Can You Freeze It?
Find out how to freeze a host of fruits and vegetables as well as some surprising things you maybe didn't know you could freeze.
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How to Freeze Just About Anything
Freezing is a great way to extend the life of perishable items, whether produce you buy at the store or that bumper crop of spinach from the garden. You can also hold over eggs and milk by freezing. Read on for great tips on freezing everything from strawberries to milk, green beans and so much more.
How to Freeze Spinach
To retain nutrition, steam blanch spinach leaves by placing them in a steamer basket that keeps leaves above the boiling water. Steam for 2 minutes. After removing spinach from ice water, spin it dry in a salad spinner or blot it on a thick towel. Stuff leaves into freezer bags, placing one to two cups of leaves per bag, depending on your desired portions. Place sealed bags in the freezer. Use frozen spinach within nine to 14 months for best quality. If you know you'll use your frozen spinach within six months, you can freeze it without steaming.
More Great Tips for Freezing Spinach: How to Freeze Spinach
Can You Freeze Milk?
The short answer is yes! First transfer the milk out of a glass or paper container into a freezer-safe plastic container. A paper carton does not provide the air-tight seal you need and a glass bottle might break in the freezer. If you're freezing milk in its original plastic container, leave a few inches of headspace, because milk expands when frozen. Make sure to freeze the milk before its expiration date, and label our container with the new expiration date. Milk will save in the freezer for up to three months. Some people recommend splitting your gallon or half gallon of milk into several, smaller containers so you can defrost the milk more quickly. When you are ready to defrost and drink your milk, thaw it in the refrigerator and not at room temperature, for safety's sake.
How to Freeze Fresh Strawberries With Sugar
To freeze strawberries using the dry sugar method, wash strawberries in a colander, discarding any unripe strawberries or berries that show bruising or discoloration. Drain well and let rest a few minutes to dry. Hull berries and slice or cut into halves or quarters and transfer into a large bowl. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of sugar per quart into the bowl and gently stir strawberries to coat and dissolve sugar. Immediately transfer sugar-coated strawberries into Ziploc bags or other airtight containers. Label with contents and date and place in freezer. Frozen strawberries may be kept for up to one year, although color and flavor will begin to fade after about six months.
Quick Method for Preserving Strawberries: How to Freeze Strawberries
Freezing Whole Strawberries
Pick any stems or leaves out and then rinse the strawberries in a colander under cold water. Handle the berries as little as possible to avoid breaking the protective skins. Leave the strawberries in the colander to rest several hours or overnight to allow them to dry completely. Any surface moisture will result in a layer of frost that will cause freezer burn. Spread berries on a baking sheet or other lipped tray in a single layer. Cover with plastic wrap and place tray in the freezer for at least 4 hours or overnight. If freezer space is limited, trays may be stacked, but careful to avoid crushing. Once completely frozen, transfer the strawberries into Ziploc bags on any other airtight freezer containers. Label containers with the contents and date frozen and place in freezer. Strawberries will keep frozen for up to a year with minimal loss of flavor or texture deterioration.
A Method for Freezing Berries: How to Freeze Blueberries
How to Freeze Green Beans
Green beans are acceptable candidates for canning, but the texture of canned beans tends to be a little rubbery. Freezing, on the other hand, retains most of the flavor and texture of fresh beans. First trim the ends from the beans and cut them into bite-size pieces to save time later, if you like. Blanch the beans in one gallon of water per pound of beans for 2 to 4 minutes depending upon the size of your beans, then quickly immerse in an ice bath. Drain the beans and place them in freezer bags or freezer-safe plastic containers with all air squeezed out. Label your bag or container with the date. The beans will keep for eight to 10 months.
Tips for Freezing: How to Freeze Green Beans
How to Freeze Tomatoes
Blanching tomatoes is the best way to freeze them. Start by dropping tomatoes into boiling water for 60-90 seconds and, using a slotted spoon, transfer immediately into a bowl of ice water to cool. Skin will slip easily from the flesh. Prepare the tomatoes by removing stems and coring the tomatoes. Tomatoes may be left whole, but preparing them in a way that maximizes storage space is recommended. Transfer the tomatoes into storage bags. Using a ladle or measuring cup, fill a pint- or quart-sized Ziploc bag. Finally pop the tomatoes into the freezer. Frozen tomatoes will retain flavor for 12 to 18 months.
Tomatoes: Quick Freezing Tips: How to Freeze Vegetables, Fruit and More
How to Freeze Bananas
To freeze whole bananas, first peel them and then place them into a freezer-safe bag or container. Label the container with the date and contents. Frozen bananas can go straight into the blender for smoothies. For baked goods, let the bananas defrost first before adding them to your recipe. Bananas will keep in the freezer for six to eight months.
How to Freeze Eggs
An ice cube tray provides a no-muss no-fuss solution. Break the eggs into a bowl or measuring cup and beat them enough to integrate the white and yolk. Take care to avoid beating too much air into the mix. Measure 3 tablespoons (the equivalent of one large egg) into each cell of the ice cube tray. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze. Transfer cubes into a storage container and label with the date frozen. Eggs will hold up in the freezer for up to a year.
