruit or vegetables on a cookie sheet. Once the produce is frozen, transfer it to the storage container. Loose-packing takes up more space, but it is easier to remove just the amount desired, such as a handful of peas or a cup of raspberries.

Be sure to leave head space (open space at the top of the freezer container) when solid packing produce, as foods expand as they freeze. When loose-packing frozen foods, headspace is not necessary as the foods are already frozen. Moisture or food on the sealing edges of the container will prevent proper sealing, so wipe all edges clean before sealing. Label each container with the name and date packaged. Most frozen produce will keep for 8 to 12 months.

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