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Freezing your Harvest

By Intern Brian Nichols and Kathleen Banfield

Are you suddenly finding that you have more collards than you know what to do with? Do you want to save some kale or tomatoes for a cold winter day? Try freezing your vegetables! These vegetables will taste just as fresh as the day you picked them, and it can be quite satisfying to reminisce about your garden during our long, cold winters. Freezing some types of vegetables is actually a very simple process. Just follow the instructions below to stock up on those plants that produce more than you know what to do with!

  1. Select vegetables that are fresh and firm. Avoid using vegetables that are wilted or that have soft spots.
  2. Wash the vegetables in cold water and prepare them as indicated on the chart below (shredded, chopped, etc)
  3. Fill a pot and a large bowl with water. Put ice in the bowl, and heat the pot to a boil.
  4. Blanch the vegetables. Blanching is a very simple process. It means vegetables get dumped into boiling water for a short amount of time (see chart below for specific times). Once the time is up, immediately strain vegetables out of boiling water and put them into the ice water. A good rule of thumb is to keep the vegetables in each pot for the same amount of time. Be sure to drain the vegetables thoroughly.
  5. After cooling, dry vegetables with a towel and put them into sealable freezer bags. You can use a straw to suck all of the air out of the bag. This is important to prevent vegetables from getting freezer burn.
  6. Put bags in a freezer. Generally, your vegetables will last at least 9 months in a sealable freezer bag in an ordinary freezer, and will eventually begin to lose flavor and freshness.

Use this chart as a quick reference for freezing vegetables from your garden. It provides information about prepping vegetables, blanching time, and other quick tips to try.


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