Wellness Wednesdays: Freezing Your Garden, CSA, or Farmers Market Veggies

So sad to see our gardening season come to an end here in Minnesota. To preserve our vegetables from our garden, csa, or farmers market purchases they need to be blanched before freezing.

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Why Blanch?

Blanching fresh vegetables before storing them in the freezer preserves their color, flavor and texture. Blanching slows the enzyme action that can cause frozen vegetables to deteriorate and lose nutrients and taste. Vegetables frozen without blanching are still safe to use, but there is a significant loss of quality, particularly if they’re stored longer than a few months.

Another benefit of blanching is that it slightly shrinks the vegetables, so they take up less room in your freezer.

How To Blanch

After blanching vegetables in boiling water immerse immediately into ice cold water then drain. I often reuse the same water again and again. A large pasta type pot works great for blanching. You can submerse the vegetables into the pot already in the strainer.

Allow approximately a gallon of water for a pound of vegetables. Vegetables will need to cool for the same time as they are blanched.

Preparing Your Vegetables for Blanching

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Peel, trim and cut vegetables into uniform sizes. Look at the chart below to find the time needed. Extra large pieces may need to blanch a minute longer than the table calls for.

Blanching Timetable Chart for Vegetables

Asparagus: Blanch 2 minutes – 4 minutes for large asparagus

Green Beans: Blanch for 3 minutes.

Lima, Butter or Pinto Beans: – Blanch small beans 2 minutes, medium beans 3 minutes, and large beans 4 minutes.

Beets: small beets 35- 30 minute, medium ones 45 – 50 minutes. If you leave the stem on top they won’t bleed into the water as bad.

Broccoli: Blanch 3 minutes.

Brussels Sprouts: Blanch small, 3 minutes; medium, 4 minutes; large, 5 minutes

Carrots: Blanch tiny, whole, 5 minutes; diced or strips, 2 minutes

Cauliflower: Blanch 3 minutes.

Corn: Whole small ears for freezing – 7 minutes, medium ears 9 minutes and large size ears 11 minutes. If you are going to take the corn of the cob for freezing blanch for 4 minutes and remove from cob.

Okra: Blanch small pods 3 minutes and large pods 4 minutes.

Peas: Shelled. Blanch for 1-2 minutes, chill, freeze.

Snap Peas: Blanch 1 1/2minutes

Spinach and Other Greens: Blanch 2 minutes

Summer Squash: Blanch for 3 minutes.

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