Freeze your produce

The summer is full of the beauty of all things fresh and locally grown. If you’re on top of your game, you can enjoy this quality produce all winter long. All you need is a freezer and some ziploc bags.

Freezing fruit:

  1. Wash your fruit
  2. Do whatever it takes to get the fruit ready to eat: pull stems off, pits out, leaves off.
  3. Spread the fruit in one layer onto a cookie sheet. I understand that the photo below is of beans. Not fruit. But you get the idea.
  4. Slide it in the freezer for about 1 hour. This will ensure that each piece stays separate and that it won’t all freeze together into one large clump.
  5. Divvy up fruit in Ziploc freezer bags. Fill each bag half to two-thirds full. Get as much air out of the bag as possible to prevent freezer burn.
  6. Label with type of fruit and today’s date, and store in freezer.

Freezing veggies:

Veggies are a bit more complicated because you have to blanch them before you freeze them. To blanch, get a large pot of water boiling on the stove.

While that’s happening, prepare your veggies. In my case, this meant shucking the corn and snapping the beans.

Once you have a rolling boil going, toss the veggies in. For both corn and beans, you have to boil for 4 minutes. If the water stopped boiling when you put the veggies into the pot, wait until it resumes a boil before you start the 4 minute timer.

When the timer dings, immediately remove the veggies using tongs or a slotted spoon and immerse them in cold (ice) water.

Once cool, the beans are ready to go on the pan and be frozen.

As for the corn: shave the corn off the cob directly onto a cookie sheet. When you have a full pan, slide it into the freezer.

Corn, especially, needs to freeze on the pan for at least an hour, or you’ll have a frozen brick of corn when you want to get it out of the freezer. For a family, this won’t be such an issue. For me, who just wants a cup or two of corn at a time, this is highly inconvenient.

Following the same rules as for the fruit, put the veggies in Ziploc bags, label, and freeze.

I wanna know: Do you buy in bulk? Do you preserve fresh produce/food when you can get it in bulk/on a discount?

Canning

I have successfully canned! I feel like a more accomplished individual. I now have, in my pantry, 12 jars of crushed tomatoes and 4 jars of salsa.

Let me tell you, canning was an adventure. I’m far from an expert, so I’m not going to go into the ins and outs of canning in this post. But I will say that if you have any inclination to can, you should give it a whirl.

Here are some resources:

  • I got a lot of good information from You Grow Girl, including her very simple recipe for canning tomatoes and her well written directions for the canning process.
  • pickyourown.org has a lot of great resources, including where to find pick-your-own farms and canning, freezing, and preserving directions, FAQ, and recipes.
  • Ball Canning has great recipes and tips on their website.

If you don’t have your own garden produce to can, check out your local farm market or a farm on pickyourown.org. Ask if they have a discount for canning produce. They might have some that’s not as pretty to sell that they would love to sell you for your chopping and preserving purposes. Ask if they have any tips for how to best preserve the produce that you want to buy.

Good luck!

I wanna know: Do you can or freeze produce when it’s in season so that you can enjoy it throughout the winter?