【How to】 Flash Freeze Vegetables

Can You Freeze Roasted Vegetables?

Yes, you can freeze roasted vegetables for up to 6 months. Mix your vegetables together, season and roast in the oven. Once cooled, you can bag them up and store them in the freezer.

Can You Refreeze Roasted Vegetables? No Do Roasted Vegetables Freeze Well? Yes

Video

Another important tip: water = freezer burn

It totally makes sense when you think about eating around those gross ice crystals that grow inside a pint of ice cream. When you can, ensure that you’re getting any extra moisture off of your veggies and fruits before freezing, especially if they are freshly washed or blanched.

How to Freeze Peppers

View this photo on Instagram Instagram: @this_maine_life Slice peppers, flash-freeze in a single layer, and then transfer into a freezer-safe bag. Use it for: Casseroles, sauces, stir-fries. The texture won’t be great if consuming raw. How to prepare before using: If cooking into a hot dish, no need to thaw first. Instructions: How to Freeze Peppers [back to top]

1. Prepare Food for Flash Freezing

Most foods do not need to be washed. You'll always want to wash berries (or any fresh produce) by gently rinsing and patting them dry. If applicable, divide food into small, individual portions or pieces. This can be foods such as shaped individual dinner rolls, individual chicken breasts or chicken breast slices, meatballs, and single servings of cooked meat loaf. Place the food on a baking sheet or tray. Make sure the edges of the food do not touch, as this can cause the pieces to fuse together as they freeze. Freeze 2 to 3 hours, or until firm.

Test Kitchen Tip: For easier cleanup, line the baking sheet or tray with parchment paper, waxed paper, or plastic wrap before adding the food.

frozen berries in freezer bags Credit: Marty Baldwin

Primary Sidebar

Meet Ashley from Practical Self Reliance I’m an off-grid homesteader in rural Vermont and the author of Practical Self Reliance, a blog that helps people find practical ways to become more self-reliant. Read More…

Foods That Can Be Flash Frozen

Technically, most foods that come in individual pi

Technically, most foods that come in individual pieces – or can be split into individual pieces – can be flash frozen, regardless of them being raw or cooked.

However, there are some types of food that are particularly suited to flash freezing and others that are not so good for it.

Here are some examples of foods that can be flash frozen:

  • Berries
  • Portions of meat (split up into individual portions), like chicken breasts, steaks and pork chops
  • Burger patties, hot dogs, meatballs
  • Individual portions of fish
  • Individual slices of cake or pie
  • Baked cookies, scones, muffins
  • Unbaked cookie dough (shaped into individual pieces)
  • Baked bread slices

There are other foods that, while they technically can be flash frozen, will lose texture, quality, and flavor if put through the process.

Some foods that should not be flash frozen are:

  • Eggs in shells
  • Cooked egg whites or yolks
  • Battered and fried foods
  • Stuffed meat
  • Cheese
  • Fresh fruit or vegetables – this is with the exception of berries. Most fruit and vegetables require extra steps to make them suitable for flash freezing, like blanching
  • Soups and stews – these can be frozen, but it’s not appropriate to flash freeze them in a baking tray as they are liquid

How To Flash Freeze Foods

To flash freeze foods correctly, you need to do so

To flash freeze foods correctly, you need to do some prep first.

Make sure you’ve got the equipment ready; all you’ll need is a baking tray and then an airtight container or freezer bag. It’s also a good idea to line the baking tray with parchment paper to make cleaning up easier.

You need to prepare the food you’re going to flash freeze. For fresh produce like berries, you need to wash the food in water first then pat it dry with a paper towel.

If need be, split the food up into individual pieces or servings. This is applicable for things like chicken breasts, meatballs, or cooked meals like lasagna or meatloaf.

Once the food is ready, separate out onto the baking tray, ensuring none of the pieces touch each other – if they do, they’ll fuse together when they freeze.

Place the tray of food in your freezer and leave it there for a short while. The timing will depend on the type of food and how much there is.

Once it’s all frozen, remove the tray from the freezer and then place all of the food into an airtight container or freezer bag, then this can go in the freezer for the long term. Job done!

An extra tip: label the container or freezer bag with the type of food and the date you put it in the freezer.

How Long Will Frozen Produce Last in the Freezer?

Frozen tomatoes in freezer bags Credit: Jason Donnelly/Meredith

Store frozen fruits for about a year; vegetables, about 18 months. (Storing longer is fine, but the quality may decline.)

Related: How to Freeze Zucchini

A Basic Guide to Freezing Just About Every Vegetable

The biggest difference between freezing fruits and freezing vegetables is the process of blanching, or flash-boiling. The process of blanching stops enzyme actions which can cause loss of flavour, colour, or texture; it also brightens the colour of your vegetables (just look at the vibrant green colour of those peas!), cleans the surface of organisms, and helps slow the loss of nutrients. And after blanching, vegetables must be cooled quickly to stop the cooking process immediately.

Just like with frozen fruit, moisture and air are the biggest saboteurs of good frozen veggies, so make sure you keep them sealed and dry to the best of your ability!

  1. Select young, tender, crisp vegetables that are at their prime. The sooner they have been frozen after they have been harvested, the better they’re going to taste. If you have a glut of peas and realistically know you won’t be able to eat them all fresh, better to freeze them ASAP, rather than wait until they’re over the hill.
  2. Wash them thoroughly.
  3. Blanch, or cook the vegetables in boiling water for a very short period of time (see below for more precise cooking guidelines).
  4. Shock your vegetables by removing them from boiling water and immersing them in a bath of ice and water until their temperature has come down and they are cool. I like to do this with a colander over the ice bath (see below).
  5. Pat your vegetables dry as thoroughly as possible. This is a really important part, otherwise your frozen vegetables could end up looking like this:

  6. Spread vegetables on a sheet tray until frozen solid, then transfer them to a heavy plastic freezer bag. After packing your vegetables, wipe the top of each plastic bag clean, and seal it as tightly as you can, “burping” the bag to expel any air before closing it. This’ll prevent freezer burn and keep food from drying out. Label your bags with the date and the name of the product.
  7. Your vegetables are ready to use! To use them, defrost them, either in the refrigerator, or in a pan of cool running water. Thaw them within 6 months to a year, otherwise your vegetables could become prone to picking up off-flavours from your freezer.

