Carrie Gabriel, MS, RDN, sheds gentle the best way to freeze recent produce. Plus: which fruits and veggies freeze greatest, hacks to arrange frozen avocados, and the way lengthy they’ll all final.
With phrases like social distancing and self-quarantining quickly changing into our new regular, many people are stocking our residence kitchens to the max. As we goal to take fewer journeys to the grocery retailer, it’s smart to concentrate on the prolonged shelf-life of frozen produce.
However, when you would possibly discover the frozen part has slim pickings, recent produce sections at many grocers stay absolutely stocked. Many fear about shopping for recent produce because it’ll go unhealthy extra rapidly than frozen, therefore requiring extra grocery retailer visits. Yet this doesn’t have to stress you out. Simply purchase recent fruits and veggies, then freeze them your self to protect the vitamins.
Here’s all the things you should learn about freezing recent produce.
Which produce is greatest to freeze?
Most fruits corresponding to banana, berries, and pineapple freeze properly. The greatest greens to freeze embody corn, peas, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, inexperienced beans, squash, and winter greens corresponding to spinach, kale, chard, and collards. You may also freeze onions, peppers, and herbs.
What Produce shouldN’T be frozen?
Just about any fruit or vegetable will be frozen besides celery, watercress, endive, lettuce, cabbage, cucumbers, and radishes. These meals have excessive water content material and turn into soggy and water-logged when thawed.
How to Freeze Fresh Produce
Start the method by washing your produce and patting it dry with a clear towel. If you want, you’ll be able to chop greens or core and slice bigger fruits to make them simpler to make use of after they thaw out.
Blanching is a course of by which greens are briefly boiled after which plunged into ice water. Some veggies retain their colour and texture extra readily with blanching, however it’s as much as you to take this further step.
Whether freezing blanched or uncooked produce, place your fruit or greens in a single layer on a pan with parchment paper in your freezer. (This helps to maintain the produce from freezing collectively in a single massive clump.) When frozen, you’ll be able to then switch the person items right into a single massive freezer bag for extra compact storage.
That mentioned, I usually simply chop greens and put them straight right into a freezer bag to be extra environment friendly. Do no matter is extra handy for you!
Here’s a few of the greatest produce for freezing whereas nonetheless recent, and the best way to prep them:
Slice the bananas and freeze them flat on a baking sheet to be used in smoothies. You may also freeze complete, ripe bananas for banana bread or one other baking recipe.
Slice or cube bell peppers, take away the seeds, and freeze them flat in a freezer-safe bag.
Small berries like blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries will be frozen complete. Larger berries like strawberries will be sliced. If you’re feeling adventurous, attempt your hand at making strawberry freezer jam.
Broccoli + Cauliflower
Trim off any leaves and take away the stems. Cut into 1.5-inch items and blanch for 3 minutes. For an easier different, you’ll be able to simply pack them right into a freezer-safe bag.
If you’re freezing citrus for juicing, go away the peels intact and lower the fruit in half earlier than putting within the freezer. You may also take away the peels, lower the fruit into sections, after which freeze the slices. Before peeling, make certain to zest the rind, as zest freezes exceptionally properly in freezer-safe luggage.
The best option to freeze corn is cooked and off the cob. Then let it cool and retailer in a freezer-safe bag.
Peas + Green Beans
Remove peas from their pods and blanch for 90 seconds. For inexperienced beans (like snap or wax beans), blanch for 3 minutes. Let cool and add to a freezer-safe bag.
Potatoes have a excessive water content material, even after they’re cooked. For that cause, I like to recommend solely freezing waxy potatoes, like pink potatoes or Yukon golds. They ought to be chopped and par-cooked for 5 minutes, both by boiling them, baking them at 475 levels Fahrenheit, or frying them in oil at 350 levels.
Remove the pits of cherries, peaches, and plums earlier than freezing; in any other case, you’ll get a bitter taste. If you wish to take away the skins, blanch the fruit for 30 seconds. Then slice into quarters or eighths and place in a freezer-safe bag.
Zucchini + Summer Squash
For use in baking, blanch grated zucchini for a minute or two, till translucent. For all different makes use of, lower zucchini into slices or dices and blanch for 3 to 4 minutes, till agency.
Can I freeze avocados?
Avocados go unhealthy rapidly, so when freezing them, it’s necessary to think about the consequences on the nutrient content material, texture, colour, and taste.
Freezing avocados doesn’t considerably have an effect on their calorie, fiber, or mineral content material. But it might scale back their ranges of vitamin B6 and folate, that are their water-soluble nutritional vitamins. The longer avocados are saved frozen, the extra vitamins one would possibly anticipate to lose. However, there’s no precise analysis on what number of vitamins are misplaced. Do observe that vitamins are additionally misplaced over time with recent produce, so this shouldn’t be a serious concern.
Freezing avocado damages its signature easy, creamy texture. Once thawed, it may be considerably slimy and mushy. That being mentioned, you may not wish to eat it by itself, however it’ll nonetheless be scrumptious in a smoothie, in a salad dressing, and even as guacamole.
It’s greatest to chop your avocado into small items and brush with both vinegar or lemon juice to maintain it from browning. Doing so might change the flavour barely, however once more, in case you’re including frozen avocado to a dip or a smoothie, it gained’t actually matter.
How lengthy does frozen produce final?
Citrus fruit is barely good for about three months, however in accordance with the National Center for Home Food Preservation, all different vegetables and fruit will final eight to 12 months. To prolong the lifetime of your frozen produce, a vacuum sealer will maintain your produce more energizing longer. You may also contemplate buying a Stasher bag, which is constituted of food-grade silicone and is nice for storing quite a lot of produce. Bonus: It’s non-toxic and doesn’t comprise any byproducts or fillers.