Get More Info on Freezing Egg Whites and Yolks: How to Freeze Chicken Eggs
How to Freeze Broccoli
Split broccoli sections into florets that are no bigger than 1 1/2 inches across. Remove the thicker stems. Broccoli — florets and stems — must be blanched for effective freezing. You can either blanch in boiling water for 3 minutes or steam for 5 minutes. You can use a colander that fits inside your pot, if you use a large enough pot. Cool broccoli in ice water for the same amount of time you heated it. Dry the broccoli as best as you can before freezing. A salad spinner works well to force water out of each tiny floret joint. It's best to shift broccoli as quickly as you can from ice water to freezer. Package broccoli in freezer bags in portion-size amounts. After bagging broccoli, gently shift the florets in the bag to get it as flat as possible for fastest freezing. To serve frozen broccoli florets, steam or boil for no more than 60 to 90 seconds. For best flavor, use frozen broccoli within a year.
More Tips for Freezing Broccoli: How to Freeze Broccoli
How to Freeze Apples
The handiest way to freeze apples is to peel, core and slice them. Then use the apples later by the handful or bagful in any cooked recipes. Pies, muffins, cobblers and even applesauce can be made from frozen apples. Once sliced, dip the apples in a bowl of water with a little lemon juice stirred in (about a tablespoon per gallon) to prevent browning. To prevent clumping, arrange slices on a plate or baking tray lined with parchment paper and pre-freeze them for a couple of hours before bagging in an airtight container or Ziploc bags.
More Methods for Freezing Apples: How to Freeze Apples
How to Freeze Corn
Freezing fresh corn either on the cob or off. Freezing corn on the cob follows the same steps as freezing the kernels, except you’ll be freezing whole cobs. To freeze corn off the cob, cut kernels to about two-thirds their depth (for cream-style corn, cut kernels to about one-half their depth and scrape the cobs using the back of a knife). Blanch both whole-kernel and cream-style corn 4 to 6 minutes. Blanch whole cobs based on cob diameter: small ears for 7 minutes; medium ears for 9 minutes; large ears for 11 minutes. After heating, cool for the same amount of time. Pack corn into serving-size portions to freeze.
More: Freezing Corn : How to Freeze Corn
How to Freeze Cucumbers
Cucumber pickles are easy to freeze. Slice cucumbers uniformly. Slice onions to add to your frozen cucumbers. Use one onion per 2 quarts of sliced cucumbers. In a large plastic bowl, layer sliced cucumbers and onions with 1-2 tablespoons of salt. Sprinkle the salt onto layers as you create them. Cover this mixture with plastic wrap and let it sit for roughly 2 hours. Dump the cucumbers and onions into a colander and rinse with cold water to remove all traces of salt. Transfer the cucumbers back to the large plastic container. Combine 1/2 cup white vinegar and 1 1/2 cups of sugar in a separate bowl. Pour this mixture over the cucumbers and stir well. Ladle cucumbers into freezer containers, bags, or can-or-freeze Mason jars. Be sure to leave at least a 1/2 inch of head space for expansion. Label containers and freeze. Wait at least a week before eating. Frozen cucumber pickles will last up to 12 months. Thaw containers overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
More Tips: Can You Freeze Cucumbers?
How to Freeze Cherry Tomatoes
Tomatoes are one of the few items you can freeze without blanching. For full-size tomatoes, just core fruits and toss into zipper bags — you don't even have to dip into boiling water to remove skins. Cherry tomatoes are even easier. Wash and dry, place on a cookie sheet, and slide it in the freezer. When the tiny globes are frozen solid, toss them into a container or zipper bag.
See More Ways to Freeze: Freezing Cherry Tomatoes
Can You Freeze Kale?
You can freeze kale without blanching, but plan to use it within four to six weeks. Unblanched kale may develop a bitter flavor. But for serving kale as a stand-alone side dish, sample frozen unblanched leaves before freezing a large batch. For frozen kale that lasts eight to 12 months, blanch leaves and stems. Blanch leaves for 2.5 minutes, covering the boiling water pot with a lid to steam-heat floating leaves. Blanch stems for 3 minutes. Place leaves and stems in ice water for the same amount of time. Dry leaves by placing them on a towel. Fill the towel with leaves, then roll it up and squeeze to remove excess water. Simply place blanched and dried kale into individual packages prior to freezing. Choose the right size freezer bag to suit your serving-size portion.
More Tips: Can You Freeze Kale?
You can freeze onions with or without blanching. Do blanch when freezing whole onion bulbs. Use a blanching time of 3 minutes for small onions, 7 minutes for larger ones. For safe freezing, blanching must heat onions all the way to the center of the bulb. To freeze chopped onions, wash bulbs well and chop. Slip chopped onions into zipper bags, arranging in a thin layer. To use, break off a piece of the frozen layer. Place the bag under warm water to make removing a chunk easier. To use frozen onions, toss what you need into your dish and let them thaw as they cook. Seal onions in an airtight container to avoid onion odors in your freezer. When packing onions in containers, leave half an inch of headspace. Double and even triple bag onions stored in freezer bags. Use onions within three to six months for best flavor.
