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    You are in: Home / Community Forums / Cooking on a Budget: OAMC, Make Ahead, Freezing & More / Freezer guide & how to freeze fruits and vegetables!
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    Freezer guide & how to freeze fruits and vegetables!

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    Tish
    Thu Feb 03, 2005 10:51 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    Freezer Guide

    Packaging
    Any access air in your container may compromise the quality of your thawed food. Remove as much air as possible in bags and wraps. Allow the recommended headspace in rigid containers. Three types of containers are good for fruits and vegetables that I can think of: rigid containers, freezer bags and freezer paper and wrap
    Freezing and Refreezing Food (this one has been asked a few times so let's go over it)
    If your food is only partially defrosted, indicated by the presence of ice crystals, it may be refrozen.
    Don't refreeze completely defrosted low-acid foods, such as vegetables or meat sauces, after they reach room temperature.
    You may refreeze high acid foods and most fruits and fruit products if they are still cold
    You may safely refreeze partially thawed foods containing ice crystals if you were thawing your food in your refrigerator
    Refrozen foods have a shorter shelf life than when first frozen. They may also taste different from refrozen foods. If you refreeze an item, make a not on the package and us as soon as possible.
    When in doubt, Throw it out!

    How long will groceries keep? Here is a general guideline to how long foods can reasonably be stored in the freezer.

    Meats

    * Beef, lamb, mutton, veal and venison - 12 months
    * Cooked Meats - 3 months
    * Ground Meats - 3 months
    * Fish - 3 months
    * Lamb - 9 months
    * Liver - 2 months
    * Pork - 6 months
    * Poultry, raw - 6 months
    * Sausage 6 months
    * Bacon - 1-2 months
    * Shrimp 6 months
    * Turkey & Chicken 1 year
    * Prepared meals - 4-6 months

    Dairy

    * Butter, pasteurized - 6 months
    * Margarine - 4-6 months
    * Cheese - 4-6 months
    * Cream Cheese - 4 months
    * Ice Cream - 4 months
    * Whipping Cream - 3 months
    * 2% Milk - 3 months
    * Prepared egg nog - 2 months
    * Yogurt - 4-6 months

    Miscellaneous

    * Bagels - 2 months
    * Bread & cookie dough - 2-3 months
    * Cakes, Cookies and Breads - 3-4 months
    * Pancakes & waffles - 2-3 months
    * Coconut -12 months
    * Egg Substitute - 12 months
    * Egg Whites, out of shell -12 months Freezing Eggs-More info
    * Egg Yolks, out of shell - 3 months
    * (Add 1/8 tsp. salt or 1/2 tsp. sugar for every 4 egg yolks)
    * Fruits and Juices - 12 months
    * Pies, (fruit) baked - 4 months
    * Pies, (fruit) unbaked - 4 months
    * Nuts - 12 months
    * Soups & Stews - 3 months
    * Vegetables - 12 months
    * Breast Milk - 4-6 months
    * Canned baby formula - 2 months (may change consistancy though)


    Things that don't freeze well

    * Cooked egg whites
    * Whole eggs
    * Mayonnaise Salad Dressings
    * Canned refrigerator biscuits, Danish rolls, cinnamon rolls, croissant dough
    (You can bake these and then freeze.)
    * Salad greens
    * Raw tomatoes
    (You can freeze raw tomatoes but they should only be used for cooking.)
    * Custards
    * Cream pies with meringue
    * Grapes (unless eating frozen)
    * Buttermilk
    * Sour Cream
    It has been suggested that we build a sticky for popular vegetables and fruit and how to freeze them when we have them in season. Most of this information will come from Canning & Preserving for Dummies by Karen Ward. The rest comes from the National Center for Home Food Preservation. If you need any others added to this list please ask and we will get added as needed. icon_wink.gif

