Veggies are crucial in almost any healthy, hearty dish I cook for my family. My grandmother visits every couple of weeks, bringing a lot of veggies with her from the province. Of course those fresh and organically grown vegetable are precious goods I cannot let go to waste. It would be amazing if I can freeze those instead of letting it spoil in the crisper
Mixed vegetables are available in frozen packs on the supermarket, so, of course, vegetables are allowed to be frozen. However, that’s only for corn, peas, and chopped carrots? How about those leafy greens that are that make any soup or salad healthy, fun, and refreshing? Of course there are ways to store them and preserve them for longer times than just letting them sit in the crisper. Luckily, freezing is also applicable to leafy greens.
Can You Freeze Vegetables?
Freezing vegetables is possible. It isn’t as easy as one-two step, though. There is a process called blanching, a necessary step for most vegetables, that has to be done before vegetables are frozen.
Vegetables should be frozen at the peak of their freshness. However, fresh vegetables obviously have active enzymes that keep the bright and fresh and healthy.
Blanching slows down the rate that these enzymes deteriorate the quality of your vegetables. This allows leafy greens and others to keep their fresh color for a longer time than in the crisper.
Blanching is letting your vegetables sit in boiling water or hot steam for a fixed amount of time and then soaking it in cold water after.
Each vegetable has a specific blanching time. Too long makes it loose its nutrients, flavor, and color, while blanching it for not enough time can catalyze the process of the enzymes. Underblanching is worse than not blanching your vegetables at all.
How to Freeze Vegetables
Have a reference for blanching times with you at all times when blanching vegetables to make sure it is blanched just right.
Here’s how to blanche and then freeze vegetables:
- Blanche vegetables in hot water for the recommended time.
- Use 1 gallon of water per pound of vegetables
- After the water boils and the time is up, let the vegetables cool down in ice-cold water
- Dry the vegetables and take them into portions
- After blanching vegetables, prepare a tray, a freezer bag or a freezer-safe container
- For tray packing, place veggies in flat trays or pans, not stacked, and let freeze
- Once firm, remove vegetables and transfer to freezer bags and freeze in the freezer
- For simple dry freezing, transfer portions of chilled vegetables into freezer bags or containers
- Place in freezer and leave until frozen
Remember to thaw frozen vegetables, raw or cooked, inside the fridge.
Also, label vegetables on when you froze them to avoid forgetting when they’ll spoil, and food wastage.
Precautions to Take When Freezing Vegetables
When freezing vegetables, there are a few key steps you can take to ensure that they retain their nutritional value and taste. First, always prep your vegetables before freezing. This means washing them and then cutting them into appropriate sizes for freezing. If you are freezing greens, like spinach or kale, it is important to blanch them first. Blanching involves boiling the greens for a minute or two, then shocking them in ice water. This process helps to maintain their color and flavor. Once your veggies are prepped and blanched, you can freeze them in airtight containers or freezer bags. Be sure to label the bags with the date so you know how long they have been in the freezer. Frozen vegetables will last for several months.
How To Thaw Frozen Vegetables
There are a few ways to thaw frozen vegetables. The fastest way is to use the microwave. Just place the desired amount of vegetables on a microwave-safe plate, and then microwave them on high for 2-3 minutes, or until they are thawed.
Another way to thaw vegetables is by using cold water. Place the vegetables in a colander, and then rinse them with cold water until they are completely thawed. This method can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.
The final way to thaw vegetables is by using warm water. Again, place the veggies in a colander and rinse with warm water until they are soft. This will usually take about 15-20 minutes.
How Long Does Vegetables Last (Stays Fresh) Outside at Room Temperature?
The general rule of thumb is that vegetables will last around three to four days outside of the fridge. However, there are a few things you should take into account when it comes to keeping your produce fresh. For instance, leafy greens like lettuce and spinach will last for a shorter amount of time than denser vegetables like carrots or beets. And if you’re transporting your veggies in a bag or container, make sure there’s plenty of ventilation so they don’t rot from the inside out.
It’s also important to keep in mind that certain vegetables may become unsafe to eat after a certain amount of time has passed. For example, cucumbers can start growing mold within just two days if they’re left out at room
How Long Does Vegetables Last (Stays Fresh) in the Fridge?
Vegetables will last (stay fresh) in the fridge for different periods of time, depending on the type of vegetable. For example, leafy greens like spinach and kale will last for about 5 days, while root vegetables like carrots and potatoes will last for 2-3 weeks.
It’s important to note that certain vegetables will start to rot or go bad sooner than others, so it’s important to keep an eye on them. Vegetables that have started to rot or go bad should be thrown away immediately, as they can cause food poisoning.
For more information on how long vegetables will stay fresh in the fridge, please see the following link: [www.webmd.com/food-recipes
How To Use Up Extra/Leftover Vegetables?
Here are some ideas to help you use up your leftover vegetables.
1. Make a stir-fry: Toss leftover veggies with some oil and soy sauce, and cook them in a wok or large skillet until they’re soft. You can also add some cooked protein, like chicken or shrimp, for a complete meal.
2. Add them to soup: If you have any vegetable broth or stock lying around, adding in leftover veggies makes for an easy and healthy soup. You can also add them to regular broth or stock for more flavor.
3. Make a salad: Toss cooked veggies with some dressing (vinaigrette, ranch, ceasar) and serve them as a side salad or even the main course.
Frozen vegetables are very enjoyable as garnish, or ingredients for any dish.
Stir fry vegetables with your favorite chicken and sauce and you’re good to go. Add egg noodles and you have that fix of Asian cuisine in your own kitchen, without waiting for delivery.
Place your veggies in a pan and season with salt and pepper, and olive oil. Stick it in the oven, and you have a healthy plate of yummy, roasted vegetables in a matter of a few minutes.
Eggplants are packed with health benefits and are easy to cook with almost anything. These purple vegetables taste great with a miso glaze, and here’s the recipe for that.
Yes, you can freeze vegetables. Frozen vegetables will last for 6-9 months in the freezer if stored properly. To freeze your vegetables: rinse them under running water and pat dry with a paper towel, place them in a single layer on baking sheets (this helps prevent sticking), freeze until solid (it should take about an hour), transfer to freezer bags or containers, label what’s in the container and date it.
The best time to use frozen veggies is when they are still frozen because it keeps their crisp texture and taste intact. If you want to heat up your veggies, here are two options: use a stovetop or microwave oven. Please share your experience with freezing your own veggies by leaving a comment below!