Frozen vegetables require image makeover, like roasts and Justin Bieber. They’ve gotten a bad rap, but in fact, freezing your vegetables is an inexpensive way to access your favorite products throughout the year, and they retain nutrients much better than their fresh counterparts in some cases. The method is still very simple, but it requires more than freezing fruit. Continue reading for the tips to freeze vegetables to increase shelf life.
Why It Is Important To Freeze Vegetables?
Nothing can beat eating fresh vegetables, and yes it will improve their texture by putting vegetables in the freezer. However, it’s the best way to preserve every bit of your vegetable’s nutritional value without the more complicated canning process being performed. You have a surplus of things seasonal to do: spring peas, maize and courgettes in the summer, winter carottes, and so on.
Since almost all vegetables are flash-boiled until they are frozen, it will take less time to cook when you are actually using them. Keep broccoli frozen by hand, toss in fries, add carrots to thick stews, whisk a handful of peas to the risotto. And if you only want to keep it simple, steam every bunch of vegetables gently over the water to add a nutritious meal to them.
Tips To Freeze Vegetables To Increase Shelf Life
The need for the hour is to shop wisely for your groceries but it is equally important to make an effort to ensure that the items are well stored to maximize their shelf-life. Food preservation was not only an opportunity to thrive but was also an ancient art. It allows you to make fewer trips to the grocery store, which also contributes to less food wastage. A freezer is the greatest benefit when it comes to perishables, like vegetables. However, there are a couple of important steps you need to learn about prepping the perishables that will really improve the overall process and ensure longer shelf life.
1. Choose vegetables with a lower moisture content
It means that when thawed, vegetables that contain high water content such as cucumbers, mushrooms, and lettuce, etc would be mushy and limp. These won’t be ideal to use in salads, either. Broccoli, cauliflower, corn, peas, carrots, green beans, squash, spinach, kale, chard, and collars are the vegetables that perform best. Colored peppers, onions, capsicum, celery, and herbs also fit well. Also, the sooner you start the cycle after you buy your veggies, the better it will be.
2. Storage and packaging
Clean your freezer and make sure your containers are ready. Create space for the containers your vegetables will be stored in. Choose the airtight and moisture-proof containers. Evite plastic use. Instead, using durable, good-quality zip-lock pockets. When you have a larger freezer then sheet pans are the best way of storing your vegetables. Now ensure your vegetables are washed thoroughly and ready for the next move. If required, you can cut or slice them too.
Before you put your veggies in a plastic bag and throw them in the freezer, it’s important to first understand the blanching and shocking process. You cook partly by blanching and shocking your vegetables and then cool them directly afterward.
Blanching helps keep your vegetables colorful and crunchy. Just follow these quick steps.
- Prepare your vegetables and cut them into the perfect bite-size and place them aside. Take a large pot, fill it with water, then bring it to a boil. You will also need a large bowl full of water and ice, and a large slotted spoon for your veggies to pass.
- Place in the water your prepared vegetables and boil for about a minute or two. Some vegetables take a little longer to boil. You want to make your vegetable tender but you still have some crunch. By cooling and trying one part of the ice-cold water, you can check its doneness.
- Shock your vegetables by removing them from the boiling water quickly and carefully and placing them in the ice-cold water bowl to avoid the cooking process. Keep vegetables in cold water until completely refreshed. Dry the blanched vegetables with paper towels.
4. Pack and seal the vegetables
Pack your vegetables so moisture remains in your plastic bag and air remains out for better results. When air comes into contact with what you’re packing, it triggers the flavor and color to change with time.
Use a vacuum sealer to ensure you get an airtight package of goodness. Prior to sealing, a Food Saver or Ziploc Vacuum Sealer extracts air from a plastic bag. This process allows your vegetables to stay fresh much longer.
5. Mark the container
Frozen vegetables’ shelf-life is approximately 8 to 10 months. Therefore, noting down the date on the container or packet is relevant so you are aware of the expiry. You can use these veggies in just about any dish you want. This is the best way to shield them. Everything you will have to do is defrost the packet or thaw it before using it.
These are some smart tips to freeze vegetables to increase shelf life.
When picked from your garden or bought from a farmer’s market, the vegetable still tastes best. Occasionally our gardens yield too many veggies, but instead of seeing this as a problem, take advantage of freezing your vegetables and consuming them later.
Also Read: Facts About Different Fruits For Your Kid