Blanching garden vegetables is a method of preparing fresh vegetables to preserve them. By blanching the vegetables, it allows us to dry pack and freeze vegetables for later use. Freezing vegetables can take a considerable amount of less time to prepare and store vegetables as opposed to canning. Canning requires the sterlizing canning jars, which is time consuming.
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The blanching process must be done before freezing fresh vegetables to minimize the loss of color and more importantly, flavor. This is done by placing the items to be froze in boiling water for a recommended time for each type of vegetable. Then chilling the vegetables as fast as possible by plunging them into ice water. Once they are thoroughly chilled, remove and drain the vegetables. Then pack and freeze them as quickly as possible. This method of food storage is great for people with limited time when the garden is producing high volumes of produce to be harvested. However, there must be substantial amount of freezer space. It works very well for most vegetables, expect for green peppers.
Always blanch by boiling in pot of hot salt water. Add canning or kosher salt to the pot of water until it taste a bit salty. Use a big enough pot that the water covers the vegetables. Place the vegetables in a mesh wire basket to hold the vegetables under the boiling water. As a general rule, use one gallon of water per pound of vegetables. Cover the kettle for the indicated time for each type of vegetable. For best results use a very large pot of ice water to chill the vegetables. Cold running water can be used if ice water is not convenient. Simply hold the vegetables in the basket or a colander under running cold tap water until completely cool. Drain before placing in a freezer bag and freezing. Leave about ½ inch of head space at the top of the freezer bag when packing. Be sure to seal the bags completely and use freezer quality bags, not storage bags.
Follow the guidelines carefully for each indicated vegetable. If blanching is not done, or not done properly it can ruin the vegetables. It can cause them to taste bad, turn colors and even cause them to toughen.
Prepare the asparagus by first washing it very well. Then trim and cut it to the desired size and sort according to size. Blanch it by boiling it for 3 to 4 minutes, 3 minutes for thinner stalks and 4 minutes for thicker stalks. Chill fast with ice water, then pack into freezer bags and freeze immediately.
Beets should be washed and cut the tops off. Make sure you leave a small amount on the top and the root on to prevent the beets from bleeding. Blanch small beets in boiling water for 25 to 30 minutes and medium beets for 45 to 50 minutes. Chill, then cool and slice. Pack into freezer bags and freeze.
* Save the greens to eat or freeze as well, these are a tasty and nutritious vegetable.
Wash and inspect brussels sprouts well. Blanch them by boiling the small ones for 3 minutes, medium size for 4 minutes and the large ones for 5 minutes. Place in ice water to cool completely, pack and freeze.
Prepare green beans by washing them first. Then break the ends, string them and cut into desired sized pieces. Blanch them by boiling for 2 minutes. If left whole, boil them in water for 2 ½ minutes. Chill immediately with ice water and pack into freezer bags. Freeze as soon as possible.
This includes, but not limited to lima beans and butter beans. Shell and short the beans. Throw away any rotten or bad beans. Wash well then continue to blanch them by boiling for 1 to 2 minutes. If the beans are large, use 2 minutes, for medium size do 1 ½ minutes and for small beans boil for 1 minute. Chill right after with the ice water and place in freezer bags. Place in the freezer at once.
Cut off the ends of the carrots. Then peel the sides and remove any bad spots. Wash the carrots very well. Slice them to preference, either lengthwise or crosswise. Smaller carrots can be left whole or sliced. Blanch them by boiling sliced carrots in water for 3 full minutes and boil carrots for 4 ½ minutes. Chill them in ice water and pack into freezer bags, then freeze.
Corn on and off the Cob:
Husk the corn, then remove and trim off as much silk as possible. Trim off any bad and rotten spots. Use a vegetable brush to scrub away any difficult silks. Wash the corn extremely well. Blanch them by boiling slender ears for 7 minutes, use 9 minutes for medium sized ears, and 11 minutes for the large sized cobs. Cool off immediately with the ice water. Pack cobs and freeze.
For kernel corn, prepare the corn on the cobs as directed. Then, after chilling the cobs, cut the kernels off the corn. Be sure to hold the cob at an angle and cut down and away from yourself. Pack the corn into a freezer bag and freeze.
This includes beet, kale, mustard, spinach and collard greens. Wash and sort the greens. Throw out any that has bad spots. Examine the stems, if any seem tough, discard them. Blanch the leaves by boiling them for 2 minutes. Chill the leaves in ice water. Then pack them in a freezer bag and freeze.
Wash and cut away the seeds from the peppers. Slice and blanch by boiling for 3 minutes. Pack peppers in brine with 1 teaspoon of salt to 1 cup of cold water. Even though this is instructions for blanching and freezing green peppers, green peppers are actually better if you just simply freeze them without blanching them.
Peas should be shelled and sorted. Peas are small and more delicate so they only need to be blanched for 1 to 2 minutes. Boil one minute for baby peas and two minutes for large, mature peas. Chill with ice water, then pack them into freezer bags and freeze.
Squash and Zucchini:
Wash and inspect the squash or zucchini. Slice or grate it for personal preference. Blanch slices in boiling water for 3 minutes and grated for 1 to 2 minutes. Chill in ice water, then pack and freeze.
Onions and Tomatoes:
Onions and tomatoes should not be blanched before freezing.
Preparing Blanched Frozen Vegetables:
When preparing blanched, frozen vegetables, prepare by boiling the vegetables until tender. Green beans should always be boiled for at least 10 minutes because of associated health risk with undercooked green beans whether canned, fresh, blanched and frozen or store bought.