Whether you have a green thumb and raise your own fruits and vegetables or want to take advantage of the great buys in the grocery store or farmer’s markets, freezing is a great way to preserve your seasonal picks so you can enjoy the delicious flavor and good nutrition year-round. The extreme cold stops growth of microorganisms and slows down changes that cause spoilage and affect quality and nutritional value of fruits and vegetables.
Here are some general tips for freezing fruits and vegetables.
- Select the right kind of container
a.plastic freezer bags and containers
c.glass canning/freezing jars
d.never use containers that you buy yogurt, sour cream or margarine in
- Blanch (boiling water for several minutes) vegetables first.
- Vegetables should be packed tightly to cut down on the amount of air in the
container. If the vegetables are packed in freezer bags, press air out of the
unfilled part of the bag.
- Wash and sort fruit according to size. Work with a small amount at a time.
Pare and remove pits, seeds, and blemishes. Leave whole, slice, or puree.
- Anti-darkening agents such as ascorbic acid (vitamin C) can prevent fruits from turning brown.
- Fruit can be frozen without sugar, but the color and texture of most fruits is retained best when some sweetening is used. You can use ½ cup of sugar per quart of fruit or make a syrup with 2 to 3 cups of sugar for every 4 cups of water.
- Most frozen fruits and vegetables maintain high quality for 8 to 12 months. Vegetables can be frozen up to 18 months at 0° F or lower. Longer storage of fruits and vegetables than those recommended above will not make the food unfit for use, but will decrease its quality.
For specific vegetable blanching times, tray pack freezing instructions, or questions about a particular vegetable or fruit visit: http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/