Freezing Vegetables

General notes

1. Prepare according to kind by peeling, scraping, trimming, etc.

2. Blanch all vegetables except where specified. Put 450g (1lb) only of prepared vegetable into a wire basket or cheesecloth bag or nylon wine straining bag. Lower into pan containing 3.4-4.5 litre (6-8 pints) of rapidly boiling water over full heat.

Time from moment water returns to boil. Small vegetables or those cut into small pieces need less blanching time than larger ones.

3. Cool. Transfer immediately to large basin of very cold water with plenty of ice in it. Cool for same time as blanching. Drain well.

4. Freezing. Pack into containers and freeze or open freeze first. To open freeze spread out in single layer on a tray and put in freezer. When frozen transfer the pieces, each separate from the next, to the chosen container.

5. Freezing Temperatures. Two to three hours before putting in food, turn to setting manufacturer recommends. This is the coldest setting and time must be allowed for freezer temperature to reduce. The low temperature will form small ice crystals in the food; large ones puncture cell walls spoiling flavour and texture.

Is blanching necessary?

The blanching process retards the action of enzymes—chemical substances naturally present in food—which cause undesirable changes in odour, colour, flavour, texture and food value especially in the presence of atmospheric oxygen. Freezing alone only reduces their activity to a very slow rate. Vegetables not blanched must be used quickly or flavour and texture are affected. They also take longer to cook before serving.

Storage time

All vegetables can be kept frozen for up to 12 months.

Cooking frozen vegetables

All vegetables, except corn on the cob, should be cooked without thawing.

a) Drop into boiling salted water 1cm (½ in) deep, and allow only if time allowed for fresh vegetables.

b) Purees—Melt a little butter in a double saucepan or basin standing in pan of boiling water. Add puree, cover and heat. Can all vegetables be frozen? Ones with high water content, such as many salads, become an unusable pulp when thawed. There is little point in freezing cabbages which are available fresh all through the year or some of the root vegetables, if you have good outdoor storage for them.

Special Instructions

Artichokes, Globe

Trim stalks level with bases. Cut off coarse outer leaves, trim off tips of other leaves and soak 1 hour, with lemon juice added. Blanch, up to six at a time, with lemon juice added, for 7 minutes. Cook completely if to be served cold, and remove choke before freezing.

Artichokes, Jerusalem

Best frozen as puree. Use as basis for soup or mix with potatoes.

Asparagus

Cut into lengths to fit containers. Grade according to thickness. Blanch 2-4 minutes, according to thickness.

Aubergines

Trim offends. Cut into 1cm (½ in) slices. Blanch minutes.

Beans, Broad

Shell. Blanch 2-3 minutes.

Beans, French

Top and tail; leave whole. Blanch 2 minutes.

Beans, Runner

Top and tail; remove strings. Cut into thick chunks. Blanch 2 minutes.

Beetroot

Use only small ones. Cook completely and skin. Under 5cm (2in) diameter, freeze whole. Others slice or dice.

Brussels Sprouts

Remove discoloured leaves and trim stalk.

Blanch 2 minutes if small, 3 minutes if medium.

Calabrese and Broccoli

Cut into uniform lengths. Remove large leaves and trim stems to not more than 2.5cm (1in) thick. Blanch 3 minutes.

Carrots

Top and tail; scrape. If small, leave whole and blanch 5 minutes. If larger, slice or dice; blanch 3 minutes.

Cauliflower

Use unopened flower heads and divide into florets.

Add lemon juice to water; blanch 3-5 minutes, depending on size.

Celeriac

Best frozen as puree. Can also be cut into slices and blanched 6 minutes.

Celery

Cannot be eaten raw after freezing but useful as flavouring for soups, stews, etc. Cut into 5cm (2in) lengths; blanch minutes.

Chicory

Cannot be eaten raw after freezing. Blanch 2 minutes in water with lemon juice, or braise before freezing.

