Do you want to come to a “Freezing Party?”
“YES!!!!” my friend replied with absolute enthusiasm. She was so excited about the prospect of coming to my house and learning how to freeze her own vegetables.
On a bright, sunny day last July, two of my friends arrived, their car filled with dozens of corn, baskets of beans, and lots and lots of broccoli excited about learning how to freeze vegetables. Of course, I was just excited to have my friends over to my house. Having grown up with a Mom who froze ALL kinds of fruits and veggies, I was very familiar with both the benefits of eating delicious, farm fresh vegetables all year long and the process we needed to go through to achieve our goal. I can’t count how many summer days I’ve spent husking corn, scalding beans, or peeling tomatoes that went into homemade tomato sauce. Just as I’d always enjoyed working in the kitchen and learning from my Mom, I couldn’t wait to share this experience with my friends.
The day didn’t disappoint. It was a lot of fun! Even better was hearing them talk about how much they were enjoying eating the vegetables they froze and serving them to their family during the cold winter months. In the end they walked away knowing that the big secret about freezing veggies: it really isn’t hard, and it doesn’t even take that much time. You can freeze 10-15 dozen cobs of corn in an afternoon. A bushel of green beans takes 2-3 hours. For just a little time and work you can each fresh from the farm vegetables all year long. If you work with friends, you’ll have a lot of fun along the way, too.
Realistically, I know that most of the people reading this live too far away to pack their cars full of vegetables and come to a Vegetable Freezing Party. (But wouldn’t it be fun if you could???) Instead, I’m using the miracle of modern technology to share with you the skill that was so graciously passed on to me. Hopefully, this will inspire you to have your own freezing party, either with your friends or get your family involved and have a “family work night (or day)”.
Laugh, tell stories, have a contest to see who can husk corn the fastest, and enjoy working together for the common goal of freezing vegetables. Make a memory that will last a lifetime, and provide your family with healthy, inexpensive vegetables all year long.
Let me share a few of my favorites recipes with you:
FREEZING GREEN BEANS
1. Select green beans. I prefer very small, thin green beans.
2. Wash and snap the ends off of green beans.
3. Fill large pot with water. Bring to a rolling boil.
4. Put in as many green beans as will fit in the pot of boiling water. Cook for 3 minutes. Don’t put the green beans in the boiling water and wait for the water to boil again. Put the beans in the boiling water and set the timer for 3 minutes.
5. Remove the beans from the water and place them in a pan of cold water. To speed up the cooling process, we like to make giant ice cubes in plastic containers and put them in the cold water with the beans. Usually one giant ice cube per pot of cold water is enough.
6. When the beans are cool, take them out of the cold water and put them into freezer bags. We prefer to use pint sized freezer bags.
7. Close the freezer bags, making sure to remove the air from the bags.
8. Put the freezer bags of beans in the freezer.
When you are ready to cook them, all you have to do is take the beans out of the bag and put them in a pot. Add about an inch of water to the bottom and cook for about 5-10 minutes depending on the size of the beans. Drain the water and season the beans to taste. They will taste as good as they did when they were fresh in the summertime. The beans will keep in the freezer for 12 to 18 months.
1. Select sweet corn on the cob with large kernels. I suggest you cook a cob or two and taste it before you purchase several dozen. You may also want to ask the farmer which variety of corn he recommends for freezing. Last year we asked, and we were very pleased with the variety he recommended.
2. Husk the corn and remove the silks.
3. Wash the corn.
4. Cook water in a large pot. Bring the water to a rolling boil.
5. Heat the ears of corn in boiling water for 4 minutes. Don't wait for water to boil. Start the timer when you put the corn into the pot of water.
6. Take the corn out of the boiling water and place into a pot of cool water. Again, we like to place giant ice cubes in the water to help cool the corn faster.
7. When the cobs of corn are cool, use an electric knife to cut the corn off of the cob.
8. Put the corn kernels in a plastic freezer bag (again I prefer a pint-sized bag).
9. Remove the air from the bag and seal.
10. Place the corn in the freezer.
When you are ready to cook, take the corn out of the bag and place in a pot. Add about an inch of water and cook for 5 minutes. Season the corn with salt, sugar, margarine or butter to taste.
1. Select red or green papers. Actually, this process will work with any pepper. Several years ago, I froze hot peppers.
2. Cut the top off the pepper and remove the seeds from the inside.
3. Thoroughly wash the peppers including washing the seeds out of the inside.
4. Dry the peppers.
5. Place the peppers in plastic freezer bag ( I prefer quart-sized bags).
6. Make sure to remove the air from the bag and seal.
7. Put the peppers in the freezer.
Isn’t that easy?! When you are ready to use the peppers, just take them out of the freezer.
They can be used just like a pepper you buy in the grocery store. The great part is that you will know where it came from and you will pay a lot less for it.
These are just a few of the vegetables that can be frozen. I hope you give freezing vegetables a try. The quality and health benefits are unbelievable. (And if you make it into a party---it's alot of fun, too!!!