How to Freeze Fruits and Vegetables Article - Allrecipes.com
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How to Freeze Fruits and Vegetables

When summer gives you heaps of fresh fruits and vegetables, freeze them and enjoy throughout the year. It's easy!

Follow these tips to get the most out of summer's bounty.


Quick Tips

  • Freeze fruits and veggies when they’re at their peak of freshness.
  • Blanch vegetables first, then submerge in ice water. Dry thoroughly.
  • Freeze fruits and vegetables quickly.
  • Store in heavy-weight, air-tight containers or freezer bags.
  • Fill containers to the top and remove as much air as possible from freezer bags.
  • Vegetables that hold up well to cooking (corn, peas) generally freeze well, too.
  • For better texture, try eating previously frozen fruit before it’s completely thawed.
  • Fruits and veggies freeze best at 0-degrees F or colder.
    Store frozen fruits for about a year; vegetables, about 18 months. (Storing longer is fine, but the quality may decline.)


    What happens to frozen fruits and vegetables?


    When frozen, the water in fruits and veggies expands, causing ice crystals to puncture and break cell walls. As a result, some fruits and veggies tend to get mushy when thawed. To reduce the amount of cellular damage, freeze fruits and veggies as quickly as possible: colder temperatures produce smaller ice crystals, which do less damage to cell walls. The "mushy factor" is also why we recommend eating frozen fruits before they have completely thawed.


      Freezing Fruits


      Wash fruits and sort for damaged fruit before freezing. Some fruits do best with a sugar or sugar-syrup preparation. Blueberries, currants, and cranberries do fine without sugar.

      Here’s a trick for freezing delicate berries like strawberries or raspberries: Arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Once frozen, transfer to a plastic freezer bag or container. You can also prepare delicate berries with sugar or sugar syrup.

      For fruits that tend to brown, like apples, peaches, nectarines and apricots, treat with ascorbic acid (Vitamin C). Look for the powdered form in health food stores, drugstores, and some grocery stores in the vitamin aisle. To make an ascorbic acid wash: Dissolve 1/2 teaspoon of ascorbic acid powder (or finely crushed vitamin C tablets) in 3 tablespoons water. Sprinkle this mixture over the cut fruit. An acceptable substitute: Slice the fruit and dip the slices  in an acidulated water bath -- about one quart water plus a tablespoon of lemon juice -- before drying and freezing.


        Freezing Vegetables


        The best vegetables for freezing are low-acid veggies. When freezing vegetables, first blanch them briefly in boiling water. Then quickly submerge the veggies in ice water to prevent them from cooking. Dry thoroughly on paper towel-lined sheet pans. Why blanch? Blanching prevents enzymes from damaging color, flavor, and nutrients. Blanching also destroys unkind microorganisms that might be lingering on the surface of vegetables. Pack vegetables snuggly to avoid air contact.


        Packing for the Freezer

        The key to packing fruits and veggies for freezing is to keep moisture inside the package and air outside. Contact with air can cause changes in flavor and color. Pack fruit and vegetables in air-tight containers or moisture-proof, heavy-duty freezer bags, and force out as much air as possible. Wrap freezer bags in heavy-duty foil and seal with freezer tape. Stay away from plastic sandwich bags, which are not heavy-duty enough.

        A few hours before adding food to the freezer, set the freezer to its coldest setting. And don't overload the freezer (it will slow the freezing process). 


          Thawing

          Most vegetables can go directly from freezer to boiling water, though corn does best when allowed to thaw a bit first. Fruits are best when allowed to thaw at room temperature. Delicate berries can turn mushy when thawed completely, so consider eating them before they're thoroughly thawed, such as in smoothies or as a topping for ice cream or yogurt.

            Comments
            GRANNY 
            Jul. 31, 2009 4:26 pm
            I have found the best way to freeze corn is leave it in it's natural state(in the husk) put the ears into a freezer bag and freeze. To use remove ears from the freezer and you can either cook in the microwave(approx. 6min per ear) or just put on the grill turning often. To my family the corn taste much better(closer to fresh) and the silks just fall off clean.
             
