Garden fresh vegetables that will be added to casseroles or made into sauces later can be frozen for future convenience. Blanching is a necessary step for most produce and is also thought to preserve the taste and quality of vegetables during freezing. Although most fresh produce requires blanching before freezing there are several vegetables that can be successfully frozen without blanching first, especially those that will not be frozen for extensive periods.
A list of vegetables and tips for a quick and easy freezing process without blanching follow:
Bell Peppers and Chili Peppers-Rinse and cut into halves. Remove seeds. Whole bellpeppers with the caps removed and cored can be frozen for future stuffing recipes. Bags of diced peppers can be frozen for future use in chili, casseroles, quiches and omelets.
Leeks —Rinse leeks. Remove tops, base and outer leaves. Slice and freeze in storage bags.
Onions —Peel onions first. Onions can be frozen in freezer bags, whole, sliced or diced for future convenience.
Tomatoes —Whole tomatoes of any size can be frozen without peeling or slicing. Lay tomatoes on a baking sheet and place into the freezer until frozen solid. Transfer frozen tomatoes to freezer bags until ready to use in cooking.
Shredded zucchini does not require blanching. Pick zucchini before it grows too large, rinse and grate with the skins on. Measure the amount and note on the freezer bag label. Grated zucchini can be used to make zucchini bread and squash puppies.
More tips, recipes and instructions for preserving the harvest can be found in Deborah’s trio set of ‘Pearls of Wisdom’ books. Visit the FATV shop for the best bargain around!
Deborah Tukua is a natural living, healthy lifestyle writer and author of 7 non-fiction books, including Pearls of Garden Wisdom: Time-Saving Tips and Techniques from a Country Home, Pearls of Country Wisdom: Hints from a Small Town on Keeping Garden and Home, and Naturally Sweet Blender Treats. Tukua has been a writer for the Farmers' Almanac since 2004.