23 September 2014, by gj
Most people that freeze corn do it off the cob. It takes up so much less space that way.
But eating corn on the cob is fun, the kind of fun that reminds you of being a kid.
So when we bought the 100+ ears from our local farmer last summer, we decided to do both, as well as can corn and corn relish.
Most people that freeze corn on the cob will tell you to blanch it first, but many of our gardening friends said they have been freezing it right in the husk. Since we had found this video on microwaving corn, we were sold. This is the way we will eat if fresh.
So what about freezing?
Let’s find out.
We did a few husked and blanched and left a few in the husk; and last weekend did a taste test.
If Mandolin could not discern a difference, I doubt most people could. I know I sure couldn’t!
Except one thing:
Both the prep and the cooking were easier in the husk.
In both cases we did not defrost first, but my FB friends agreed that was correct. Another time saver, too!
“No need for any more taste tests…” Mandolin said, “But I think I’ll do another one anyway.”
Categories: Freezing, How to Store
19 August 2012, by gj
We were talking yesterday about produce that requires little prep before freezing. Read pt. 1 here.
One of the advantages I’ve found is that this allows you to set the pace as far as canning goes, and not be forced to be in the kitchen when you would rather be in the garden.
ready for the big chill
For us, freezing fruit in the summer saves time; come fall that fruit becomes jam, freeing up some freezer space.
Likewise tomatoes, onions and peppers frozen now become salsa later, when the snow is falling and the garden is in slow mode.
Freezing can also save you money, as you can buy produce that ‘must be used now’ and just freeze it to use at your convenience.
buy cheap, toss into freezer
You can read the first 6 on the list here, then we can continune.
7. Onions: peel, slice or chop, and use as needed.
8. Rhubarb: chop, IQF for use in pies and jam. Mmmm- rhubarb pie…
9. Grapes: a great way to have grapes all year, just wash then IQF
10. Squash: Many people I know, including me until I found out more info, puree their squash before freezing. My fellow blogger Byddi set me straight. Freezing squash turns it into mush anyway, so just portion out what you’ll use in recipes and freeze.
rhubarb, squash and lavender
11. Melons (honeydew, cantaloupe and watermelon): freeze these peeled of course, in chunks or balls. Serve before they are completely thawed.
12. Currants (the fruit, not the raisin): IQF
13. Kiwi: peel, freeze. Strawberry-Kiwi Jam. Now we’re talking.
14. Figs: likewise.
And last but not least- because we ‘bundled’-
15. Most herbs and edible flowers: including chives, nasturtiums, basil, lavender, lemon grass and oregano- to name a few. For chives and lemon grass, roll them into a log, wrap in plastic and freeze. Then, just slice off what you need.
Similarly other herbs can just be frozen, then break off pieces.
Edible flowers are nice to freeze in water in ice cube trays, to use for cold drinks or punch.
Did I miss anything?
Categories: Freezing, How to Store
18 August 2012, by gj
Freezing fresh produce in general is not difficult- with some veggies you need to blanch (immerse in boiling water for a short period of time) in order to stop the aging process, and also to retain color.
Likewise there are some, fruits in particular, that either need to be dipped in a food preservation substance such as sugar or dry ascorbic acid, or frozen in a syrup.
And then there are the ones that practically take care of themselves- you got to love it.
whole or sliced
For any food you are going to freeze, be sure to wash them off first and let them dry. Remove any stems and separate out produce that is bruised or otherwise compromised.
For many we spread them out whole on a tray so they freeze individually. In the food biz this is referred to as IQF- Individually Quick Frozen, and although we don’t have a flash freezer, we still use the term. I’ve also heard it called ‘tray pack’.
After they are frozen, place in freezer jars or bags. Vacuuming sealing is wonderful.
This method makes it easy to grab just a little of what you want- say, for Blueberry Pancakes. Num.
freezing fresh pineapple and lemon zest
1. Berries: Leave whole, IQF
2. Pineapple: Peel, cut into chunks or rings, IQF
3. Coconut: Grate, freeze in specific sizes (such as 1/2 cup) for recipes.
4. Peppers: Sweet or hot, you can freeze them whole. The sweet will get sweeter, and the hot- yea, you guessed it.
5. Bananas: Over-ripe bananas are not only healthier for you, you can get them cheap at the market. Wash (wash everything), peel, and freeze to use in smoothies or for baking.
6. Tomatoes: This is probably one of my favorites because when the tomatoes are coming in at an alarming rate, is also when I have the least amount of time to can. Even better, when you freeze a whole tomato, the skins will just slide off as it thaws. Really.
9 more in part 2 find it here.
Can you guess what they are?
Categories: Freezing, How to Store
19 June 2012, by gj
Over the weekend I blanched some snow-peas for freezing.