            Lyyle 
            Aug. 13, 2009 9:24 am
            The best way to freeze fruit with skins is to leave it alone. Don't wash, peel, slice or treat with acids. The skin protects the flesh from browning and freezer burn. I put peaches and the like in a paper bag and into the freezer. Bananas go in stacked like logs. Once frozen solid you can put the fruit in plastic bags to keep it from dessicating over time and it will keep practically forever. When ready to use, run briefly under the hot tap and the skin slips right off. Bananas can be peeled with a knife while frozen without any thawing of the skin or run under the water and pull off the skin and strip the leftover fibers off with a paring knife. When bananas have gotten soft and brown I put them right in the freezer for banana bread later. Frozen fruit can be thrown in a blender with a dash of OJ or cream for a lovely dessert. For ginger, galangal, kefir lime leaves and lemon grass, freeze peel on and use without thawing. Ginger type roots can be grated right off the frozen block.
             
            Sep. 7, 2009 6:48 pm
            Has anyone frozen potatoes, successfully? Help
             
            DZ 
            Oct. 4, 2009 10:56 am
            Has anyone successfully frozen green peppers? How about jalepeno's?
             
            Cindy 
            Oct. 11, 2009 7:55 pm
            Can you freeze Fresh Tomato Salsa? Contains jalepeno and green pepper.
             
            Oct. 12, 2009 9:59 am
            My mom freezes salsa all the time that contains tomatoes, cilantro, jalapenos, and onions.
             
            melissa 
            Oct. 14, 2009 8:17 pm
            i have made and frozen twice baked potatos and they came out perfectly. i would think that any type of casserole would freeze well. shephards pie is supposed to freeze great as well.good luck with your pots.
             
            Marian 
            Oct. 15, 2009 1:36 pm
            Hey everyone. I have gotten soe great info for freezing on here , an now I'd like to share a bit of info back; Yes you can freeze pepper, I blanded and stuffed mine, I have also frozen salsa with all kinds of goodies in it; Thanks for the great website
             
            budman 
            Oct. 16, 2009 2:52 pm
            I just picked my first ever crop of tomatillas and I want to freeze the 100 or so left. Is blanching after husking, then freezing on cookie sheets, then storing in single layers in freezer bags the best way to keep these?
             
            Cassandra 
            Nov. 10, 2009 10:24 am
            If you are freezing peppers for use in cooking later, just put them in the freezer in bags or containers, uncut & unwashed. They keep quite well that way, but will become somewhat soggy when thawed because of the moisture in the pepper. But, they are perfect for cooking into soups, stews, casseroles, etc.
             
            peterson625 
            Jan. 13, 2010 5:46 am
            I'm soaking up all this info as I just bought a foodsaver system and intend to get my moneys worth out of it. I also got a "Canning and Freezing" book for Christmas and want to start trying to can once the Michigan produce comes in. I'm glad to see that there are other people who care and don't want to eat all those "frozen products" that the grocery stores are pushing full of who knows what!! If you can make the time, I think canning and freezing your own is best.
             
            killowat 
            Feb. 19, 2010 4:54 pm
            my mother cooked for cowboys on a ranch way to far to run to a gro. for needs, we always put a couple of bushels of onions and bell peppers and celery in the freezer for stews or gumbos or meatloaf any dish that these would be cooked in liquid we had a way to chop onions with NO tears, peel and wash and let sit on trays on the countertop overnight, next day we would chop away and no tears, no loss of flavor, anything you see in a freezer in the store can be frozen at home if the freezer is cold enough anything you see canned in the store can be canned at home with the right pressure canner, I have canned chicken and I make my own corned beef, we had hungry cowboys to feed so meals were hearty and simple but well seasoned, I have made my own biscuit mix and that will also make pancakes, and have made my own hot chocolate mix, it does take a lot of work, but you don't have to do it all in one day, I have a seal-a-meal and buy in bulk and freeze with no freezer burn, I also use those gree
             
            fairy1030 
            Feb. 28, 2010 7:31 pm
            Can anyone tell me how to freeze chicken and dumplins every time i try the dumplins just crumble when i thaw them
             
            fairy1030 
            Feb. 28, 2010 7:32 pm
            Can i freeze anykind of pancakes
             
            sandy 
            May 7, 2010 5:29 pm
            I have frozen many fruits before but I have never frozen pineapple and I don't think I have seen any frozen in stores. I would like to know if it possible to freeze pineapple and watermelon?
             
