Here is the ultimate guide to freezing and storing vegetables for the long term, along with a few tips and tricks to help you out.
These methods have worked like a charm for me and several other home cooks.
Let’s get started.
Why Freeze Vegetables and Its Benefits
If you are wondering whether you should freeze vegetables in the first place, here is a list of benefits and perks to keep in mind.
Freezing Keeps Food Safe
Whether it is leftovers or groceries that you haven’t used up yet, you can only keep them on the kitchen counter or in the fridge for so long.
Freezing them makes sure that the bacterial growth is stunted and keeps it fresh for longer.
Freezing Keeps the Nutritional Value Intact
Although vegetables are great fresh out of the field or garden, they can lose their nutritional value in transit, in storage, and on the rack. So, freezing the vegetables doesn’t make them lose their nutritional value.
In fact, some vegetables show to have higher vitamin C and nutritional benefits after freezing.
It’s Economical to Freeze the Veggies
Buying in bulk is often cheaper, especially if it is seasonal vegetables. In case, you are not able to make the most out of all the veggies, you can freeze them for later and save a few bucks. It also saves a lot of food waste.
Keeping Seasonal Vegetables All Year Round
You can have the best of seasonal vegetables all year long if you portion and freeze them right after the harvest or purchase.
Meal Prep Is Out of the Way
If you are someone with a busy schedule, making food in bulk and freezing them is a great way to make your life easier. Taking out a few hours in a week can make cooking a much easier and hassle-free activity.
Freezing Requires Little to No Added Preservatives
Freezing vegetables keeps them fresh for longer without having to add a lot of preservatives or pickle a whole bunch. You can have vegetables as good as fresh ones all year round.
Pre-Freezing Preparation for Vegetables
Freezing vegetables is quite simple and with these few preparatory steps, you can also save yourself a lot of trouble and time later on.
Cut Based on How You Plan to Use Them
Rather than popping the vegetable as a whole in the fridge, it would be best to cut them into smaller portions.
Whether it is slices, cubes, shreds, or rough cuts, prep the veggies based on how you would use them in your recipes. This avoids having to work with soggy vegetables and reduces prep time.
Treat the Veggies to Stop it From Turning Brown
If you are freezing vegetables that can turn brown when they are cut, you can give them a wash in a solution of water and lemon juice, or any ascorbic acid. This will keep them from browning and keep them fresh for longer.
Methods of Freezing Vegetables
Now that we have covered the benefits and prep steps, let’s dive right into the process of freezing vegetables.
Method 1 – Freezing Vegetables after Blanching Them
This is the most recommended method of freezing vegetables, even green leafy ones. It is the best way to keep the color and nutrition intact.
- After you wash, cut, and prep the vegetables, add them into a pot of boiling water and cook them. Each veggie has a specific cook time, so keep that in mind.
- Then transfer the blanched veggies into an ice bath to stop any further cooking.
- Drain the vegetables and lay them down on a kitchen towel and dry them out thoroughly.
- Portion and transfer the vegetables into a Ziploc bag or a freezer-safe air-tight container and seal them in.
- Label the bag or container and you are all set to freeze the vegetables.
Check out this tutorial for more info –
Method 2 – Freezing Vegetables after Flash Freezing Them
You can follow this method with or without blanching the vegetables. This method ensures that you won’t end up with a big lump of frozen vegetables.
- Wash, cut, and prep the vegetables. You can blanch the vegetables if you prefer to.
- Dry the vegetables and lay them out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Make sure that the vegetables are evenly spaced and don’t clump together.
- Leave the tray in the freezer for a couple of hours or overnight and let the veggies freeze solid.
- Transfer the frozen vegetables into a Ziploc bag or freezer-safe air-tight container and seal them in. Make sure to squeeze out all the excess air before sealing, if you are using a Ziploc bag.
- Label the bag or container and freeze them long-term.
Here is a video of freezing butternut squash by “Jerry James Stone” on YouTube, which you can use as a guide –
Method 3 – Freezing in Ice Cube Trays or Molds
If you are freezing green leafy vegetables or pureed vegetables, freezing the veggies in ice cube trays, muffin trays, or silicone molds is a great way to portion and freeze them.
- Wash and prep the vegetables. You can blanch, steam, or puree the vegetables as you prefer.
- Fill the tray or mold that you plan to use. In the case of leafy vegetables, you could also mold them into pucks
using measuring cups and flash freeze them on a baking sheet.
- Leave the tray of vegetables in the freezer and flash freeze for a couple of hours or overnight.
- Pack the frozen cubes or pucks of veggies into a Ziploc bag and seal them in after making sure to squeeze out all the excess air.
- Add a label on the bag with the best before date and you can pop them in the freezer till you need them next.
This tutorial by “Plant Based Gabriel” on YouTube can help you figure this out better –
How to Store Frozen Vegetables?
You can store frozen vegetables in any freezer-safe air-tight container or Ziploc bag. The key is to make sure that they are well protected from being exposed to air or freezer burns.
Precautions before Packing
Before packing the frozen vegetables, it is always best to portion them into measures that you can easily manage to consume in one go. This way, you can pull out the right amount and get to cooking right away.
Another thing you have to consider is freezer space. If you are pressed for freezer space, opting for bulky containers wouldn’t work. In this case, opt for Ziploc bags which allow you to freeze big batches of veggies
without taking up too much space.
Best Materials to Use
Any freezer-safe material will work just fine to freeze vegetables. It could be plastic containers, glass jars, or Ziploc bags. As long as it keeps air out and is thick enough to prevent freezer burns, you are good to go.
Best Places to Store
It is best to store the frozen vegetables in the inner corner of the freezer, especially if you don’t plan to use the whole batch immediately.
This ensures that the temperature is constant and the frozen veggies are not affected by the constant opening and closing of the freezer.
I hope this article has helped you freeze, store, and make the most out of your vegetables.
If you have any doubts or want to share some freezing hacks of your own, it would be great to hear from you.
Feel free to share this article with your family and friends to help with their meal prep.
How to Freeze Various Vegetables at Home