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Home Freezing and Food Preservation Ideas: Fruits and Veggies

The beginner's guide to preserving fresh produce.

Freezing Basil

Basil is one of the most popular herbs with home gardeners, in part because it grows so quickly. There's nothing better than fresh basil, if you ask me, but dried and frozen basil will get you through the winter months. One of the best ways to preserve your fresh basil is to chop it up and make green ice cubes. Here's how you make them:

  • Chop up fresh basil leaves using a knife or pulse briefly in a food processor.
  • Pack the chopped basil into ice cube tray compartments and top with a mixture of lemon juice and water (1 tablespoon lemon juice to 1/2 cup of water). The antioxidants in the lemon juice help keep the leaves from turning brown.
  • Once the basil cubes are frozen, remove from the trays and store in plastic freezer bags.

Freezer Tomato Sauce

Homemade tomato sauce tastes great on pasta, pizza, and meat dishes, and is a great way to preserve all those extra tomatoes from your garden. Health-wise, it's best to cook tomato sauce or tomato puree for a short while and add some olive oil to the mixture, because these steps enhances your body's ability to absorb the healthy phytochemicals from the tomatoes. You can choose to cook your homemade spaghetti or marinara sauce before or after you freeze it. (See the Blender Marinara Sauce recipe below.)

Freezer Recipes for Preserving Fruits and Vegetables

Ready to start freezing? Check out these three recipes featuring fresh fruits and vegetables.

Strawberry Orange Freezer Jam


4 cups crushed strawberries (about 8 cups sliced strawberries)

1 tablespoon finely chopped orange zest (peel from 1 large orange)

Orange segments from 1 orange

2 cups powdered sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

1 box less-sugar jam package (such as Sure Jell No Sugar Needed)


  1. In large mixing bowl, combine crushed strawberries, orange zest, and sugar. Let mixture stand for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Dissolve the less-sugar jam powder in 1 cup of cold water in a small or medium saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil; boil for one minute.
  3. Stir the hot pectin mixture into the berry mixture and stir vigorously for two minutes.
  4. Pour the jam into clean freezer containers or jars, leaving one-half inch at the top of the container (the jam with expand as it freezes). Cover the containers and let stand at room temperature for 24 hours or until jam has set. Keep in freezer until ready to use.
  5. To use the jam, thaw jar or container in the refrigerator overnight. Stir the jam before using.

Yield: Makes at least 6 1-cup containers of jam

WebMD Weight Loss Clinic members: Journal as 1/2 cup unsweetened canned fruit in juice OR unsweetened pureed fruit OR 2 tsp. jam/jelly

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