Holy bountiful beets! Last week I was astounded by the awesome price of some of the fall veg out there. I was almost slack jawed as I got 10lb bags of potatoes, carrots and beets for $1.88 each. Are you freaking kidding me?? That’s incredible! Top it off with tomatoes, peppers of all colours and squash being only $0.99 a pound and that can only mean one thing… it is time to stock up on fresh local veggies. But what is one to do with many, MANY pounds of fresh veggies. Freeze them… silly goose.
Freezing your veggies is the quickest and easiest way to deal with huge amounts of produce that you want to save for a later date. Canning and turning items into sauce can be an all day adventure – very rewarding – but at the end you will still have 1/2 your veg still to deal with. In addition, once you have a full freezer it will use less electricity as the temperature is more easily regulated in a full freezer than an empty one. Filling your tummy and your wallet… that’s just smart.
So how do we go about this? Simple.
Beets, Carrots, Potatoes
If you don’t have a cold room or cellar like my parents used to (in which case beets, carrots, apples and potatoes can just sit in there for months in the cool temperature, not freezing but staying cool), then you can easily freeze them for later use. Wash them well, take out bad spots and cut them into the sized pieces that you would like to use. I have bags that are cut into large chunks, small chunks, slices, matchsitcks and even some baby carrots and beets cleaned and left whole but with the ends trimmed. Then into a freezer bag they go, remove the air and seal. Label them and freeze. It’s easier to un-thaw, and stack in your freezer if you make sure that the bag is level, not just full at the bottom and empty at the top.
Peppers & Tomatoes
These take a little more prep. Wash and remove stems (and seeds / membrane of peppers) cut into large slices and place on a cookie sheet. Freeze them on the cookie sheet, then once they are frozen remove from cookie sheet and put into a freezer bag. Remove air and put them back into the freezer. This will ensure that you are able to take only a few out at a time and they wont all freeze together – which has a tendency to happen because of the water content in peppers and tomatoes. They will be mushy when they are thawed but are perfect additions to soups, stews and sauces all winter long.
These you need to roast first to remove seeds and the skin before putting into a freezer bag, removing the air and freezing. This isn’t something you want to be doing with small chunks once they have been thawed. Again for those lucky enough to have a cellar or cold room, squash can last in there for months.
Husk, blanch in hot water and put into a freezer bag to freeze. I’ve left it on the cob and not really had any problem with it. But you can also cut the corn off the cob and put it into a bag like that if you wish – uses less bags.
Now you are well on your way to freezing your savings! If you have any questions about a veg I didn’t list feel free to ask it in the comments section. Also, remember to label your bags. Not so much to know what is in them (see through bags usually help with that) but to know the date they were frozen so that if you have a bag left next year you can use that before using the newly frozen items. Happy Freezing!