• Matt Suprunowicz

How to Freeze Veggies for Preservation


How can we store vegetables for long-term use without degrading their quality?


 

This Lesson Plan is part the Nutrition and Sustainability modules of SustainEd Farms' virtual programming.

Background

During the COVID-19 pandemic, much of the selection of canned, jarred, and dried food items have disappeared from grocery shelves across the United States due to the anticipation of disruptions in the food supply chain. Fresh produce, on the other hand, has remained abundant in grocery stores due to its perceived short shelf-life (consumers are choosing items that will be available to them much later on). It should be noted that fresh produce is often cheaper than the aforementioned processed items, because there is no “value-added” to these products -- they are the original products of plants, and are sold without any additional mechanical or chemical preservation process. Therefore, learning to freeze these fresh vegetables can be a great way to save money on food, ensure a continuous supply of healthy ingredients, and increase one’s total food supply for later on.


Learning Objectives

Students will be able to...

  • Properly freeze vegetables using two different methods: chop and freeze, and blanching

  • Accumulate fresh food items for healthy future meals

  • Unfreeze stored vegetables for consumption

Academic Vocabulary

blanch /blan(t)SH/ verb. - a preservation and cooking technique in which a vegetable is submerged in boiling water before being placed into much colder water to pause the cooking process. Blanching vegetables stops the enzyme reaction that breaks down the vegetable’s nutrients. This means you can store them for longer.


Directions

1. Gather your materials. You will need the following supplies:

  • vegetables to be frozen -- you can freeze just about any vegetable · knife + cutting board · muffin pan · pot filled with water · stove top · ice water bath (large bowl with ice cubes and water) · extra bowl · tongs · strainer · reusable storage container or sealable plastic bags · freezer

2. Watch the following Youtube video to see a demonstration of how to freeze vegetables. Then, follow along with the remainder of the lesson by reading the steps below.



3. Method 1: Chop and Freeze. The chop and freeze method will allow you to store vegetables for up to 6 months in advance.

  1. Using your knife and cutting board, chop your vegetables into the desired size for future meals (dice, coin, strip, grind, mince, etc.). Remove unwanted parts of the vegetable such as seeds, skin, and pith (composting if you have a composter, or saving seeds for future planting).

  2. Place your vegetables into the muffin pan, filling each indent to the top. The muffin pan can serve as a good measuring device for future cooking, since each filling is about 1 cup in volume.

  3. After filling each indent, place your muffin pan into the freezer for 3 hours.

4. Method 2: Blanching. The blanching method will allow you to store vegetables for up to 1 year.

  1. Using your knife and cutting board, chop your vegetables into smaller sizes (they do not necessarily have to be chopped to the desired size for your future meal).

  2. Bring a pot of water to a boil -- you’ll know it is boiling when bubbles and steam form.

  3. Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl about halfway with cold water, and placing several ice cubes into the bowl.

  4. Put your vegetables into the boiling water for about 1.5 - 2 minutes. Watch for color changes that indicate the vegetable has begun to cook.

  5. Using tongs, transfer the vegetables from the boiling water to the ice bath to halt the cooking process. Do not pour the boiling water in the ice water, as this will not help stop the cooking process.

  6. Strain the blanched vegetables by pouring the contents of the ice bath into a strainer. If you want to conserve your ice water to water other plants, place a bowl under your strainer to catch the water that falls through.

  7. Using your hands, squeeze your blanched vegetables to wring out excess water. Too much water will cause ice crystals to form on your frozen vegetables, which can ruin the quality of the vegetable.

  8. Place your vegetables into the muffin pan, filling each indent to the top. The muffin pan can serve as a good measuring device for future cooking, since each filling is about 1 cup in volume.

  9. After filling each indent, place your muffin pan into the freezer for 3 hours.

5. After your vegetables have become frozen, remove them from your muffin pan, and place them into reusable storage containers or sealable plastic bags (which can also be reused). If you have trouble removing the vegetables, let them thaw slightly, or run a small amount of hot water along the bottom of the muffin pan before placing them into your storage container(s).


Additional Resources:

Download the PDF version of this lesson plan:

How to Freeze Veggies for Preservation
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Download PDF • 1.20MB

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