How to freeze vegetables at home
How to freeze vegetables. Currently, many people buy food for several days of the week and store it in the freezer. It is not the same to store meat as it is to store fruits and vegetables, as the procedures for storing them are not the same.
It is important to keep a record of when they were frozen because, for obvious conservation reasons, they cannot be kept for too long. In the case of vegetables, the maximum limit is 3 months of freezing.
Steps to Follow for Freezing Vegetables
- Cut and Chop
Each piece should be cut and chopped for space reasons. Cutting into smaller parts allows for efficient organization in limited space and also helps in categorizing them into the desired portions.
At the same time, it is necessary to blanch the vegetables to preserve their nutrients and prevent contamination. Blanching vegetables means maintaining their natural color and textures to avoid undesirable odors, flavors, or colors. Additionally, it enhances hygienic quality, inhibits microorganisms, and removes residual oxygen from the tissues (which is what causes oxidation during storage).» Blanching the Vegetables
2. Blanching the Vegetables
Once the vegetables are clean and chopped, they should be immersed in boiling water for 1 to 3 minutes (if the vegetable is soft, the time is shorter than for a harder one) and then immediately submerged in very cold water to halt the cooking process.
This action should be repeated for each type of vegetable, avoiding the use of the same water or ice cubes. Subsequently, the vegetables should be dried with paper towels before packaging. It is essential to ensure they are dry, as freezing them while moist can result in freezer burn.
When a vegetable is taken out of the freezer, it is important to cook it because, even if the steps are done correctly, a pre-cooking is necessary to eliminate the cold and consume it as if it were freshly purchased.
It is crucial that the vegetables being frozen are in good condition. Damaged or spoiled vegetables will affect the entire batch.
It is recommended to vacuum-seal as it eliminates any type of air inside the bag, preventing food from oxidizing. Airtight bags are ideal.
Additionally, containers with tight-fitting lids work well; they should be clean and dry. There should be a margin of space between the vegetables and the lid since, at times, vegetables may expand upon freezing.
Plastic wrap is the least recommended; it can be used but for a shorter time, and a generous amount must be used to seal everything properly.
Vegetables that can be frozen
Not all vegetables are suitable for the freezer. The ones that can be frozen are those that can be cooked, such as garlic, onion, leek, scallion, seedless peppers, pumpkin and zucchini (seedless), chard, spinach, artichoke, eggplant, cabbage, kale, and carrots.
Raw vegetables with textures like lettuce, tomato, cucumber, celery, and even potatoes cannot be frozen. Although potatoes are cooked, they tend to turn black when frozen. Even cooked or pasta-form potatoes (like gnocchi) cannot be frozen.
How to freeze fruits
Fruits can be frozen, but they should be cut into pieces and immersed in a solution of water with sugar (40% sugar) and ascorbic acid. While this method involves adding sugars, it is not recommended from a nutritional standpoint. However, in terms of freezing, it will preserve the fruits well.
Another method is to use a vacuum sealing device to vacuum-seal them, clean and whole, before freezing. This approach is costly as it requires purchasing the equipment and may not be suitable for all fruits. Therefore, when it comes to fruits, it’s generally better to keep them in the refrigerator or consume them fresh, regardless of their size or season.