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

Colorful Kale Varieties Attractive in Winter

Colorful Kale Varieties Attractive in Winter

Kale is a cool season biennial that is grown as an annual and is harvested for its tender foliage, plus its colorful addition to the garden. Reliable and quick to harvest, growing kale is relatively easy, because cold weather does not bother it.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

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

Ripe Peaches Hang Ready to be Harvested

Ripe Peaches Hang Ready to be Harvested

Growing peach trees require lots of sunshine. In fact, they thrive in an area where they can soak up the sunshine throughout the whole day. Freestanding trees need a sheltered site. Soon, ripe paches will be ready for picking and enjoying.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

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

Intercropping Lettuce and Corn in Grid Pattern

Intercropping Lettuce and Corn in Grid Pattern

Intercropping is the agricultural practice of growing two or more crops in the same space at the same time. Lettuce can be grown among sweet corn plants and picked before corn matures.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

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

Zucchini Well Suited to Growing in Containers

Zucchini Well Suited to Growing in Containers

Zucchini is a reliable variety that forms a bushy plant, well suited to growing in a container. With dark green skins and tasty pale flesh are produced in profusion from midsummer. Best picked young.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

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

Split Avocado with Seed Pit Displayed

Split Avocado with Seed Pit Displayed

Avocado, or Persea americana, has an edible seed with a pit inside that can propagate itself in water.

©2010, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2010, Dorling Kindersley Limited

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

Gherkin Cucumbers Ideal for Pickling

Gherkin Cucumbers Ideal for Pickling

Gherkin cucumbers grow fast and are high yielding. Best grown in a sunny spot outdoors. This small pale, slightly prickly fruit is ideal for pickling, but can also be eaten raw.

©2012, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2012, Dorling Kindersley Limited

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

How to Freeze Spinach

How to Freeze Spinach

The galaxy variety of spinach grows best in container, or in raised vegetable beds, and are more flavorful than other varieties of spinach.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

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

Jersey Blueberry Popular Late Cropping Fruit

Jersey Blueberry Popular Late Cropping Fruit

Jersey blueberry is a rich blue fruit, medium sized, and very sweet. It is a favorite for baked goods. The bush is a heavy, reliable producer that tolerates a wide range of soil types and displays orange flame fall foliage. Most widely grown variety.

©2012, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2012, Dorling Kindersley Limited

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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