Corn-on-the-Cob

Husk and remove silk. Blanch 4-6 minutes according to size.

Corn Kernels

Husk and remove silk; blanch 4 minutes, cool quickly, then cut downwards to remove kernels.

Chard

Remove tough stems and shred. Blanch 2-3 minutes.

Courgettes

Top and tail. Cut into 1cm (½ in) slices; blanch 1- minutes. Can also be cooked in butter until tender. Add herbs on reheating.

Fennel

Cut bulbous base into slices lengthwise or crosswise. Blanch 3 minutes

Peas, Garden

Shell; blanch 1 minute.

Peas, Mangetout and SugarPeas including Asparagus Peas

Trim ends and remove any strings. Blanch 2 minutes.

Kale

Remove tough stems and shred. Blanch 2-3 minutes.

Kohlrabi

Use only when young and tender. Trim, wash and peel.

Blanch small ones, whole, 3 minutes or larger ones, diced, minutes.

Leeks

Trim off roots and tops of green parts. Wash very well to remove all soil. Cut larger ones into slices. Blanch 2-4 minutes, according to thickness.

Marrow

Cut small, young ones into 1cm (1/2in) thick slices; blanch 3 minutes. If to be fried there is no need to thaw first. Large ones are not worth freezing.

Mushrooms

Wash and dry. Do not peel. Open freeze—can be sliced first. Can also saute in butter until almost tender.

Onions

Available throughout year so little point in freezing except to save time later. Peel, slice and blanch 1 minute.

Onions, Tiny

Peel and blanch 3 minutes. After thawing, can be added to sauces (white, tomato, etc.) to serve as vegetable or in stock to add to stews.

Parsnips

Use only small ones as larger ones may be woody. Peel, cut into strips or dice; blanch 3 minutes. Also freeze as a puree.

Pepper, Red and Green

Cut out stems, cut into halves downwards and remove seeds and white pith. Leave in halves for stuffing later or slice. Blanch halves 3 minutes, slices 2 minutes.

Potatoes

Scrape small, new potatoes and boil until almost cooked. (To serve—cook in boiling water about 5 minutes; toss in butter with mint or parsley.)

Potatoes, Chips

Fry until almost cooked, but not coloured, then freeze.

Potatoes, Croquettes

Coat and fry.

Potatoes, Mashed

As Duchesse potatoes or part of plated meal.

Potatoes, Jacket

Bake, cut into halves, mix pulp with filling ingredients and return to shell.

Potatoes, Roast

Cook in usual way and drain.

Pumpkin

Cook until tender and mash. Add extra flavourings when using as pie filling or for soup.

Salsify and Scorzonera

Scrub; blanch 2 minutes. Remove skins while warm and cut into 5cm (2in) lengths.

Spinach

Remove stems and wash very well. Blanch 2 minutes or cook without liquid. Drain, press out excess fluid and chop.

Swedes and Turnips

Peel, cube and blanch 2 minutes or cook and puree.

Tomatoes

Really a fruit so no need to blanch. Frozen whole they can be used for frying. Can be stewed or made into juice or peeled and frozen whole for adding to stews.

Vegetable Purees

Can be used in soups or served as a vegetable. Small portions can be used for baby food.

Mixed Vegetables and Stew Packs

For these, prepare each vegetable according to kind before mixing.

Freezing Herbs

Pick just before flowering, when they are at their best. Wash and dry, then freeze in one of the following ways :

1. Pack sprigs into polythene bags. Thaw before use if whole leaves are wanted or crumble frozen ones to save chopping.

2. Chop leaves and pack into ice cube compartments. Fill up with water and freeze. Store in polythene bags. Thaw in a small sieve or add cubes to soups, sauces and stews.

3. Chop, mix into butter and freeze as herb butter.

07. June 2013 by admin
Categories: Tips and Advice | Comments Off on Freezing Vegetables

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