I just love this time of year, since we get to eat fresh fruits and vegetables. We are trying to grow a garden this year. You can check out my garden posts and ways to go green to get some tips on gardening and creating your own garden this year.
If our bountiful harvest comes in, what are we going to do with all those fresh vegetables? We will need to put them up and fast. One of the easiest and quickest ways to preserve vegetables, is to freeze fresh vegetables right after they have been picked. First lay them out on a cookie sheet. You can line this with wax paper to make it easier to get them off. Then place in the freezer for an hour or two. Them take them out and put them in a ziplock bag to label and keep in your freezer. Then you can take them out one at a time and enjoy. This is good for peppers, celery, tomatoes and all types of fruit. I like to dice the peppers, celery and fruit before I freeze, so I can take out however much I would like to use.
For things like beans, broccoli, cauliflower you should blanch them in a little hot water for a few minutes before you freeze them. I usually let them steam or blanch for around 5-6 minutes. This allows them to be a bit under cooked so when you defrost them you can complete the cooking process. Allow them to cool and place in a plastic baggie and freeze the bag flat. I freeze all my items this way so you can stack more items in your freezer. See the above picture the top shelf is ground meat frozen flat to stack.
Freezeing fresh herbs. Another great item to freeze is fresh herbs. I know I love cilantro, but I never use the whole bunch. Now I will take the remaining cilantro and put it in a blender with a little water and freeze them in ice cube tray. Once frozen pop them out and into a bag. Whenever you need fresh herbs for a dish just pop a couple of herb cubes in there and you have a flavorful dish.
The same with fruit. I love to make healthy smoothies for the kids during the summer. What better way to have a nice cold drink than to have the fruit already frozen. If you blend this with frozen yogurt it comes out like ice cream. The best part is you don’t even have to tell them it is good for them. Click to learn how to make healthy smoothies for kids in a previous post.
Here you can find a list of Freezer Items to keep in your freezer to ensure you have a great quantity of food on hand when you need it. It is also a good idea to have a few freezer meals on hand for those days you don’t feel like cooking and going out to eat is not in the budget. I might suggest having homemade pizza rolls and biscuit empanadas in your freezer for these occasions.
Do you have any favorite foods you freeze? Do you have any freezer meals that must always be in your freezer? I love to hear from my readers. Please leave a comment below.