    Mastering Freezing Fruit

    Fresh fruits require a minimum of preparation before packaging them for the freezer. The key to a great frozen product starts with perfect, ripe fruit. Be prepared to process your fruit the day it's picked, or immediately after bringing it home from the store.
    The best choices for fruit packaging is rigid freezer containers and freezer bags. Use rigid containers when freezing in liquid, and bags for dry pack
    There's not much to this but you have to decide what you want to do with your final product as to weather you want syrup or dry unsweetened/sweetened. I'll try to put as much info in here as possible without going crazy icon_eek.gif
    Syrup Concentrations
    icon_arrow.gif Extra Light Syrup - 1 1/4 cup sugar, 5 1/2 cups water, makes 6 cups of Extra Light Syrup
    icon_arrow.gif Light Syrup - 2 1/4 cups sugar, 5 1/4 cups water, makes 6 1/2 cups Light Syrup
    icon_arrow.gif Medium Syrup (used for most fruits) - 3 1/4 cups sugar, 5 cups water, makes 7 cups Medium Syrup
    icon_arrow.gif Heavy Syrup - 4 1/4 cups sugar, 4 1/4 cups water, makes 7 cups Heavy Syrup
    icon_idea.gif Use these syrup estimates for planning the amount of syrup to make for filling your containers:
    Sliced fruit or berries: 1/3 - 1/2 cups of syrup for 1 1/2 cups of fruit in a pint container
    Halved fruit: 3/4 - 1 cup of syrup for 1 1/2 cups of fruit in a pint container
    Apples
    Preparation – Syrup Pack is preferred for apples to be used for uncooked desserts or fruit cocktail. A sugar or dry pack is good for pie making. Select full-flavored apples that are crisp and firm, not mealy in texture. Wash, peel and core. Slice medium apples into twelfths, large ones into sixteenths.
    Syrup Pack – Use cold medium syrup. To prevent browning, add 1/2 teaspoon ascorbic acid to each quart of syrup. Slice apples directly into syrup in container starting with 1/2 cup syrup to a pint container. Press fruit down in containers and add enough syrup to cover. Leave headspace. Place a small piece of crumpled water-resistant paper on top to hold fruit down. Seal and freeze.
    Sugar Pack – To prevent darkening, dissolve 1/2 teaspoon ascorbic acid in 3 tablespoons water. Sprinkle over the fruit. Or, apple slices can be steam blanched for 11/2 to 2 minutes. Mix 1/2 cup sugar with 1 quart (1 1/4 pounds) of fruit. Pack apples into containers and press fruit down, leaving headspace. Seal and freeze.
    Dry Pack – Follow the directions for Sugar Pack, omitting the sugar. Treated apple slices can also be frozen first on a tray and then packed into containers as soon as they are frozen

