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Tips for Freezing Fruits and Vegetables

June 30th, 2010

I like to freeze fruits and some vegetables to preserve them for winter eating. I especially like freezing all varieties of berries and peas, most other fruits and vegetables are better if canned.

Since freezer space is at a premium, I have to make sure I store things in the most efficient way possible. Generally I don’t like using plastic around my food, but when it comes to freezing large quantities of things, zippered bags are so convenient. Some things still get stored in glass mason jars, but the berries and peas are in zippered bags (although I’m considering half gallon jars for the future).

Of course you could measure out specific amounts and freeze in small bags, but I prefer freezing things on a cookie sheet so they’re frozen individually. This allows me to put them in larger bags and simply measure out what I need from the large bag. (remember to blanch peas & veggies before freezing).

Do you have any tips for freezing fruits and vegetables?

19 Comments to “Tips for Freezing Fruits and Vegetables”
  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by mark mile, Susy Morris. Susy Morris said: Tips for #Freezing Fruits and Vegetables http://goo.gl/fb/sXRu7 #harvestkeeperschallenge #freezingpeas [...]

    Reply to Tweets that mention Tips for Freezing Fruits and Vegetables at Chiot’s Run — Topsy.com's comment

  2. Teresia on June 30, 2010 at 6:41 am

    The way you desribed is how I freeze my produce too, except, I find if I put a piece of waxed or parchment paper on the cookie sheet first, all you have to do is pick up the sides of the paper and make a sort of funnel out of it and pour it into the bag or jar.
    I also let the produce dry for a bit on a towel, or paper towel, after blanching, so I dont get as many ice crystals while freezing.

    Reply to Teresia's comment

    • Susy on June 30, 2010 at 7:43 am

      Great idea with the parchment. I also dry on towels for a while before freezing to make sure everything is dry.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  3. Mangochild on June 30, 2010 at 7:47 am

    I do a lot of my preserving through freezing, especially the veg. Using vaccuum seal bags makes such a different, and it also compresses the package so it takes up less space in the freezer. I know many people insist that blanching first is necessary, it seems to work equally well for me in most cases without that step. I guess I’m non-traditional in another way: I don’t spread the produce to freeze on a tray first before transferring to a vaccuum freezer bag – the produce just goes right in (cut if necessary) and is sealed.

    Normally, I’ve been freezing all kinds of veg (eggplant, beans, cauliflower, broccoli, corn, squash, snow-peas, shelling peas, etc) – and have even experimented with freezing a few root veg like sweet potatoes (cut in rounds). No problems so far! Fruits: I’ve done blueberries, strawberries, peaches, and this year cherries as well. But because the peaches seem to be equally good canned, I’m planning to can the majority of my peaches to make room in the full-size freezer for other items.

    What does help is, as Teresia said, making sure that the produce is really dry before freezing to minimize ice crystals. Also having a good organizational system, so that it’s easy to get what one needs without emptying the huge thing!
    Mangochild´s last post ..CSA Share Report- Week 3

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  4. victoria on June 30, 2010 at 7:57 am

    I’ve been rehydrating & cooking then freezing dried beans lately. So far the black beans turned out great…working on pintos & garbonzos next…takes a little bpa out of our life as well as all the goo that goes along with canned beans…i use the same freezing method (via sheet pan) and then bag ‘em. Takes a smidge of effort now, but if i’m swamped i can always employ the slowcooker.

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  5. kitsapFG on June 30, 2010 at 8:46 am

    I freeze my peas the exact same way. I usually only need a 1/2 cup or so of peas and being able to just scoop out as little or as much as I want and then just reseal the bag is much more convenient.

    Reply to kitsapFG's comment

  6. Turling on June 30, 2010 at 9:54 am

    Ah, I like the cookie sheet idea. Does this keep them from turning into a single giant pea ball inside the bag, where I need a hammer to get them apart?
    Turling´s last post ..Sunday Planting

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    • Susy on June 30, 2010 at 10:05 am

      Yes, that’s exactly what it does. Each pea is frozen individually so you can measure them out of the bag with a measuring cup to get exactly what you need. Although if your freezer thaws or something they’ll refreeze into a giant block, so don’t defrost the freezer until you’ve used them up.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  7. Jaspenelle on June 30, 2010 at 10:27 am

    I think you already said my suggestion for freezing vegetables with the cookie sheet. I usually have a variety of sizes I chop things like carrots into, slices (for stews & soups) and matchsticks (for oriental food.)
    Jaspenelle´s last post ..Raising Young Children

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  8. Amy on June 30, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    I freeze many of my paste tomatoes whole with skins on…….then when I make soups or stews…….I just toss them in the pot……and get a fresh tomato taste…..I have done this for years and had nice success…..

