Summer is almost over- say it isn’t so; but winter is coming and I have upped my produce freezing efforts. The way to enjoy flavorful summer produce is to freeze it now and enjoy it later. Understand how to freeze vegetables and fruits correctly and the method to freezing madness will make you life easier down the line; the secret is IQF or Individually Quick Frozen.
Before I knew how to freeze vegetables and fruits with IQF, I would toss fresh fruits into a freezer bag and put them into the freezer; then I would go to use what I had frozen to find a huge mass of frozen whatever- frustrating, as you can imagine. Enter IQF, which is a really simply process that requires nothing more than a freezer, parchment paper and the fruit or vegetable that is to be frozen.
To IQF your summer produce, line a baking tray with parchment paper, and add your produce in one layer; leaving a little room in between so that nothing sticks together. It’s important to remember that you should prep your fruit or vegetable prior to freezing; meaning, if you’re planning to make a marmalade or pie that demands nicely cut fruit, cut it nicely before you IQF, as you are most likely going to be cooking from frozen.
Not all fruits and vegetable can be cut and frozen; some require a few preparation steps. Here is the breakdown of what you need to do before freezing your favorite summer fruits and vegetables.
How To Freeze Vegetables and Fruits
- Blueberries, Raspberries, Blackberries~ wash
- Strawberries~ wash and remove stem
- Cherries~ wash and remove pit
- Peaches, Plum, Nectarines~ Wash, slice and remove pit
- Grapes~ Wash, remove from stem
- Asparagus, carrots, Summer Squash, Beans, and Peas~ remove stems and woody bits, and then blanch.
- Sweet Corn~ Remove silks, wash, blanch then wrap. Due to their size, there is no need for the parchment paper/baking tray step.
- Cucumber~ wash, shred and squeeze out excess water
- Tomatoes~ wash and cut
- Kale, Spinach, Chard and any leaf~ remove stems, wash, cut into pieces, then blanch
- Herbs~ blanch, blend in food processor, freeze in ice cube molds
So now that you are up to speed on how to freeze vegetables and fruits, it’s time to get ready for winter; and, although, it’s sad to think that summer is drawing to a close, with a little planning now, you can enjoy the flavors of the hot season for months to come!