    Apricots, Nectarines, and Peaches
    Preparation – Select firm, ripe, uniformly yellow apricots. Sort, wash, halve and pit. Peel and slice if desired. If apricots are not peeled, heat them in boiling water 1/2 minute to keep skins from toughening during freezing. Cool in cold water and drain.
    Syrup Pack – Use cold medium syrup. For a better quality frozen product, add 3/4 teaspoon ascorbic acid to each quart of syrup. Pack fruit directly into containers. Cover with syrup, leaving headspace. Place a small piece of crumpled water-resistant paper on top to hold fruit down. Seal and freeze.
    Sugar Pack – Before combining apricots with sugar, give the fruit the following treatment to prevent darkening:
    Dissolve 1/4 teaspoon ascorbic acid in 3 tablespoons cold water and sprinkle over 1 quart (7/8 pound) of fruit. Mix 1/2 cup sugar with each quart of fruit. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Pack fruit into containers and press down until fruit is covered with juice, leaving headspace. Place a small piece of crumpled water-resistant paper on top to hold fruit down. Seal and freeze.
    Berries: (Except strawberries)
    Preparation – Harvest fully ripe, firm, well-colored berries. Remove those that are immature or defective. Wash and drain. Remove stems
    Dry Pack – Pack into containers, leaving headspace. Berries can also be frozen first on a tray (flash frozen) and then packed into containers as soon as they are frozen. Seal and freeze.
    Sugar Pack – To 1 quart (1 1/3 pounds) berries add ¾ cup sugar and mix carefully to avoid crushing. Stir until most of the sugar is dissolved. Put into containers, leaving headspace. Seal and freeze.
    Syrup Pack – Put berries into containers and cover with cold medium, leaving headspace. Seal and freeze.
    Citrus Fruits
    Preparation – Select firm, tree-ripened fruit heavy for its size and free from soft spots. Wash and peel. Divide fruit into sections, removing all membranes and seeds. Slice oranges if desired. For grapefruit with many seeds, cut fruit in half and remove seeds; cut or scoop out sections.
    Syrup Pack – Pack fruit into containers. Cover with cold medium syrup made with excess fruit juice or water. Leave headspace. Seal and freeze.
    Juice – Select fruit as directed for sections. Squeeze juice from fruit, using squeezer that does not press oil from rind. Sweeten with 2 tablespoons sugar for each quart of juice or pack without sugar. Pour juice into containers immediately. To avoid development of off-flavors, pack juice in glass jars. Leave headspace. Seal and freeze.
    Grapes
    Preparation – Choose fully ripe, firm, sweet grapes. Sort, stem and wash. Leave seedless grapes whole; cut table grapes with seeds in half and remove seeds.
    Syrup Pack – Pack into containers and cover with cold medium syrup. Leave headspace. Seal and freeze.
    Purée – Wash, stem and crush the grapes. Heat to boiling. Drain off free juice and freeze it separately. Remove seeds and hulls with a colander. To 1 quart (2 pounds) purée add 1/2 cup sugar. Pack into containers, leaving headspace. Seal and freeze.
    Juice – For beverages, select as for whole grapes. For jelly making, select as recommended in specific jelly recipe.
    Crush grapes . Add 1 cup water per gallon crushed grapes. Simmer for 10 minutes. Strain juice through a jelly bag. To remove tartrate crystals, let stand overnight in refrigerator or other cool place. Pour off clear juice for freezing. Discard sediment. Pour juice into containers, leaving headspace. Seal and freeze. If tartrate crystals form in frozen juice, they may be removed by straining the juice after it thaws.
    Strawberries
    Preparation – Select fully ripe, firm berries with a deep red color. Discard immature and defective fruit. Wash and remove caps.
    Whole Berries Syrup Pack – Put berries into containers and cover with cold heavy syrup, leaving headspace. Seal and freeze.
    Whole Berries Sugar Pack – Add ¾ cup sugar to 1 quart (1 1/3 pounds) strawberries and mix thoroughly. Stir until most of the sugar is dissolved or let stand for 15 minutes. Put into containers, leaving headspace. Seal and freeze.
    Sliced or Crushed – Prepare for packing as for whole strawberries; then slice or crush partially or completely. To 1 quart (1 1/3 pounds) berries add ¾ cup sugar; mix thoroughly. Stir until most of the sugar is dissolved or let stand for 15 minutes. Pack into containers, leaving headspace. Seal and freeze.
    ...those are the ones I can remember being asked about so far. If anyone wants a fruit added please ask!
    Now on to vegetables icon_surprised.gif
    Mastering Vegetables
    Like fresh fruit, fresh vegetables are quick and easy to freeze. They key to great frozen vegies is a process called blanching
    Follow these steps for successful blanching:
    1. Wash and drain the vegetables
    2. Remove any peel or skin as desired
    3. Cut the vegetable if necessary
    4. Bring a 5-6 qt pot of water to boil
    5. Fill a large mixing bowl with ice water
    6. Blanch you vegetables in batches, no more than 1 lb of vegies in 1 gallon of water, accurately timing the blanching
    (begin timing your vegetables as soon as they hit the boiling water - don't wait for the water to return to boil!)
    7. Remove your vegies from the boiling water and plunge them into the ice bath, stirring and circulating the vegetables in the ice water to stop the cooking process as quickly as possible. (Don't leave your vegies in the ice bath any longer than you left them in the boiling water)
    8. After the vegetables are chilled all the way through, remove them from the ice bath and drain them in a colander. If you are dry packing them, roll them in or lay them on a clean dry kitchen towel to remove the excess moisture.
    9. Pack you vegetables in you freezer containers and allow proper headspace.
    10. Don't forget to label you containers!