    Reply to Amy's comment

  9. Sense of Home on June 30, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    It would seem we are thinking alike today. Yes, I agree, freeze on a baking sheet first, then put in whatever container you are using. Also, fruits and vegetables keep better in a deep freezer rather than the freezer compartment of a refrigerator.

    -Brenda
    Sense of Home´s last post ..Berry Season

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  10. Kendra @ A Sonoma Garden on June 30, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    Wow! Look at all those peas! No matter how many we plant they always end us as just a garden snack or sprinkled on salads. Maybe we should plant more for next year!
    Kendra @ A Sonoma Garden´s last post ..Wash Wednesday

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  11. Lee on June 30, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    I also flash-freeze. Last summer I bought big boxes of smushed tomatoes at the farmer’s market very cheap. I roasted, peeled, then froze those for use in the winter. I dont’ grow enough to freeze my own but they’re a bargain.
    If Iknow I’m going to use something like berries for smoothies, I’ll mix all my leftover berries together then freeze in ice cube trays.

    Reply to Lee's comment

  12. mamaraby on June 30, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    Oh, most definitely the zip top bag…and instead of freezing whole strawberries for smoothies, pureeing them and freezing them in ice cube trays. Perfect.
    mamaraby´s last post ..How not to Donate Your Hair

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  13. heather jane on June 30, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    I just posted about freezing strawberries yesterday.
    http://www.livingsenseshome.com/2010/06/how-to-freeze-strawberries.html
    I finally got a deep freezer in my basement last year and I cannot believe how long we went without one. I love it!

    Corn, broccoli, and strawberries are my favorite things to freeze. That and freezer jam. This year I am hoping to have enough sweet pod peas to freeze for stir fry.

    Reply to heather jane's comment

  14. Blake @ Salt, Teak & Fog on June 30, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    I’ve been doing the same with our peas. Sadly, our pea crops are done and the last harvest just went into the freezer. They are so precious.

    I recently froze the last of my cavolo nero. I took a chance and froze it raw, since it does withstand a freeze outside just fine. Have you ever frozen this type of kale without blanching? Many sources on the interweb said it works just fine. Thanks!
    Blake @ Salt, Teak & Fog´s last post ..garden update- June

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    • Marcia on August 26, 2010 at 1:26 am

      I’ve frozen Kale raw before and it works great. Simply open the bag, break off what you need and pop the rest back into the freezer. It tastes great.

      Reply to Marcia's comment

  15. Amy on July 1, 2010 at 11:59 am

    I have one “don’t do this” tip:

    Don’t vacuum seal and freeze your zucchini and/or summer squash in slices. Last year we had two hills of each and followed the instructions in the freezer section of the “Ball Blue Book of Home Preserving.” While the slices looked lovely months later, the texture was mushy and gross. We’ll never do that again!
    Amy´s last post ..A berry good time

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  16. Aubrey on July 3, 2010 at 11:40 pm

    I really lucked out this year with the peas!! My husband works with a lot of farmers, one had grown his in his regular fields and had over seeded on the sides by the road. These plants never got any of the chemicals his did and so he did not harvest them and told us we could take what we want…. WHAT?!?! Free organic peas? and TONS of them!! We have been shelling and freezing as fast as we can go for three days, I think we have about 9 gallon bags now. Yeah for the farmer who throws out his best stuff! ;-) I also use the sheet method, but I have not been taking the time to let them dry.. why? the 100+ lbs of cherries we picked today are calling me in the morning and I just don’t have the heart to dry when I have all that pitting to do! I love this time of year… but my back and fingers… wellllll. :-)
    Aubrey´s last post ..how to have quality time

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