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.
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.
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.
Best frozen as puree. Use as basis for soup or mix with.
Cut into lengths to fit containers. Grade according to thickness. Blanch 2-4 minutes, according to thickness.
Trim offends. Cut into 1cm (½ in) slices. Blanch minutes.
Shell. Blanch 2-3 minutes.
Top and tail; leave whole. Blanch 2 minutes.
Top and tail; remove strings. Cut into thick chunks. Blanch 2 minutes.
Use only small ones. Cook completely and skin. Under 5cm (2in) diameter, freeze whole. Others slice or dice.
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.
Top and tail; scrape. If small, leave whole and blanch 5 minutes. If larger, slice or dice; blanch 3 minutes.
Use unopened flower heads and divide into florets.
Add lemon juice to water; blanch 3-5 minutes, depending on size.
Best frozen as puree. Can also be cut into slices and blanched 6 minutes.
Cannot be eaten raw after freezing but useful as flavouring for soups, stews, etc. Cut into 5cm (2in) lengths; blanch minutes.
Cannot be eaten raw after freezing. Blanch 2 minutes in water with lemon juice, or braise before freezing.
Husk and remove silk. Blanch 4-6 minutes according to size.
Husk and remove silk; blanch 4 minutes, cool quickly, then cut downwards to remove kernels.
Remove tough stems and shred. Blanch 2-3 minutes.
Top and tail. Cut into 1cm (½ in) slices; blanch 1- minutes. Can also be cooked in butter until tender. Add herbs on reheating.
Cut bulbous base into slices lengthwise or crosswise. Blanch 3 minutes
Shell; blanch 1 minute.
Peas, Mangetout and SugarPeas including Asparagus Peas
Trim ends and remove any strings. Blanch 2 minutes.
Remove tough stems and shred. Blanch 2-3 minutes.
Use only when young and tender. Trim, wash and peel.
Blanch small ones, whole, 3 minutes or larger ones, diced, minutes.
Trim off roots and tops of green parts. Wash very well to remove all. Cut larger ones into slices. Blanch 2-4 minutes, according to thickness.
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.
Wash and dry. Do not peel. Open freeze—can be sliced first. Can also saute in butter until almost tender.
Available throughout year so little point in freezing except to save time later. Peel, slice and blanch 1 minute.
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.
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.
Scrape small, new potatoes and boil until almost cooked. (To serve—cook in boiling water about 5 minutes; toss in butter with mint or.)
Fry until almost cooked, but not coloured, then freeze.
Coat and fry.
As Duchesse potatoes or part of plated meal.
Bake, cut into halves, mix pulp with filling ingredients and return to shell.
Cook in usual way and drain.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.