Because we are homesteaders, we are always looking for: 1. Ways to Preserve Food and 2. Meal Time Savers! Here is a how to properly freeze your fruit and vegetables for use during the winter and when you are just to busy to do all that prep work.
Freezer Friendly Fruit
Prepare, peel and slice (when appropriate) your fruit. Wash in a water/vinegar bath. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper, lay out slices, pieces or berries and freeze for several hours. Transfer the fruit to a freezer bag or a glass canning jar and pour a couple tablespoons of an acidic simple syrup over the fruit and return to freezer for the deep freeze. When freezing fruit it just may darken. This can be avoided by briefly soaking the fruit in an acidic simple syrup made with lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. The acidic simple syrup is made from one part lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to one part sugar to one part water and a sprinkle of salt.
Fruits that freeze well include:
As a time-saver, create gallon sized freezer bags filled with 6-7 cups of fruit along with spices for future fruit pies. Leave out the starch or flour from your fruit pies until you are ready to bake. Also make sandwich-sized freezer bags of berries, bananas, peaches, apricots and cherries for a fantastic breakfast smoothie or for muffins and coffee cake.
Freezer Friendly Veggies
Most vegetables can be frozen but the texture may differ when they thaw. For this reason, plan to use frozen vegetables in a soup, stew, risotto, stir fry or casserole. Prepare, peel and slice (when appropriate) your vegetables. Blanch in a simmering water/vinegar/salt bath briefly (30 sec.) then shock the vegetables in an ice water bath. Strain the water off or use a salad spinner (where appropriate) to ensure that the veggies are dry. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper, lay out slices or pieces and freeze for several hours. Transfer the veggies to a freezer bag or a glass canning jar.
Vegetables which freeze well include:
- Bok Choi
- Sweet Potatoes
- Summer squash
- Tomatoes (cooking only)
As a time-saver, create gallon sized freezer bags filled with 5 cups of veggie combinations along with herbs, salt and spices for future roasted veggies, soups, stews, sauces and casseroles. Also make quart-sized freezer bags of veggie combinations for stir fries.