As much as Mandolin tried to keep ahead of the harvest, the peas won.
ready for a quick dip
As usual, I looked in my Ball Canning and Preserving Book for the blanching time.
And then it hit me- I should post a list of the different veggies and how long each one needs to be blanched before freezing.
Yes! Great idea!
And it was a good idea
In March to be specific.
So I guess I get today off-
and we can all just copy, paste and print this list and be ready for the harvest.
Here’s the blanching list.
Which is good, because I still have more peas.
goodness in the palm of my hand
Categories: Freezing, How to Store
23 August 2011, by gj
too many tomatoes, not enough time
The last thing a veggie garden should be is stressful.
That being said, having a large garden designed to grow enough food to be preserved, can become just that.
Especially if you’re new to gardening.
Some veggies aren’t going to wait until you are ready- until the housework is done or the kids are taken care of, or until you get some vacation time or the grass is mowed…
When a whole bunch of tomatoes are ripe there’s nothing much you can do about it-
or is there?
I was picking a lot of ripe romas late Sunday evening, too late to start a batch of salsa, simmer it long enough and have it canned- since I had to be up early for work the next day.
That’s when I thought of the title for this post,
and decided to share some tricks you can use to deal with your harvest- on your own terms.
do part of the job now
Tomatoes- freeze ‘em.
I don’t peel mine anyway, so I just cut into chunks, toss them into a bag and freeze.
This way, I can make marinara or salsa when I’m good and ready.
I’ll also have cut tomatoes on hand to add to chili come fall.
You can do the same with cherry tomatoes- cut them in half and freeze for chili or soups.
Peppers- Hot and Sweet can easily be frozen, too. No blanching needed.
I chop mine and freeze them, again ready for salsa making when the time is right.
Say, like a nice wintery day in November.
Peppers-hot for making hot sauce- place them in a jar in the fridge and cover with vinegar.
This is great especially if you are only getting a few peppers at a time, you can wait to make the sauce when you are ready.
Cucumbers- Similarly, you can cut them up and place in a jar with a pickling brine in it. You can even just keep them this way or can them up when you have time. Likewise beans, though you’ll most likely want to add some other flavors before pickling.
Onions- it’s important to get them out of the ground when they are ready, but after that there’s no rush.
Leave them to dry on a screen for a few weeks, then store in the fridge.
If you’re chopping onions anyway, chop extra; bag and freeze.
Cabbage- get it out of the garden, too; overripe cabbage can split.
It stores well, so no bother after that.
Carrots- can stay in the ground until it freezes, no rush.
Potatoes-also ok in the ground, but they can become hard to find (like onions).
Just pick and take them inside, you’ll be surprised how long they last.
If you do have a lot, lucky you!
When baking or making mashed taters, double the recipe and freeze half; keep them frozen until you run out of fresh.
It’s a great way to finish out the winter.
Corn- gets bad if left on the stalk too long; if you’re boiling some to eat, blanche a few of the extra and freeze while you’re at it.
That’s right, frozen corn on the cob- how’s that for an off season treat!
Zucchini- every gardener’s mistake. You’re on your own here.
My best suggestion is to plant less and eat them small.
Even better, plant an heirloom- the flavor is outstanding.
salsa on hold
People will ask me where I find the time, with a family and a full time job plus all my maniac hobbies, to have such a huge garden and preserve food.
I just smile and say- ‘Oh, I have a few tricks.’
What have you got up your sleave?
Categories: Freezing, How to Store, Jonesen'
27 March 2011, by gj
the strainer I use for blanching
Many vegetables can be stored frozen.
In most cases, the veggies should be blanched first- to not only clean and kill any microorganisms that might be present, but to also enhance the color naturally and stop the ripening process.
Blanching is simply dipping in boiling water for a short period of time. It is easier if you have a strainer to put the veggies in, so you don’t have to chase after them in the pot.
After blanching, let the veggies dry. I like to freeze ours on a cookie sheet first, and then seal. This way they are not all stuck together and it is easier to take out only what you need.
Below I’ve listed blanching times (relative to the size of the veggies) and other information for particular veggies, as well as some fruit and herbs.
Frozen veggies can be kept for up to one year.
Asparagus: trim, blanch 1.5 – 3 minutes
Beans, Green: blanch 3 minutes
Beans, Lima: blanch 1 – 3 minutes
Beets: Cook with root and stem intact until tender; remove root, stem and skins; freeze whole or cut.
Berries: wash, let dry, freeze
Broccoli: Soak in salt water for 30 minutes to remove any bugs, rinse and blanch 3-4 minutes
Brussel Sprouts: blanch 3 – 5 minutes
Cabbage: Cut into wedges, blanch 3 minutes; shredded blanch 1.5 minutes
Carrots: Wash and peel, blanch sliced 3 minutes
Cauliflower: Soak in salt water for 30 minutes to remove any unwanted visitors, rinse and blanch florets 3-4 minutes
Corn: Blanch whole ears 6-10 minutes, for kernels, blanch whole ears 5-6 minutes and remove fro the cob when cool
Melons: Cut into chunks and freeze, serve partially frozen
Onions: Blanch whole peeled onions 3-7 minutes. We also freeze onions chopped without blanching.
