Your freezer is a great healthy-eating tool. When you have more than you can use at the moment, you can easily freeze your fresh produce favorites so they’re ready when you are.
Veggies — Good-quality, firm veggies like fresh beans and peas, carrots, broccoli and cauliflower freeze very well.
- Bring about 4 quarts of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons of salt. Parboil the vegetables for 1 to 3 minutes. Drain and plunge them into an ice water bath to stop the cooking process.
- When cool, drain again. Spread the veggies in a single layer on parchment-lined baking sheets and freeze until solid.
- Once frozen, transfer to freezer bags. Use without thawing; cooking times will be about 50% faster than for fresh veggies.
Fruits — Berries, stone fruits, apples, pears, pineapples, mangos, figs and rhubarb all freeze very well.
- Choose fruits that are in good condition, not over-ripe or damaged.
- Wash and dry the fruit. Spread fruit slices or berries out in a single layer on parchment-lined baking sheets and freeze until solid.
- Once frozen, transfer to freezer bags. Use without thawing in recipes, or defrost them in the fridge. After freezing, the texture of the thawed fruit will be softer than that of fresh, but the flavor should still be excellent.
Always label your frozen produce with the item name and the date you froze it. Well-wrapped frozen produce can last as long as 3 to 6 months in your freezer, but for best results, try to use it within a month or so.
For these tips and more, check out The Earthbound Cook by our co-founder, Myra Goodman — or visit FreshPreserving.com, a terrific resource from the folks who make Ball canning products.