Read: Freezing Onions: Freezing Onions
Freeze Asparagus for Great Flavor
Wash spears and remove tough ends and scales. Sort spears by size, for two reasons: first, because blanching times are based on spear size; second, it will be easier to package your asparagus. Blanch small spears 2 minutes, medium spears 3 minutes and large spears 4 minutes. Add up to one pound of asparagus to the boiling water at a time. Blot spears dry quickly before placing in the freezer. After blanching, it's important to package spears quickly and efficiently to get them into the freezer as rapidly as possible. Place asparagus into freezer safe zipper bags or vacuum-sealed packages. Pack them in the way that permits the least air to surround stalks after freezing to prevent mushiness. For best quality, use frozen asparagus within eight to 12 months.
Asparagus Freezing Tricks: Freezing Asparagus
Can You Freeze Garlic Cloves?
You can freeze whole individual cloves — peeled or not — in airtight containers or freezer bags. Once garlic freezes, peels come off easily, but think ahead to your typical meal prep. If you're usually short on time, it might be worth the effort to peel cloves before freezing. Chop peeled cloves and tuck into snack size bags, freezing in a thin layer. To use, just break off a piece of the frozen layer. Be sure to seal it in a container that won't allow garlic odor to escape and flavor your freezer — and everything in it. Double and even triple bag garlic that's stored in freezer bags.
Surprising Ways to Freeze: Garlic: Can You Freeze Garlic Cloves?
How Do You Freeze Eggplant?
Can you freeze eggplant using traditional blanching methods? Yes — begin the process with washing and peeling the fruits. Slice peeled eggplants into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Peel and slice enough eggplants for one blanching batch at a time. For blanching, add one-half cup of lemon juice to one gallon of water, and bring it to a boil. Blanch the eggplant slices for 4 minutes, cool, and package in freezer bags. Remove as much air as possible before sealing bags. For best flavor, use frozen eggplant within nine to 14 months.
There's More Than One Way to Freeze an Eggplant: Freezing Eggplant
How to Freeze Brussels Sprouts
Sort sprouts by size, grouping them as small, medium and large. Why? Because blanching times are based on spear size. Blanch small sprouts 3 minutes, medium ones 4 minutes, and large ones 5 minutes. Use a steamer basket to shift sprouts easily between boiling and ice water. After blanching, move Brussels sprouts into the freezer as rapidly as possible. Package serving-size portions of Brussels sprouts in freezer bags. Keep sprouts in a single layer for quickest freezing. Place bags into the freezer as flatly as possible until sprouts are frozen. Afterwards, pack the bags into your freezer to maximize space. For best quality, use frozen Brussels sprouts within 12 to 14 months.
More Tips: Freezing Brussels Sprouts
Steps to Freezing Cabbage
Freezing cabbage without blanching is possible; you'll just need to use it within 4 to 8 weeks. For the longest-lasting frozen cabbage, blanch wedges for 90 seconds. Use a colander to drain wedges after removing them from ice water. Quick-freeze cabbage individually on a cookie sheet. Cabbage should freeze in 12 to 24 hours, depending on how large your wedges are. After it's frozen, toss wedges into freezer bags in bulk. Before sealing, remove as much air as possible from bags. You can also place blanched cabbage into individual packages prior to freezing. Use freezer bags and fill them with appropriate serving-size portions. For best quality, use frozen cabbage within nine to 14 months.
Freezing Cabbage Tips: Freezing Cabbage
Freeze Celery for Soup
Some cooks like to freeze celery, coarsely chopped, in muffin tins or finely chopped in ice cube trays. After the celery freezes into a solid chunk, they pop it into freezer bags. With this method, toss a frozen celery chunk into your dish and let it thaw as it cooks.
More Ideas for Freezing: Can You Freeze Celery?
To blanch, add mushrooms to steamer basket over boiling water. Steam whole mushrooms 5 minutes, buttons or quarters for 3.5 minutes, and slices for 3 minutes. Cool mushrooms quickly by placing them in ice water for the same amount of time you steamed them. Strain, then place mushrooms in airtight freezer bags or containers. For best flavor, use frozen steamed mushrooms within a year.
Mushroom Freezing: Can You Freeze Mushrooms?
How to Freeze Okra
To blanch in boiling water, sort pods into groups of small and large. Wash and cut off stems, but slice carefully because you don't want to cut into the seed cell. To blanch okra, add pods to boiling water. Steam small pods 3 minutes; large ones 4 minutes. Cool pods quickly by placing them in ice water for the same amount of time you boiled them. After cooling, place whole pods into airtight freezer bags or containers. For best flavor, use whole frozen okra within a year.
More Tips: How to Freeze Okra