    Artichoke
    Globe Artichoke Hearts
    Preparation – Select those with uniformly green color, compact globes and tightly adhering leaves. Remove all leaves and choke or fuzzy portion. The portion that is left at the base is the heart. Cut away the stem just below the heart and trim any woody portions. Wash hearts in cold water and drain.
    Water blanch 7 minutes. Cook, drain and pack, leaving no headspace. Seal and freeze
    Asparagus
    Preparation – Select young tender spears. Wash thoroughly and sort into sizes. Trim stalks by removing scales with a sharp knife. Cut into even lengths to fit containers.
    Water blanch small spears 2 minutes, medium spears 3 minutes and large spears 4 minutes.
    Cool promptly, drain and package, leaving no headspace. Seal and freeze
    Green, Snap, or Wax Beans
    Preparation – Select young tender pods when the seed is first formed. Wash in cold water, snip and cut into 2 to 4-inch lengths.
    Water blanch 3 minutes. Cool promptly, drain and package, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Seal and freeze.
    Lima, Butter, or Pinto Beans
    Preparation – Harvest while the seed is in the green stage. Wash, shell and sort according to size.
    Water blanch small beans 2 minutes, medium beans 3 minutes and large beans 4 minutes. Cool promptly, drain and package, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Seal and freeze.
    Broccoli
    Preparation – Select firm, young, tender stalks with compact heads. Remove leaves and woody portions. Separate heads into convenient-size sections and immerse in brine (4 teaspoons salt to 1 gallon water) for 30 minutes to remove insects. Split lengthwise so flowerets are no more than 1 1/2 inches across.
    Water blanch 3 minutes in boiling water or steam blanch 5 minutes.
    Cool promptly, drain and package, leaving no headspace. Seal and freeze.
    Carrots
    Preparation – Select young, tender, coreless, medium length carrots. Remove tops, wash and peel. Leave small carrots whole. Cut others into thin slices, 1/4-inch cubes or lengthwise strips.
    Water blanch small whole carrots 5 minutes, diced or sliced 2 minutes and lengthwise strips 2 minutes.
    Cool promptly, drain and package, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Seal and freeze
    Cauliflower
    Preparation – Choose compact white heads. Trim off leaves and cut head into pieces about 1 inch across. If necessary to remove insects, soak for 30 minutes in solution of salt and water (4 teaspoons salt per gallon water). Drain.
    Water blanch for 3 minutes in water containing 4 teaspoons salt per gallon water.
    Cool promptly, drain and package, leaving no headspace. Seal and freeze
    Corn
    Preparation – Select only tender, freshly-gathered corn in the milk stage. Husk and trim the ears, remove silks and wash.
    Corn-on-the-cob – Water blanch small ears (11/4 inches or less in diameter) 7 minutes, medium ears (11/4 to l1/2 inches in diameter) 9 minutes and large ears (over l1/2 inches in diameter) 11 minutes. Cool promptly and completely to prevent a "cobby" taste. Drain and package. Seal and freeze.
    Whole Kernel Corn – Water blanch 4 minutes. Cool promptly, drain and cut from cob. Cut kernels from cob about 2/3 the depth of the kernels. Package, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Seal and freeze.
    Cream Style Corn – Water blanch 4 minutes. Cool promptly and drain. Cut kernel tips and scrape the cobs with the back of a knife to remove the juice and the heart of the kernel. Package, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Seal and freeze.
    Another way to prepare cream style corn for freezing is to cut and scrape the corn from the cob without blanching. Place the cut corn in a double boiler, and heat with constant stirring for about 10 minutes or until it thickens; allow to cool by placing the pan in ice water. Package in moisture-vapor resistant containers, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Seal and freeze.
    Greens(Including Spinach,beet,swiss chard)
    Preparation – Select young, tender green leaves. Wash thoroughly and cut off woody stems. Water blanch collards 3 minutes and all other greens 2 minutes.
    Cool, drain and package, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Seal and freeze
    Mushrooms
    Preparation – Choose mushrooms free from spots and decay. Sort according to size. Wash thoroughly in cold water. Trim off ends of stems. If mushrooms are larger than 1 inch across, slice them or cut them into quarters.
    Mushrooms can be steamed or heated in fat in a fry pan. Steamed mushrooms will keep longer than those heated in fat.
    To Steam – Mushrooms to be steamed have better color if given anti-darkening treatment first. To do this, dip for 5 minutes in a solution containing 1 teaspoon lemon juice or 11/2 teaspoons citric acid to a pint of water.
    Then steam whole mushrooms 5 minutes, buttons or quarters 31/2 minutes and slices 3 minutes. Cool promptly, drain and package, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Seal and freeze.
    To Heat in Fry Pan – Heat small quantities of mushrooms in margarine or butter in an open fry pan until almost done.
    Cool in air or set pan in which mushrooms were cooked in cold water. Pack into containers, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Seal and freeze.
    Bell or Sweet Peppers
    Preparation – Select crisp, tender, green or bright red pods. Wash, cut out stems, cut in half and remove seeds. If desired, cut into 1/2-inch strips or rings.
    Heated – Good for use in cooking. Water blanch halves 3 minutes, strips or rings 2 minutes. Cool promptly, drain and package, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Seal and freeze.
    Unheated – Good for use in uncooked foods because they have a crisper texture, or in cooked foods. Package raw, leaving no headspace. Seal and freeze.
    Pumpkin
    Preparation – Select full-colored mature pumpkin with fine texture. Wash, cut into cooking-size sections and remove seeds.
    Cook until soft in boiling water, in steam, in a pressure cooker or in an oven. Remove pulp from rind and mash. To cool, place pan containing pumpkin in cold water and stir occasionally. Package, leaving ½-inch headspace. Seal and freeze.
    Summer Squash
    (Cocozelle, Crookneck, Pattypan, Straightneck, White Scallop, Zucchini)

