If you’re looking for ways to cut back your grocery budget, then you’ll want to check out these tips for freezing fresh produce!
Each season gardens across the country are full of fruit and vegetables that are growing at their prime time. It’s during these “in season” times that we can often find great prices on specific produce at the grocery store.
This is the time to stock up.
While you may not be able to eat it all before it goes bad, it is the perfect opportunity to freeze fresh produce for later use, when it might not be in season.
Tips for Freezing Fresh Produce
Start With Prep
- For best results freeze produce when it’s at peak freshness.
- Wash it well and dry fully.
- Have plenty of containers on hand. Use resealable freezer bags, vacuum sealed bags, plastic containers that seal tight or mason jars. Use a permanent marker to mark the produce type and freeze date.
- Be sure you have enough freezer space before getting started.
Ways to Freeze
- Flash Freeze. Lay your produce out on a cookie sheet and let it freeze in individual pieces. Once frozen, transfer to your freezer container.This works best for fruit (think berries and banana chunks, etc) so they do not all freeze into one mass. It makes it easier to work with later or to remove small amounts from your freezer as needed.
- Cooked or Raw? Fruit is almost always best frozen raw and so are some vegetables. But some veggies, like corn and green beans are better “blanched” first before freezing. This helps to retain the sugar content and maintain the taste!Blanching involves a process of briefly boiling the vegetables and then submerging them in ice water to stop the cooking process. When pieces are cooled and dry, store in airtight container in freezer.
- Meal Prep Bags. Consider filling your freezer containers with combinations of fresh ingredients you most often cook together – like peppers and onions, carrots and celery, strawberries and bananas, etc.This makes for easier meal prep- just thaw and add to the recipe. The texture of most frozen fruits and veggies changes upon thawing, becoming a little mushy, so cooked recipes or smoothies are best.
Best Fruit and Vegetables for Freezing
- Green Beans
- Green Chilies
Be on the lookout for fresh, in season produce or maybe even manager’s special of marked down fruits and veggies. Use these tips for freezing fresh produce to preserve them now for fresh taste later!