11 Fruits and Veggies You Can Freeze for Later

Whether your garden produced a bountiful harvest or you scored a great deal at the farmer’s market, don’t let any of that good food go to waste.

If your fruit or vegetable garden flourished this summer (or if you’ve made frequent trips to the farmer’s market), you might have more tomatoes, zucchini or strawberries than you know what to do with. But come winter, those seasonal flavors could be a welcome change to your regular menu. If you want to save some of your summer bounty for later, try freezing! It’s one of the best ways to preserve your produce’s flavor and nutritional value, and it’s typically easier than canning. To get started, read our primers on freezing fruit and freezing vegetables. Then, find tips on freezing 11 types of fruits and veggies below.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes: Frozen

Tomatoes: Frozen

Yes, you can freeze tomatoes. They will not be suitable for salads once defrosted, but they will be good for soups and sauces. There's no need to peel the tomatoes first. Just slice into chunks and lay on a cookie sheet to freeze. Once frozen, place into a plastic zip bag or container to store in the freezer.

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

Frozen tomatoes aren't suitable for salads or sandwiches, but they're perfect for soups, sauces and salsas. Slice, dice or crush them before freezing to make them easier to work with when thawed.

Kale

628364204

628364204

Kale Green cabbage in rustic basket on daylight winter vegetables

Photo by: alice dias didszoleit/iStockphoto

alice dias didszoleit/iStockphoto

Unblanched frozen kale will last four to six weeks before developing a bitter flavor, while blanched frozen kale will be good for eight to 12 months. Freeze in serving-size portions to add to smoothies, soups, quiches and stews.

Peaches

118211145

118211145

Photo by: AdShooter/iStockphoto

AdShooter/iStockphoto

Freestone peaches are your best bet for freezing, since the flesh of clingstone peaches is difficult to separate from the pit. Skin, slice and dry pack the peaches for the most versatility when thawed.

Corn

170932116

170932116

Corn on the cob lying on an old chopping board. Natural light.

Photo by: MmeEmil/iStockphoto

MmeEmil/iStockphoto

You can freeze corn either on or off the cob with the same basic process. If you freeze off the cob, use an electric knife to make easy work of removing the kernels.

Strawberries

Fresh Strawberries

Fresh Strawberries

Sweet, easy-to-grow strawberries are a fan favorite.

The best way to retain color and flavor when freezing strawberries is to slice them and pack them in dry sugar. They'll last for up to a year, although they'll taste best in the first six months.

Zucchini

529115752

529115752

zucchini in sack

Photo by: lsantilli/iStockphoto

lsantilli/iStockphoto

It's easy to get overwhelmed with too much zucchini over the summer, but luckily it freezes well sliced, chopped or grated. Blanche the vegetables before freezing to preserve them longer.

Avocados

HGTV_gardens_freezing_can_you_freeze_avocado_s4x3

HGTV_gardens_freezing_can_you_freeze_avocado_s4x3

Avocado

Photo by: Francesco Dibartolo

Francesco Dibartolo

Avocados freeze best in puree form. You can pour the puree into an ice cube tray to create perfect portions for smoothies, sandwich spreads or baby food. Or, freeze larger portions in freezer-safe bags for homemade guacamole. Don't forget to add a little lemon or lime juice to prevent browning.

Herbs

Freezing Herbs

Freezing Herbs

Fresh herbs can be frozen using several methods.

Photo by: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Photo by Mick Telkamp

Drying is probably the best-known method for preserving summer herb surpluses, but freezing can more effectively retain their flavor. We've got four strategies for freezing fresh herbs.

Cucumbers

Cut your cucumbers into slices. These slices will become your snake's stripes, so thin slices will create thin stripes while thick slices create thick stripes. Save the ends of one cucumber to create your snake's head and tail later.

Cut your cucumbers into slices. These slices will become your snake's stripes, so thin slices will create thin stripes while thick slices create thick stripes. Save the ends of one cucumber to create your snake's head and tail later.

Cut your cucumbers into slices. These slices will become your snake's stripes, so thin slices will create thin stripes while thick slices create thick stripes. Save the ends of one cucumber to create your snake's head and tail later.

Instead of blanching cucumbers (like you would most veggies before freezing), prepare them in a brine solution to keep their crunch. Small, homegrown cukes work best for this process, but if you use store-bought cucumbers, remove their wax coating first with a gentle detergent and soft brush.

Spinach

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610555078

Spinach growing in the garden. Selective focus.

Photo by: Mindstyle/iStockphoto

Mindstyle/iStockphoto

The flavor of fresh frozen spinach is leagues above most offerings in the supermarket. Retain as much nutrition as possible by steaming the leaves in a steamer basket, rather than blanching them.

Blueberries

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637915886

Blueberry on wooden table; shot with very shallow depth of field.

Photo by: bernie_photo/iStockphoto

bernie_photo/iStockphoto

Keep a stash of this superfood around all year long. Frozen blueberries will last for up to a year with minimal loss of flavor or texture deterioration.

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