    Preparation – Choose young squash with tender skin. Wash and cut in 1/2-inch slices. Water blanch 3 minutes. Cool promptly, drain and package, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Seal and freeze.
    Grated Zucchini (for Baking) – Choose young tender zucchini. Wash and grate. Steam blanch in small quantities 1 to 2 minutes until translucent. Pack in measured amounts into containers, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Cool by placing the containers in cold water. Seal and freeze.
    If watery when thawed, discard the liquid before using the zucchini. (Note here that I do not blanch my zucchini but this is what the books say and I want you to know that is what is suggested!)
    Winter Squash (Acorn, Banana, Buttercup, Butternut, Golden Delicious, Hubbard, Spaghetti)
    Preparation – Select firm, mature squash with a hard rind. For spaghetti squash, mashing the cooked pulp is not necessary.
    Cook until soft in boiling water, in steam, in a pressure cooker or in an oven. Remove pulp from rind and mash. To cool, place pan containing pumpkin in cold water and stir occasionally. Package, leaving ½-inch headspace. Seal and freeze.
    Tomatoes
    Preparation – Select firm, ripe tomatoes with deep red color.
    Raw – Wash and dip in boiling water for 30 seconds to loosen skins. Core and peel. Freeze whole or in pieces. Pack into containers, leaving l-inch headspace. Seal and freeze. Use only for cooking or seasoning as tomatoes will not be solid when thawed.
    Juice – Wash, sort and trim firm, vine-ripened tomatoes. Cut in quarters or eighths. Simmer 5 to 10 minutes. Press through a sieve. If desired, season with 1 teaspoon salt to each quart of juice. Pour into containers, leaving headspace. Seal and freeze.
    Stewed – Remove stem ends, peel and quarter ripe tomatoes. Cover and cook until tender (10 to 20 minutes). Place pan containing tomatoes in cold water to cool. Pack into containers, leaving headspace. Seal and freeze.

    There are tons more I could type in here but I don't know what everyone needs. If you see a vegetable or fruit not listed here...I can add it! Hope this helps icon_biggrin.gif
    (edited to add info from another sticky!)
    ..here was some great additional info from Pamela
    Here are some additonal tips