Parsnips and Turnips: Blanch slices 3 minutes
Peas, Garden: Blanch 2 minutes
Peas, Snap and Snow: Blanch 2 minutes
Peppers: Freeze Hot Peppers whole without blanching. Sweet Peppers can be frozen whole, diced or cut into strips, just remove the stems and seeds first.
Potatoes, White or Irish: Blanched peeled potatoes 3-5 minutes. Potatoes can also be frozen Baked, Stuffed or as French Fries.
Spinach and other Greens: blanch 2 minutes
Tomatoes can be frozen as Sauce or Juice. I also freeze some quartered for chili.
Squash, Winter; inc. Pumpkin- cook first, then freeze. You can puree it first, but as my FB friend Byddi suggests, it turns to mush anyway so pureeing first isn’t necessary.
Many herbs can also be frozen.:
For Chives, stack springs about 10 inches long and roll in plastic wrap to form a log. Slice off the end as needed.
We also freeze Basil leaves. Other herbs can be dried and frozen.
Byddi’s wonderful Gardening Blog
This post was inspired by a question asked by Donna- here’s her garden blog.
Most of this information is what I’ve learned from reading Ball Blue Books. They have given me permission to reprint their recipes with this reprint info:
Recipes provided by BALL BLUE BOOK(r) OF PRESERVING. Copyright (c) 2009,
Jarden Home Brands, marketer of Ball(r) and Kerr(r) fresh preserving
Jarden Home Brands is a division of Jarden Corporation (NYSE: JAH).
Ball’s Food Preservation website
Categories: Freezing, How to Store
1 October 2010, by gj
An easy way to preserve your pumpkins is to puree the flesh and freeze it.
Remove the flesh from the peel and cut into chunks.
chunks of golden goodness
Place in a saucepot with one cup of water, cover. Turn on med-high heat until you see steam, then turn down enough to keep the steam coming without boiling.
When the pumpkin is soft, remove from heat and let cool.
Puree in a food processor. You can freeze it in canning jars or freezer containers.
Because I know I will be using mine for the recipe below, I measure 1/2 cupfuls onto a plastic wrap covered cookie sheet and freeze. I place these in a freezer container and label.
That way I can just grab what I need.
I mentioned on my other site that we used to make big batches of Pancake Dry Mix back in our restaurant days. I cut the recipe down a bit and keep some mix on hand at home now.
It’s really easy to make pancakes using your own pancake mix and they taste so much better.
Pancake Dry Mix
8 cups flour
4 Tablespoons sugar
5 Tablespoons baking powder
2 Tablespoons salt
Mix together and store in an airtight container.
1 cup Pancake Dry Mix
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 Tablespoons oil
1 cup milk
1 cup pumpkin puree
Mix together just until moist. Cook on a hot greased skillet.
Categories: Freezing, How to Store, Recipes
4 July 2010, by gj
I mentioned in an earlier blog that I haven’t had much success growing spinach in the past.
Not willing to accept defeat however, I decided to try planting some in the newly assembled (purchased for almost nothing) strawberry bed.
The strawberries weren’t really using it yet, and the two do well together.
Well it worked, it really worked. As much as I would like to take credit, I think the combination of the mushroom soil and beautiful weather was the real reason why the spinach thrived.
spinach gone wild
I have been harvesting the lower leaves and keeping the bolting at bay, until the most recent heat wave proved too much for the tender plants.
Time to bring them all in and prep them for winter storage.
spinach ready to bolt
spinach spinach everywhere
It also was time for the strawberry plants to start sending out their tendrils on which the next generation will grow-they needed the room.
its a girl! strawberry plants sending out runners to grow new plants
Here’s how to deal with your harvest:
wash, trim, drop in boiling water for 2 minutes, drain well, cool
this packed large colander will = this much blanched
the haul - some fresh held back for eating
freezer ready portions
So the strawberries are happy, the spinach is in the freezer.
So who’s got separation anxiety?
Well, that would be me.
You see, I won’t be able to plant the next crop of spinach in the same bed later this summer, and I know it isn’t going to want to be far from those strawberries.
I’m just not sure I can grow it well again, twice in a row?
-Now wait – hold the phone – another challenge?
Hmm, corn to the north, garlic to the west, tomatoes and peppers to the east-
aha! the south has it…that broccoli won’t be there much longer, and the swiss chard may prove beneficial. Whew!
Okay, okay…not to worry… the spinach and I…yeah, we’ll be just fine we’ll be just fine indeed.
Categories: Freezing, Gardening