Blanching and Freezing Vegetables From Your Garden!
Blanching vegetables before freezing them will help to inactivate the enzymes that the vegetables contain which make the taste and quality of that vegetable deteriorate during storage. Blanching is a vital process when storing many types of vegetables but is very easy to accomplish. Here is how to do it.
1. The first thing to do is make sure everything is ready for this process. It is a relatively quick process and it helps if everything is laid out and ready to go. You will need a large stockpot or two with boiling water, a cold water bath in a sink or large container (cold water and ice mixed together), a couple of dishtowels to lay the wet vegetables on briefly to dry, and finally the freezer bags or containers you will freeze the vegetables in.
2. Get your vegetables prepared for the blanching. Depending on the vegetable this may mean, washing, peeling, coring, etc. Usually vegetables being blanched are cut into cubes or slices so that once the blanching is done they are ready for immediate freezing.
3. Place the cut vegetables into the boiling water. Let them boil for 3 minutes then remove the vegetables from the boiling water and place them in the ice water bath. This step will stop the internal cooking of the vegetables. Let the vegetables in the ice water for 3 minutes then remove them and place them on the towels you have laid out. For the boiling portion of this process I like to use a pasta pot with the removable strainer pot, this way I can remove the vegetables without dumping all the boiling water (useful when doing multiple blanchings). Also, for the ice water bath I simply put the drain in my sink and fill it with cold water and ice (make sure to clean the sink thoroughly before doing this).
4. Let the vegetables sit for a minute or two to get rid of some of the excess water onto the towels, then place them into your freezer bags/containers and freeze.
Final tips: The rule of thumb for blanching is that the produce needs to stay in the ice water bath for as long as it was in the boiling water, no longer no shorter. Three minutes has worked well for me on everything that I blanch and freeze.