            katie 
            May 20, 2010 8:44 am
            is there any way to freeze zucchini?
             
            deedee 
            Jun. 1, 2010 3:43 pm
            Is there a way to freeze or preserve eggplant ?
             
            suelco 
            Jun. 6, 2010 11:46 am
            I have made both pancakes and french toast and froze, and just popped in the toaster when I wanted them. I just put them in a ziplock and gently squeeze out air
             
            Jun. 24, 2010 7:40 am
            I have frozen zucchini by shredding it & then putting into bags for use in soups or bread/cakes. I would think it would get mushy if sliced & frozen.
             
            ALG 
            Jun. 25, 2010 7:01 am
            I had way too many Delicata squash last year. The young ones I sliced in 1/4 wide chunks, sauteed with onions and garlic and seasoning, and froze. The older squash I peeled (potato peeler), cut in big chunks, steamed, pureed, and made squash soup. Some became squash bread. These yielded the best looking and tasting frozen results for a gigantic crop.
             
            teachingmom 
            Jul. 15, 2010 11:45 am
            We grill corn on the cob (shucked, but naked...no butter or anything), then cool and freeze them in gallon ziploc freezer bags (squeeze out all the air). When we want fresh corn for soups and salsas, I let the corn partially thaw (run under tap for a few seconds works), then cut off the cob with my chef's knife. Great taste of summer in December!
             
            Jul. 18, 2010 2:30 pm
            What is the best way to freeze corn on the cob? I heard that you blanch it but not sure how long?
             
            Jul. 28, 2010 4:36 pm
            I have frozen pineapple with no problems. Cut in chunks or slices. Freeze spread out on a cookie sheet. When frozen transfer to freezer bags and squeeze out as much air as possible. Return bags to freezer.
             
            Jul. 31, 2010 6:24 pm
            I always put my left over chili, or vegetable soup, or any other kind of stews and soups in a canning jar, but I leave about 2 inches or so below the top for expansion. And use the lid it came with. I also use glass mayo jars, pickle jars, anything that is glass with good lid works great to freeze with. But their is one exception to this rule never put pasta in the jars because it comes out very very mushy. Hope this helps for those who might of ran out of freezer bags or if you dont have proper containers to freeze your favorite soups and all with.
             
            Linda 
            Aug. 1, 2010 11:48 am
            I want to freeze apples so I can have fried apples later on this fall/winter. What's the best way to accomplish this?
             
            Buckeye Transplant 
            Aug. 5, 2010 8:32 am
            When canning pickled beets are the skins left on? Help please:)
             
            MARINAOC 
            Dec. 13, 2010 7:13 pm
            I was wondering if anyone has froze fresh potatoes, without blanching them first? I'm aware of freezing casseroles and soups, but curious about the potatoes....thanks.
             
            SKC 
            Jan. 13, 2011 8:51 pm
            Killowat- with the rising prices of everything, especially Food, & today's non taught grown kids, you should try to put your recipies/directions for all that canning on here, so they will be able to feed their families with a little work. I have forgotten more than I care to list, tho' I used to do all that, as well. Thanks for great ideas.
             
            Tom 
            Jun. 16, 2011 8:32 am
            Green peppers freeze well and when used in cooking just slice while still partially frozen and add to recipes.I have been doing this for years and save a fortune.
             
            Sue 
            Oct. 11, 2011 1:25 pm
            Does anyone know the best way to freeze fresh apple pie......baked or unbaked????
             
