The quickest and easiest way to preserve your garden-fresh produce is to freeze it. You need a minimum of preparation time and the risk of food poisoning is low. All you need are plastic bags or containers that will stay intact when frozen and space in your freezer.
Almost all fruits, especially berries, freeze very well. The vegetables most suited for freezing are those that are cooked before serving.
Don't freeze vegetables that are usually eaten raw, such as celery, cucumbers, lettuce and radishes.
Prepare for freezing
Vegetables, as they come from the garden, have enzymes working in them. The enzymes break down vitamin C in a short time and convert sugar into starch, leaving the food tasting like cardboard. Blanch vegetables briefly before freezing to neutralize the enzymes.
Fruits do not need blanching before freezing. They are usually frozen with dry sugar or mixed in a syrup of sugar and water.
How to freeze
1. Pick young, tender vegetables for freezer storage—it is better to choose slightly immature produce over any that is fully ripe. Also, avoid bruised, damaged or overripe vegetables. Harvest in early morning.
2. Line up everything needed for blanching and freezing first. Nothing counts more than speed in holding on to freshness, taste and nutrition.
3. Thoroughly clean vegetables and cut the edible parts into desired pieces.
4. Blanch right away. For water blanching, use at least a gallon of water to each pound of vegetable, preheated to boiling point in a covered pot. If you're steaming, use a wire-mesh holder over 1 inch of boiling water in an 8-quart pot.
5. When the recommended blanching time is up, plunge the vegetables in ice water to stop the cooking.
6. Gently pat the vegetables dry. Pack them in freezer containers or bags, compressing them to leave as little space for air as possible.
7. Seal the containers or bags and label them.
Easy to freeze vegetables