    Simple guidelines for freezing a variety of vegetables commonly grown in home gardens.
    Artichoke, Globe Remove outer leaves. Wash and trim stalks. Remove "chokes" and blanch, a few at a time, for 7 minutes. Cool in iced water for 7 minutes. Drain. Pack in freezer bags, seal and label. Keeps up to 6 months.
    Artichoke, Jerusalem Peel and slice. Place in cold water with the juice of a lemon to prevent discoloration. Blanch for 2 minutes in boiling water. Cool in iced water for 2 minutes. Drain and place on tray in a single layer. Freeze for 30 minutes. Transfer to freezer bags, remove air, label and seal. Keeps for 6 months.
    Asparagus Wash and remove woody portions and scales of spears. Cut into 6 inch lengths and blanch in boiling water for 3 minutes. Cool in iced water for 3 minutes. Drain. Place on trays in a single layer and freeze for 30 minutes. Pack into suitable containers, seal and label. Keeps up to 6 months.
    Beans, Broad Shell and wash. Blanch in boiling water for 1½ minutes. Cool in iced water for 1-2 minutes. Place on tray in a single layer and freeze for 30 minutes. Pack into freezer bags, remove air, seal and label. Keeps up to 6 months.
    Beets Only freeze young tender beets, not more than 2-3 inches across. Cook until tender and slice. Cool and transfer to plastic containers. Label. Freeze up to 6 months.
    Broccoli Choose tender young heads with no flowers and tender stalks. Wash well and divide into sprigs. Blanch 3 minutes in boiling water. Cool in iced water for 3 minutes. Drain. Spread on tray in single layer. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent the smell from permeating the freezer. Freeze 30 minutes. Pack in freezer bags, remove air, seal and label. Keeps up to 6 months.
    Brussels Sprouts Remove outer leaves and cut a cross at the stem end of sprout. Wash thoroughly and blanch for 3 minutes. Cool in iced water for 3 minutes. Drain and spread on tray in a single layer. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent the smell from permeating the freezer. Freeze 30 minutes, remove from tray and pack into plastic bags. Remove air, label and seal. Keeps up to 6 months.
    Cabbage Remove outer leaves and wash the remainder. Cut into thin wedges or shred. Blanch 1½ minutes if shredded or 2 minutes if cut into wedges. Chill in iced water 1-2 minutes. Drain well. Pack in freezer bags, label and seal. Keeps up to 6 months.
    Carrots Wash and scrub carrots and cut large carrots into pieces. Blanch 3 minutes in boiling water. Chill in iced water 3 minutes. Drain. Spread on a tray in a single layer and freeze 30 minutes. Pack in freezer bags, remove air, label and seal. Keeps up to 6 months.
    Cauliflower Divide into florets and wash. Blanch for 3 minutes in boiling water. Chill in iced water for 3 minutes. Drain and place on a tray in a single layer. Cover with plastic wrap. Freeze for 30 minutes. Transfer to freezer bags, remove air, label and seal. Keeps for 6 months.
    Celery Use young, tender stalks. Wash and cut into 1 inch pieces. Blanch for 2 minutes in boiling water. Chill in iced water for 2 minutes. Drain and place on tray in a single layer. Freeze for 30 minutes. Transfer to freezer bags, remove air, label and seal. Keeps for 6 months.
    Chayote Cook sliced chayote until tender in boiling water. Drain well, mash and cool. Pack into plastic containers with well fitting lids, leaving space at the top for expansion. Freeze up to 6 months.
    Chilies Remove seeds, wash and dry. Drain and place on tray in a single layer. Freeze for 30 minutes. Transfer to freezer bags, remove air, label and seal. Keeps for 6 months.
    Chinese Broccoli Remove coarse leaves and thick stems. Wash and blanch in boiling water 2 minutes. Chill in iced water for 2 minutes. Drain and place on tray in a single layer. Freeze for 30 minutes. Transfer to freezer bags, remove air, label and seal. Keeps for 6 months.
    Chinese Cabbage Only freeze crisp and young cabbage. Wash and shred finely. Blanch for 1½ minutes. Chill in iced water for 1-2 minutes. Drain and place in freezer bags, label and seal. Keeps up to 6 months.
    Chinese Spinach Wash and trim leaves off stalks. Blanch 1 minute. Chill in iced water 1 minute. Drain, pack into freezer bags and remove air from bags. Seal and label. Keeps up to 6 months.
    Cucumber Peel and chop in food processor. Pack into plastic containers with tight fitting lids. Label and freeze. Keeps up to 6 months.
    Eggplant Cut into slices, sprinkle with salt and allow to stand 30 minutes. Drain off excess liquid and fry gently in butter or margarine until just tender. Cool and pack into plastic containers. Seal and label. Keeps up to 3 months.
    Fennel Use fresh young stalks. Wash thoroughly. Blanch 3 minutes. Chill in iced water 3 minutes. Drain, pack in freezer bags and remove air. Keeps up to 6 months.
    Garlic Place separated bulbs in freezer bags. Remove excess air from bags, seal and label. Keeps up to 3 months.
    Ginger Separate ginger into convenient sized knobs. Place in freezer bags. Remove excess air from bags, seal and label. Freeze up to 6 months.
    Kohlrabi Wash well, peel and cut into pieces. Blanch for 3 minutes. Chill in iced water 3 minutes. Drain and place on tray in a single layer. Freeze for 30 minutes. Transfer to freezer bags, remove air, label and seal. Keeps for 6 months.
    Leek Remove tough outer leaves, wash remainder. Cut away green part of stem, slice white flesh or cut in half lengthwise. Blanch 2 minutes if sliced and 3 minutes if cut lengthwise. Chill in iced water 2-3 minutes. Drain and place on tray in a single layer. Freeze for 30 minutes. Transfer to freezer bags, remove air, label and seal. Keeps for 6 months.
    Winter Squash Peel, cut into pieces and cook in boiling water until just cooked. Cool and place in freezer bags, remove air, seal and label. Keeps up to 3 months.
    Mushrooms Cultivated mushrooms need no preparation. Pack clean mushrooms in freezer bags. Remove air, seal and label. Freeze up to 6 months.
    Okra Wash and trim off stems. Blanch in boiling water 3-4 minutes. Cool in iced water 3-4 minutes. Drain and pack in freezer bags. Remove air from bags, seal and label. Freeze up to 6 months.
    Onion Peel, chop or cut into rings. Wrap in layers of plastic wrap, place in a plastic container. Label and freeze up to 3 months.
    Parsnip Peel and dice. Blanch 2 minutes, chill in iced water for 2 minutes, spread on a tray and freeze for 30 minutes. Pack into freezer bags, remove air, label and seal. Keeps up to 6 months.
    Peas Shell, wash and blanch 1 minute. Chill in iced water 1 minute. Drain and place on tray in a single layer. Freeze for 30 minutes. Transfer to freezer bags, remove air, label and seal. Keeps for 6 months.
    Pepper Wash, remove seeds and cut into slices or leave whole. Place on a tray in a single layer. Freeze for 30 minutes. Pack in freezer bags, remove air, label and seal. Freeze up to 6 months.
    Potato Scrub new potatoes. Cook in boiling water until almost done. Drain, cool, pack in freezer bags. Seal, label and freeze for up to 6 months.
    Slice and deep fry 4 minutes. They should be tender but not browned. Drain and cool on paper towels. Place on a tray in a single layer and freeze 30 minutes. Pack in freezer bags, remove air, label and seal. Freeze up to 3 months.
    Prepare mashed potatoes and freeze up to 3 months.

