Home Freezing and Food Preservation Ideas: Fruits and Veggies
The beginner's guide to preserving fresh produce.
Want to save money and boost nutrition? Try preserving fresh
fruits and vegetables from your
garden or the farmers market to use year-round -- no water bath or pressure
cooker required! The trick: Let your freezer do the work.
And don't worry; we won't get too complicated here. This is a beginner's
course to preserving food. Only the absolutely easiest ways to freeze and
preserve fruits, vegetables, and herbs will be discussed! If you have a handful
of freezer plastic bags, a mixing spoon, a refrigerator, and microwave or
stove, you have everything you need to get started.
Here are some tips, techniques, and recipes to help you get started
freezing fruits, vegetables, and herbs.
Dry Pack Freezing Technique for Fruit
The dry pack freezing method involves freezing individual slices or pieces
of fruit on a cookie sheet. Just spread out the pieces of fruit on a cookie
sheet or jellyroll plan (line the pan with wax paper if you like) and place in
the freezer. When the pieces are solidly frozen, remove them with a spatula or
large spoon and pack in plastic freezer bags or freezer containers.
Berries are great candidates for freezing. Here are three steps to freezing
raspberries or blackberries:
- Gently wash the berries and remove any damaged pieces of fruit. Drain.
- Spread berries on a tray or cookie sheet (lined with wax paper, if desired)
and place in the freezer until each piece is frozen.
- Pack frozen fruit in containers or freezer bags. Seal well and keep in the
freezer until needed.
You can also freeze apple slices to use for apple pie. Just wash the apples
in cold water, cut them into quarters and remove the core. Cut the quarters
into slices, and use the dry pack freezing technique described above.
And believe it or not, the same method works for whole tomatoes. After
Florida resident Tarrant Figlio, a message board moderator for WebMD, planted
too many tomato plants last summer, she discovered a nifty way to preserve them
She washed her extra tomatoes, put them whole on cookie sheets, and then
froze them. Once they were frozen, she put them in freezer bags. To use them,
she just rinsed them under warm water to remove the skins.
"I didn't have the time or energy to can them all, plus was a little
nervous about the acidity safety issue," Figlio says. "I used them
mostly in recipes that call for cooked/canned tomatoes ... not fresh; because
the texture gets mushy once they are thawed."
For freezing vegetables, you'll use a similar technique, but apply a little
heat first. Carol Ann Burtness, MEd, with the Minnesota Extension Office, says
her favorite preserving tip is to briefly blanch the vegetables, drain them,
spread them out in a single layer on a cookie sheet, and place it in the