Freezing Produce 101: How to Preserve Your Summer Bounty
Don't let your garden harvest go to waste; learn how to prevent spoilage and maintain freshness by freezing your fruits and veggies.
Savor summer's many flavors in the fall and winter by freezing freshly picked produce at its prime. Here's how to freeze this season's fruits and veggies for year-round enjoyment.
Is there anything more evocative of summer in the South than snapping fresh green beans on a front porch, sweet tea on hand? Preserve that memory (and the beans) for a frigid winter night when July seems years away.
This versatile summer squash can be used in place of noodles, as a base for low-carb pizza or to enhance hearty vegetable soups.
Millennials can enjoy their favorite fruit year-round. Although, it's best to use frozen avocados for guacamole instead of toast.
Sure, frozen strawberries are easy enough to find in the store, but if you need to use up a fresh carton from the farmer's market, why not DIY? Add a bit of sugar so that the berries retain their color and flavor longer.
Relive a hot, Southern summer day in the dead of winter with a sweet, lucious peach. Use them when you get a craving for comforting peach pie or cobbler.
Yep, you can freeze watermelon. This seasonal favorite makes an excellent daquiri or sorbet once frozen. It also works well as a fruity ice cube to enhance water.
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.
With a freezer stocked full of tomatoes, you won't need to buy the canned variety anymore. Frozen 'maters shouldn't be used as burger topings, though. Stick to sauces and salsas, instead.
Gumbo, anyone? This veggie is a standby in Southern kitchens, for good reason. Whether breaded and fried or simmered in soup, frozen okra can be enjoyed long after summer ends.
Bet you never thought of this one. Onions are a staple ingredient for any chef and any cuisine. While a frozen onion won't snap and crunch like a fresh one, it will impart tons of flavor.
Depending on desired use, eggplants can be blanched or breaded before freezing. You can even cook eggplant before freezing it to use later in soups or casseroles.
Skip blanching for a brine when freezing cucumbers. They'll still have a crisp snap and flavor like pickles that you can use in relishes, dips or on sandwiches.
No need to de-kernel a corn before freezing. Simply blanch the entire corn cob and seal in an airtight bag.
Any type of berry takes well to freezing. Berries are picked at peak ripeness, and do not last long in the refrigerator. Give them a good rinse then thoroughly dry before you lay them on a cookie sheet. Pop them in the freezer for a few hours until frozen solid. Store frozen berries in a plastic zip bag.
Blueberries freeze extremely well, retaining their texture and flavor for up to a year. Add them to yogurt, salads and smoothies.
'Ambrosia' Cantaloupe Melon
With cantaloupes, the issues echo those with celery: timing and water. Melons need warm soil and air to thrive. Many northern gardeners rely on black plastic to warm soil in early spring. Consistent water is the secret to sweet cantaloupes. Soil needs to have plenty of organic matter to help retain moisture, and you need to water regularly. It’s best to water the root zone directly using drip irrigation. Overhead watering can help leaf diseases take hold.
Ball Horticultural Company
Preserve the vibrant, juicy character of this summer melon by freezing it in chunks, slices or balls. Then, eat it as an afternoon snack once thawed or puree to use as sorbet.
Extend the life of a garlic bulb by freezing its cloves. Either puree them and freeze in oil or just freeze whole, individual cloves.
Too many greens in the CSA box this month? Don't let them wilt! Blanch fresh spinach in a steamer basket, then place dry spinach in a bag to freeze. Use it in stir fries, quiches and pasta dishes.
These beauties freeze extremely well, staying fresh for up to a year. Add them to yogurt and smoothes, or just eat them plain!
H. Camille Smith
This citrus fruit can be frozen in a variety of ways, depending on how you'll use it. Juice it completely and freeze as lemon ice cubes. Or, freeze whole lemons to use for zesting.
Don't let that bountiful herb garden go to waste! Instead of drying them, freeze herbs, which better preserves their flavor.