How to freeze vegetables… SUCCESSFULLY

There comes a time when growing vegetables that it seems like absolutely everything is ready to be harvested. Many cultures celebrate this with a harvest festival that includes eating, drinking and being merry. When we harvested many of our vegetables, we were merry and sensible!
There is no way two busy people can eat this many vegetables before they start to lose their appeal. And there are some beautiful vegetables that we want to savor and indulge in later in the year. So the easy way to solve all our dilemmas are to freeze our vegetables.
Many people don’t realize that in order to freeze some vegetables properly, that there is a bit of preparation before the vegetables get to the freezer. So here is what to do in order to freeze celery, broccoli, spinach, silver beet (Swiss chard), and beans! I didn’t manage to get any photos of the process as the lighting was terrible, but the steps are so easy to follow! So here goes!
CELERY:
1. Wash celery thoroughly
2. Cut into 2.5cm lengths (1-inch)
3. Cook (blanch) celery in a large pot of boiling water for 3 minutes
4. Remove from boiling water and place in ice water to stop the cooking process
5. Drain and pat dry
6. Transfer to a baking tray and lay out in a single layer. Put this in the freezer
7. Once frozen, place in zip lock bags with as little as possible air in the bag
8. Return to freezer
NOTE: Frozen celery is great in soups, an aromatic or in stir-frys!
BROCCOLI:
1. Wash broccoli thoroughly
2. Cut into 2.5cm trees (florets) (1-inch)
3. Blanch broccoli in a large pot of boiling water for 3 minutes
4. Remove from boiling water and place in ice water to stop the cooking process
5. Drain and pat dry
6. Transfer to a baking tray and lay out in a single layer. Put this in the freezer
7. Once frozen, place in zip lock bags with as little as possible air in the bag
8. Return to freezer
NOTE: Frozen broccoli can be steamed or microwaved for 2-4 minutes to reheat. It is also great for making into broccoli soup, or adding to stir-frys and pasta bakes!
SPINACH AND SWISS CHARD:
1. Wash greens thoroughly
2. Remove tough stems
3. Chop if desired
4a. Blanch for 2 minutes in a large pot of boiling water
5a. Remove from boiling water and place in ice water to stop the cooking process and retain bright green colour
6a. Drain and pat dry
7a. Place in a zip lock bag and remove as much air as possible
8a. Place in freezer
OR
4b. After washing (and before chopping), pat dry
5b. Place in a zip lock bag and remove as much air as possible
6b. Place in freezer
NOTE: Spinach and Swiss chard can be reheated by microwaving or steaming for 1-3 minutes. It can also be added to quiches, soups or green smoothies!
GREEN BEANS:
1. Wash beans thoroughly
2. Remove the ends of the beans
3. Chop if desired
4. Blanch for 3 minutes in a large pot of boiling water, or 2 minutes if beans are chopped
5. Remove from boiling water and place in ice water to stop the cooking process and retain bright green colour
6. Drain and pat dry
7. Place on a baking tray to freeze without beans sticking together
8. Transfer to a zip lock bag once frozen and remove as much air as possible
8. Place in freezer again
NOTE: Green beans can be reheated by steaming or microwaving for 2-3 minutes. They can also be added to stir-frys, pasta bakes or soups!
Freezing vegetables is a great way to keep the fresh colours and flavours over a period of time. Frozen vegetables should last up to a year in the freezer! Delicious!!
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