    Pumpkin Peel and cook in boiling salted water until tender. Mash, cool and pack into plastic containers leaving headspace. Freeze up to 3 months. Alternatively, peel and cut into pieces. Bake until almost done. Pack into freezer bags when cool, remove the air, seal and label. Keeps up to 3 months.
    Rutabaga Only use tender young rutabaga. Cut to required size and blanch 3 minutes. Chill in iced water 3 minutes. Drain and place on tray in a single layer. Freeze for 30 minutes. Transfer to freezer bags, remove air, label and seal. Keeps for 6 months.
    Shallots Separate cloves and place in freezer bags. Remove excess air. Keeps up to 3 months.
    Snow Peas Use tender leaves. Wash and trim. Blanch 30 seconds. Chill in iced water 30 seconds. Drain and place on tray in a single layer. Freeze for 30 minutes. Transfer to freezer bags, remove air, label and seal. Keeps for 6 months.
    Spinach Wash well and trim leaves from stalks. Blanch in small quantities of boiling water for 1 minute. Chill in iced water for 1 minute. Drain and place on tray in a single layer. Freeze for 30 minutes. Transfer to freezer bags, remove air, label and seal. Keeps for 6 months.
    Squash Peel and cook in boiling salted water until tender. Mash, cool and pack into freezer containers leaving room for expansion. Seal and label. Freeze up to 3 months.
    Sugar Snap Pea Remove pods, wash and blanch for 1 minute. Chill, drain and spread on a tray. Freeze of 30 minutes, pack in plastic bags, remove air, seal and label. Will keep up to 6 months.
    Sweet Corn Clean well and remove all silk. Cut off top of cob. Wash, blanch a few cobs at a time for 5-7 minutes, depending on size. Chill in iced water 5-7 minutes. Drain and wrap each cob in plastic wrap. Pack in freezer bags, remove air, label and seal. Freeze up to 6 months.
    Sweet Potato Peel and cut into pieces. Blanch 3 minutes in boiling water, chill in iced water 3 minutes. Drain and place on tray in a single layer. Freeze for 30 minutes. Transfer to freezer bags, remove air, label and seal. Keeps for 6 months.
    Tomatoes Wash, remove stems, cut into halves or quarters or leave whole. Dry and pack into freezer bags. Remove air, label and seal. Keeps 6 months.
    Dip into boiling water 1 minute. Remove and peel. Place on a tray and freeze for 30 minutes. Place in plastic bags, remove air, seal and label. Keeps up to 6 months.
    Simmer chopped tomatoes in a pan for 5 minutes or until soft. Push through a sieve or food mill to remove skins and seeds. Cool and pack in plastic containers, leaving headspace. Keeps 6 months.

    Turnip Peel and trim young, tender turnips. Cut to required size and blanch 3 minutes. Chill in iced water for 3 minutes. Drain and place on tray in a single layer. Freeze for 30 minutes. Transfer to freezer bags, remove air, label and seal. Keeps for 6 months.
    Water Chestnuts Bring chestnuts to a boil. Drain and peel off shells. Pack in freezer bags or plastic containers, remove air, seal and label. Freeze up to 6 months.
    Witloof Wash well. Blanch for 3 minutes. Drain and place on tray in a single layer. Freeze for 30 minutes. Transfer to freezer bags, remove air, label and seal. Keeps for 6 months.
    Zucchini: Slice into 1 inch pieces without peeling. Sauté gently in a little melted butter until barely tender. Cool, pack into plastic containers leaving headspace at the top. Freeze up to 3 months.


    Last edited by Tish on Fri Apr 14, 2006 7:32 pm, edited 6 times in total
    Parkrunner
    Wed Feb 09, 2005 9:38 pm
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    Thanks Tish - I find it really useful to keep a list on the fridge (or somewhere else handy) with all my freezer contents on it - both prepared meals and meat I've just bought and chucked in 'as is'.

    Of course, this falls apart whenever I stick leftovers in the freezer and if you could all see into the MESS in my freezer right now you'd think I was nuts posting this! icon_redface.gif I'm having trouble getting back into it all after our looooong summer break down under, that's all!

