Tired of having to decide between fresh and frozen vegetables each week? Tired of buying outrageously priced vegetables only to watch them wilt away in your refrigerator 3 days after?
One of my favorite ways to save money on groceries is to freeze fresh vegetables that are on sale. First, a quick anecdote as to how I came about using this helpful tip to save money. Since I currently reside in California, vegetables are dirt-cheap. It’s awesome! You can literally get a week worth of vegetables for under $10.00. The problem is fresh vegetables tend to go bad rather quickly, especially those of the leafy variety which is unfortunate for me because I Kale is one of my favorite vegetables. I originally came across this idea when I bought roughly 6lbs of fresh broccoli crowns and just shoved them into the freezer. Little did I know that this is NOT the optimal way to freeze fresh vegetables. After cooking all of it I was left with a discolored mushy inedible pile of what used to be broccoli. So to help everyone avoid this problem here is how to freeze those frozen vegetables and ultimately save a boatload of money on our food bill.
*** Why you need to blanch fresh vegetables. Blanching vegetables stops the enzymes that cause vegetables to loose flavor and texture, one of the primary enzymes being lipoxygenase. Using the blanching method is also optimal for retaining vitamins and minerals in your vegetables. Lastly, blanching also gives your vegetables a bright appealing color!
Freezing Fresh Vegetables
Things you’ll need: Vegetables, 1 Large Pot, Water, Ice, Large bowl.
- Start by washing and trimming all your vegetables under cold water. Remove any stems and debris.
- Cut your vegetables into the desired size for their intended use.
- This is the CRUCIAL step. Next blanch your vegetables. To do this bring a pot of water to a boil. (Roughly 1 gallon of water/1lb of vegetables) Add your vegetables, and allow the water to come back to a boil and cook for 1-2 minutes. While times vary per vegetable, I personally always prefer to blanch my vegetables a little bit less than recommended so they remain as firm as possible. Immediately transfer your vegetables into a large bowl with ice water and allow them to fully cool.
- Place all your vegetables in large plastic bags and freeze.
- Enjoy! The vegetables should be good for approximately 8-10 months after freezing.
1. Effect of Duration and Temperature of Blanch on Vitamin Retention by Certain VegetablesN. B. Guerrant, M. G. Vavich, O. B. Fardig, H. A. Ellenberger, R. M. Stern, and N. H. Coonen Industrial & Engineering Chemistry 1947 39 (8), 1000-1007
2.Blanching of Foods Jose I. Reyes De Corcuera, Ralph P. Cavalieri, and Joseph R. Powers Encyclopedia of Agriculture, Food, and Biological Engineering.
Washington State University.