Here is the break down according to the requirements of different veggies

  1. Celery: Celery is in the list of veggies that just won’t hold up well to freezing. It will be limp and may not hold its color. Now, this is not a good thing, if you are looking for a crispy snack or to add some crunch to a pasta salad. But if you are looking for the flavor of celery in a sauteed dish, a cooked casserole or a soup, then this is a great option to have pre-chopped celery ready to add to those dishes. Trim your celery stalks and then blanch for 3 minutes and follow the remaining steps. If you would like to chop them small before freezing you can do that or do it before adding to a dish.They will stay good in your fridge for up to a year.
  2. Carrots: Wash, peel and remove the tops. Cut into thin slices, 1/4-inch cubes or lengthwise strips. Blanch small whole carrotsfor 5 minutes, diced or sliced 2 minutes and lengthwise strips 2 minutes. Cool promptly, drain, pat dry and package, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Seal and freeze. *Make sure you are using fresh carrots, otherwise they will taste rubbery when you use them later. They will stay fresh for a year.
  3. Zucchini/Yellow Squash: Wash and chop your zucchini and/or squash to the desired size. Then you will blanch for only 2 minutes. You do not want it to cook any more than that. Go directly to the ice bath and then freeze in a single layer on a baking sheet. Once frozen you can then move it to a freezer bag and freeze again. This is like the celery in the fact that you wouldn’t want this as a side dish, since it will lose some of its firmness, but is great to throw into your favorite soups, spaghetti sauces, and casseroles. Label and date your bag, it is best to use it within 3 months but it will last longer in your freezer, just know the longer it is in there, it will lose its flavor.
  4. Bell Peppers and Onions: These are the easiest veggies to freeze, because you skip the blanching and ice bath. Simply chop your onions as desired and for the peppers: remove the stems, seeds and membranes; cut them as you like. Then spread on a tray so they’re not touching each other. Pop them in the freezer till firm, then transfer to a freezer-safe zip-top bag with all the air pressed out or to a vacuum-sealed bag.
  5. Corn: You can freeze a whole ear of corn by simply shucking it and then (I personally, would cut it in half to make two mini ears of corn) placing it in a freezer bag, getting as much air out as possible and freezing. OR you can blanch the ears of corn for 2-3 minutes and then allow to cool till you can handle them. Cut off the kernels and place in a quart size bag, remove the air and freeze. These can last up to a year in the freezer.
  6. Broccoli: Cut and trim your broccoli into florets and stem pieces that are similar in size. Then you will want to wash them well to get all the dirt off. When you blanch these you will want to add salt to your water. Blanch for 3 minutes and then move to the ice bath. Next pat them dry and move them to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze for 1-2 hours and then transfer them to the freezer bags. They will last up to 1 year.
  7. Potatoes: Peel and wash your potatoes. I then quartered them and blanched 3-5 minutes. Place them in the ice bath for 5-10 minutes and then cut into whatever size you are wanting. Pack in a freezer bag and remove as much air as possible.

Freezer Storage Containers

The storage container you choose is nearly as important as the way you prepare vegetables before freezing.  Standard Ziplock freezer bags are one of the most common choices, but they’re not the only option.

  • Ziplock Freezer Bags ~ One of the simplest and most economical options, freezer bags are made of a thicker plastic than regular storage bags.  That helps prevent both leaks and freezer burn, but it’s still important to remove as much air as possible from the bags for the best quality frozen vegetables.  Vacuum sealed bags are a better option for longer storage.
  • Food Saver Vacuum Sealer Bags ~ A better option than Ziploc bags, vacuum sealer bags remove air from around the food and dramatically reduce the risk of freezer burn when veggies are stored for more than a month or two.  It’s a bit of an investment upfront buying a vacuum sealer, but we’ve had ours for over a decade.  It’s literally sealed thousands of pounds of food, and it’s been well worth it.
  • Freezer Safe Gladware ~ Many types of Tupperware are not designed for freezer temperatures and will become brittle in the freezer.  Even once they warm up, they won’t recover and can shatter easily.  If you do use storage containers, choose varieties made from freezer-safe plastic, such as Gladware Freezer Safe Containers.
  • Freezer Safe Mason Jars ~ Some glass mason jars are freezer safe, and they even have a freezing “fill line” embossed on the side.  Be sure to leave around 1 1/2 inches of headspace below the top rim, as the food may expand when frozen.  Only use straight-sided “wide mouth” mason jars, as jars with “shoulders” are not freezer safe and can crack as the food expands.  Jars are best for pureed vegetables (such as frozen pumpkin puree) since it’ll fully fill the jar without air space.
Pumpkin puree ready for the freezer!  Note th

Pumpkin puree ready for the freezer!  Note the straight-sided wide mouth mason jars, which are freezer safe.

Do Roasted Vegetables Freeze Well?

Most vegetables will freeze pretty well. Some of the softer vegetables that contain a lot of water can break down a little quicker in the freezer when thawed, but, on the whole, freezing roasted vegetables is a great way to save yourself time in the middle of the week.

Tags

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Adblock
detector
Go up