Fresh to Frozen

| September/October 2007

  • SB_iStockberries Chelnokova

  • SB_iStockberries

Freezing produce has several advantages over canning. Flavor, shape and texture are improved. The process also requires less time and effort, although optimum freshness is generally around 12 months, whereas canned foods are good for two to three years and with canned goods, nothing is lost if the electricity goes off. Freezing changes the texture of some vegetables, such as celery, potatoes and cucumbers.

The freezing of vegetables often requires blanching, a process of scalding vegetables in boiling water that stops the action of the enzymes that cause loss of flavor and color. The procedure and amount of time needed for specific foods can be found in books on food preservation, such as the Ball Blue Book of Canning, or online at

1) Sort and gently wash your vegetables.
2) Blanch, immediately cool in cold water and then drain well in a colander.
3) Pack into freezer bags. Mark the type of food and the date, and place into the freezer.

Two methods are common for freezing fruit: wet packing and dry packing.

  • Wet packing uses liquid, such as water or the fruit’s own juice. Adding sugar will draw out the fruit’s juice. If the fruit you are freezing tends to darken use an ascorbic acid product like Fruit Fresh to prevent oxidation.
  • Dry packing is for freezing whole berries (including strawberries, blueberries and cranberries), rhubarb, figs or currants. A neat way to keep these fruits from sticking together is to first spread a single layer onto a cooking sheet and freeze, then pack into freezer bags. Or simply wash, pack into bags, gently squeeze out the air and place in the freezer.

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