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Freezing Produce Properly

23 March 2020
A freezer full of foods

By: Gretchen Adams, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for the YMCA of Greater Dayton

Like many people, you may be reducing the trips to the grocery store and finding your shopping list may have some variation. When it comes to fruits and vegetables it is a comfort to know all forms count! While fresh and frozen are best, we know fresh fruits and veggies do not last as long.

In order to help make your fresh produce last longer, follow these steps:

1. Begin by rinsing your produce well, with a scrub brush if possible. Pat them dry.

2. Follow the chart below for how to chop up your produce to prepare them for the freezer.

3. If you are freezing veggies, it is recommended to blanch them to preserve flavor, nutrients, and crispness. To blanch: cook them for a short duration (refer to chart) in boiling water, then immediately transfer to bowl of ice water.

4. Allow to drain and pat dry before moving to freezer friendly baggie.

 

Fruit/Vegetable

Prep Technique

Blanching Time

Bell peppers

Cut out stem and remove seeds.

Cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2-3 minutes

Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries

Cut away stems.

Not necessary

Broccoli and cauliflower

Cut into 1 1/2“ florets

3 minutes

Carrots

Peel outer skin off, cut into 1/4” coins

2 minutes

Cherries

Remove stems and pits

Not necessary

Hearty greens (spinach, collards, kale, Swiss chard)

Remove hard stems and ribs of leaves. Shred or chop.

2-3 minutes

Corn

Husk the corn. Slice corn off the cob.

2 minutes

Green Beans

Trim stem ends.

3 minutes

Mangoes

Peel off skin. Remove fruit from the pit. Dice 1” pieces.

Not necessary

Nectarines, peaches, plums

Remove pit. Slice fruit.

Not necessary

Peas

Remove from pod. If pod is edible, trim stems.

1-2 minutes

Strawberries

Remove stem and hull. Slice in half if desired.

Not necessary

Summer Squash

Cut into 1/2” pieces.

2-3 minutes.

Tomatoes

Remove core. Dice.

Not necessary

Winter Squash

Cut in half. Remove seeds and stringy membrane.

 

 

 

 

Table adapted from: Cooking Matters for Parents

Instead of blanching, place cut-side down on a prepared baking pan, lightly oiled. Bake at 400 F until tender, 35-50 minutes. Allow to cool. Scoop squash into a bowl, removing skin. Mash with a fork. Cool completely before freezing.

 

 

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