Safely Freeze Fruits and Vegetables
To freeze vegetables, it is a good idea to blanch them first. You can blanch the vegetables by immersing them in boiling water for up to five minutes. By blanching them, you are killing any bacteria that may be present. Some bacteria will be killed by the freezing, but many can tolerate very cold temperatures and flare up when you defrost the vegetables.
As well as killing bacteria, blanching also helps to kill any little bugs that you might not be able to see. Once you have finished blanching your vegetables, move them to ice water and keep them in the water, adding more ice as necessary for as long as you blanched them. If you blanched your beans for five minutes, cool them off in ice water for five minutes as well.
To prepare your vegetables for freezing, cut them up into small pieces. This will only apply to items such as sugar peas, green beans and other similar items. Beans can be frozen as is after they are blanched. Be sure to store your foods in freezer bags as the bags are designed to keep your fruits and vegetables from developing freezer burn.
Freezing fruit is a little different as it does not require blanching. Blanching fruit may actually destroy it before you get the chance to use it. To freeze fruit, after itís been picked is easy. Rinse it and let it sit in a colander to drain for up to 30 minutes. This will also help to drain even water that you can't see.
After you have let the fruit sit and drain, place the fruit on a cookie sheet with some wax paper and place it in the freezer overnight. Be sure not too many of the individual fruits are touching each other; this will cause them to stick together. The fruit will completely freeze overnight. You can bag the fruit the next day in individual bags and rest assured that when you go to use the fruit, they will not all be stuck together in one huge ice cube.
Always be sure to label your fruits and vegetables before freezing. This makes it easier to find and leaves no chance of finding spoiled food. Vegetables for the most part stay fresh after being frozen up to 9 months while fruit will stay fresh for up to a year. Try vacuum packed. It stretches the freezer time to up to 18 months. Either way it will be a reward when you go to the freezer to find scrumptious fruits and vegetables during those long winter months.