    Clare
    Tish
    Thu Feb 10, 2005 6:33 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    Welcome Clare....I know what you mean about the stacking on top without keeping track. I am adding to the freezer guide as I find new information. Check back to see if there are any changes!
    tasb
    Sat Feb 12, 2005 10:39 am
    Food.com Groupie
    My parents friends have a setup that they swear by. They have 3 freezers icon_eek.gif they are about 7 cubic feet each. Freezer #1 has all the stuff they are using now (aka they oldest stuff), Freezer #2 is the stuff they are to use next, Freezer #3 is all the newest stuff. When they clear out #1 they put all of #2 into that one, add #3 to #2 and then go shopping to fill up #3. Now for the real shocker they are an older couple, only the two of them.

    Well I know most of us could never do that but I make the effort to move all the older stuff and put the new stuff in the bottom. Hard work but worth it. I know I lost some stew meat before because I didn't do a good job moving everything. I make sure that I do lable all meats with the date. If I accidently put just the month on and do shopping for meat a second time in a month I put #2 on the second batch of meat. Actually right now I have some crepes that I have no idea how old they are and I had to throw out some kinda broth because I had no idea how old it was or what kind so I didn't want to take a chance on it.

    I think soon I will have to get a basket system going. That way everything stays separate.
    Tish
    Sat Feb 12, 2005 10:48 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    Wow what an amazing couple your parents friends must be...now all I need is more freezer space. Thanks for the great ideas. I like the basket system...and I label and date everything. icon_biggrin.gif
    tasb
    Sun Feb 13, 2005 5:07 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    Yeah they are great people. Me for rotation I use my big freezer and my fridge top. But on shopping days I try to have my fridge top empty to freeze everything because it is easier to clean. Being short sometimes it feels like I almost have to crawl in there to get a small package from the back.hahaha
    Jewelies
    Sun Feb 13, 2005 5:30 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    Tish, can chicken mince (ground chicken) be cooked then frozen?? I'm thinking meatballs??

    How about ham and other meats on pizza??
    Tish
    Sun Feb 13, 2005 7:34 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    Yes, ground chicken can be cooked and frozen just like ground beef. I make Home Made Freezer Pizza and all the toppings work out great. Hope that helps. icon_biggrin.gif
    * Pamela *
    Sun May 08, 2005 8:52 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    I found this freezer guide for Freezing beans in "Preventions Freezer Cookbook"
    Type (1 cup dried) /Water(cup) /Cooking time(hours) /Yield
    Black beans ...............4 ....................1 1/2 .......................2 cups
    Chickpeas ..................4 .....................2-3 .........................2 cups
    Kidney beans.............3 ......................1 1/2.......................2 cups
    Lentils........................ 3 ........................1 ...........................2 cups
    Lima beans............... 2 .......................1 1/2 ......................1 1/2 cups
    Navy beans ...............3 ......................1 1/2 ....................... 2 cups
    Pinto beans................3 ...................... 2 1/2 .......................2 cups
    Split peas...................3 ..........................1 ...........................2 cups

    Each cup of beans that you cook and freeze saves you money over canned. beans are easy to cook in quantity, cool, and package into freezer containers. freeze them up to six months with no loss of flavour.
    tasb
    Mon May 30, 2005 8:05 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    I actually started doing my own beans. I got 10 cups out of a 2 lb bag of navy beans. Hubby asked why I didn't just buy cans I told him this was cheaper, and I would get more, plus do more with them. Last time I had white kidney beans but found the skins to hard for my liking.
    Tish
    Mon May 30, 2005 8:37 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    I still buy canned beans when I get a good deal to put in the cupboard just in case I need them. I like my dried beans better but sometimes I'm slow and don't get them done when I need them. We eat them more in the fall/winter months. Grilling takes priority in the Spring/Summer. It's nice to know I'm not the only one cooking my own beans! icon_biggrin.gif
    Sarah Chana
    Wed Jun 08, 2005 12:45 am
    Food.com Groupie
    When you freeze whipping cream/ heavy cream, how is it upon being thawed? Is the texture different? Does it separate? Do you have to do something different with it? What are good uses for it?
    Tish
    Wed Jun 08, 2005 1:08 am
    Food.com Groupie
    Sarah, that's a great question. I have only frozen whipping cream/heavy cream when I knew it would go bad before I got to it. You can freeze it but then you cannot whip it once it thaws. You can blend it, cook with it, but it won't whip(at least that has been my experience). It did seem to separate a bit when thawing but blended back in easily. Hope that helps. icon_biggrin.gif
    Sarah Chana
    Wed Jun 08, 2005 1:30 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    Thanks! That was exactly what I wanted to know.
    Across the Ocean
    Sun Jul 17, 2005 4:12 am
    Food.com Groupie
    I always freeze non dairy whip topping (like Rich's). It whips up great even if it was frozen for a long time. I always make ice creams and it's good to have a few whips in the freezer. Just put it out on the counter and let it defrost, whip as usual.
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