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Sunday, 6 July 2014

How to freeze your fresh fruit and veg




Did anyone see that £5 free fruit and veg morrisons offer? Of course I joined in! As I'm collecting newspapers anyways, i already had 4 coupons. In Thursdays sun newspaper was a voucher for £5 free fruit and veg, redeemable only in the large Morrison stores. There was no minimum spend and although it was one per transaction, many were taking full advantage of it and picking up several papers to use over a 3 day period. We are big veg eaters. I stick to my basic buys each week, mushrooms, courgettes, aubergine, carrots, onions and potatoes but I wouldn't say no to some marrow or butternut squash... It's free after all. Although we do like our veg, I had just done a shop so had a fridge full of my veg staples. The budgeter in me was screaming that I should be getting the freebies, so off me and the hubby went to do a top up shop and redeem our vouchers. The result was lots of veg I knew I couldn't use within the week. I freeze anything that's freezable, especially vegetables as I usually buy these at a reduced price normally, but as i picked up items such as marrow which i have never frozen before, i spent the night googling for answers.

As this offer was quite popular here's some tips I found while browsing on how to freeze your veg. I will write a post in the next couple of days about freezing fruit.

Vegetables 

  1. Wash your veg as normal and blanch them 
  2. Place in ice cold water right away to stop the cooking process and drain to remove water.
  3. Put into freezer bags and remove excess air
  4. Place on trays in the freezer (or lay flat) until they have become firm then either leave in bags or place into containers to finish freezing. 
Most frozen vegetables can be kept frozen for 9-12 months. 

*Remember as these have been blanched they will cook faster than normal. You can cook straight from frozen if wanted* 

Vegetable

Preparation
Blanching Time
Cooking Method and Times for
Blanched, Frozen Vegetables
Asparagus
Wash and remove rough ends and sandy scales. Leave whole or cut into equal length
Thin stalks – 2 min
Medium stalks – 3 min
Large stalks – 4 min
Boil – 3-5 min
Beetroot
Remove tops leaving a 1 inch stem, Cook until tender, Chill, peel and slice.
None required

Thaw to separate
Reheat in microwave – 9-10 min or bake in the oven for about 1 ½ hours.
Broccoli
Remove woody stems and cut into smaller chunks
Medium stalks – 3 min
Large stalks – 4 min
Boil 3-5 min
Brussels Sprouts
Trim stem and outer leaves
Small – 3 min
Medium – 4 min
Large 5 min
Boil 4-6 min
Cabbage
Trim outer leaves and core. Cut into chunks or shred.
Chunks  – 5 min
Shredded – 1 min
Chunks – thaw and boil for 9-10 min
Shredded – thaw and boil 4-5 min
Carrots
Remove tops and peel. Cut into slices, batons, cubes.
Whole – 5 min
Cubes, batons, slices – 3 min
Boil for 6-8 min or bake in the oven for about an hour
Cauliflower
Cut into pieces
3 min
Boil 3- 5 mins


Celery
Trim or cut into slices, batons, chunks
3 min
Best added frozen to sauces, it does not thaw well
Corn on the cob
If whole – remove husks and silk
7-11 min
Thaw before boiling
Garlic
Peel outer skin
Do NOT blanch.  Pre freeze on a tray before fully freezing.
Fully thaw before use, chop up, and slice etc as normal after thawing. Will keep in the freezer for up to 2 months
Herbs
Chop up as normal
Do NOT blanch.  Pre freeze on a tray before fully freezing.
Add frozen to sauces, soups,
casseroles, stews
or to a stir-fry during cooking
Mushrooms
Slice. Sauté 500 ml
(2 cups) mushrooms
in 30 ml (2 tbsp) butter or
margarine for 4 min.
None required
Reheat - 15 min.
Onions
Remove outer skin,
Root and stem ends. Chop
Do NOT blanch.
Freeze on tray before
packing
Add frozen to sauces, soups,
casseroles, stews
or to a stir-fry during cooking
Parsnips
Remove stem and root
ends. Peel. Cut in slices or fingers.
1 min
Boil or bake
Peas
If in pods – shell
If in edible pods - Pinch off tips, remove
strings.
2 minutes.
Keeps for 5 months
frozen
Boil - 3 to 5 min

Peppers
Remove stem, seed,
leave whole, cut in half or chop
None required
Add frozen to sauces, soups,
casseroles, stews or to a stir-fry during cooking. OR Thaw -1 hour, stuff and bake.
Potatoes (mashed)
Place prepared mashed
potatoes in mounds on
baking sheet. Freeze 1
hour then pack in
containers
None required
Thaw - 30 min.
 Reheat - 15 to 20 min.
Squash – marrow/courgette
Trim. Cut into slices/chunks
2 min
Thaw 5 minutes to separate. Boil
- 6 to 8 min
Squash - butternut
Cut in half. Remove seeds and fibres. Cut into pieces. Bake until tender. Cool and remove from rind. Mash
OR Peel and dice. OR
Peel and dice. Cook and
mash
Diced - 2 minutes
Diced: boil - 7 to 8 min.
OR Bake for around 45 min. Mashed: Reheat -30 min
Tomatoes
Blanch for 30 seconds.
Cool. Remove skin.
Cut in half crosswise.
Remove seeds. OR
Cut into quarters. Add
5 ml (1 tsp) sugar and
a pinch of pepper to
1 kg (2 lbs) tomatoes.
Cook gently until tender, about 5 to 6 minutes.
None required
Add frozen to sauces, soups,
casseroles, stews
or to a stir-fry during cooking
Potatoes - 

Potatoes can be frozen. Mashed is the easiest and the best for freezing. I have however frozen homemade wedges, homemade chips, homemade diced potato and homemade potato slices reliably. I par boil then cool in ice cold water. Allow to drain, put in bags, lay flat in the freezer to firm and then allow to freeze. Its handy having potatoes already pre cut as it removes the temptation to hit the chippy when i am too lazy to prepare chips. 

Sweet potatoes can be prepared the same way. I peel both types after boiling. 

Aubergine - 

Apparently this can be frozen too although i haven't tried it. The process seems complicated compared to other vegetables as it loses colour quick and retains quite abit of moisture. I would suggest googling it to see if it is worth the effort. Personally i only buy 1 a week and it lasts in the fridge so freezing it seems pointless unless you have quite a few. 

I must add, all frozen veg once thawed will not have the same texture as fresh. If you are adding it to a soup, or something similar, it will not be an issue and will make no difference to your food. It will taste virtually the same but will be less firmer and some may go abit mushy. 

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