            Jan. 9, 2012 7:21 pm
            What's the best way to freeze a Quiche? What should it be wrapped in? What's the process to thaw and reheat? How long can it be stored for? Thanks in advance!! :-)
             
            Jan. 31, 2012 2:13 pm
            I freeze green peppers and onions, just put them in your food processer and pulse two or three times, only pulse for about a second, check & see if it`s the way you like it. Then put in freezer bags, flatten out & freeze. When you need a few just break off or up with a heavy spoon or side of a meat tenderizer & wa-la you have what you need to cook with.
             
            LeEmbr7 
            Feb. 5, 2012 9:22 pm
            killowat , enoyed your post!! I freeze eggplant, turnips, carrots, peppers (all kinds) tomatoes, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, tayberries, blackberries, grapes, peaches, etc. and I have found that you can slice them before freezing, but for peppers, peaches and tomatoes, I leave them whole. The peppers: chop off what I need and throw rest back into the bag. The skins on the tomatoes slide off after a few minutes of thawing. I also make my own pancakes, waffles, biscuits, pies and cakes and freeze them. Deep fry tons of chicken, & make up cookie mix, freeze it. I can pickles, relish, (will never go back to store bought!) salsa, spaghetti sauce, ketcup, and more. This year, I will have an even bigger garden and plan to rarely buy at the store. You can "can" and freeze meats, vege's and fruits. I can chili, chicken noodle soup, we even grill carrots right out of the garden. Wash them, leave a little of the green top on and turn them on the grill until soft, the flavor
             
            Kpalmeruk 
            May 16, 2012 11:02 am
            This is great! I freeze everything everyone has mentioned and also do a lot of canning, pickling, etc. My next thing on the list is to get a pressure canner. I am a bit scared of them, but, hear the new ones aren't near as dangerous as the old. Killowat, I really enjoyed your post! I do many of the things you mentioned and my kids are all gone. It's a great feeling to see all the rewards of your labors lined up in their jars, or a freezer full of yummy goodness!
             
            Penny 
            Jul. 8, 2012 4:03 pm
            what is the best way to freeze green beans do i blanch them first or wait till i cook them
             
            Jul. 14, 2012 7:18 pm
            This is the best ever recipe for freezing corn from a local farmer's wife: 8 cups raw corn off the cob 3/4 Cup water 1/4 pound butter (1 stick) 2 Tbls. Sugar 1 tsp. salt Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring. Immediatly cool, freeze in freezer bags. Lasts up to a year and tastes just like fresh picked.
             
            Shirley Wolfe 
            Jul. 15, 2012 5:08 pm
            can i freeze fresh hashbrowns
             
            Tonya 
            Jul. 21, 2012 12:06 pm
            Penny blanch the green beans fist then freeze
             
            mkkroeber 
            Jul. 25, 2012 3:29 am
            I would love for Killowat to write a book about her experiences! In the meantime, my family and I started eating a paleo diet and want to dump all the artificial junk from our diet. Canning and freezing are the way to go. I only like the flavor of fresh garden tomatoes, even in long cooking sauces, so I'll try blanching and freezing them this way. Should I peel them before I freeze them, or after to kind of help the mushy factor?
             
            Jul. 30, 2012 1:34 pm
            I'm so happy to know peaches can be frozen whole. God does provide the perfect package for His bounty!
             
            Vic 
            Aug. 8, 2012 12:17 pm
            Can apricots be frozen? What is the best way to do these?
             
            Helen 
            Aug. 9, 2012 2:48 pm
            Please tell how to freeze fresh peaches. I think my mom use to peel & slice them. Then put them in freezer bags & put them in the freezer. Is this OK or am I missing a step. Please HELP!!!
             
            kim 
            Aug. 11, 2012 7:55 am
            My kids are asking if I can freeze watermelon for them? Anyone been successful with that?
             
            Aug. 13, 2012 10:55 am
            This is a great forum! I enjoyed many of your posts, especially Killowatt. Would love it if you wrote up all your tips from days gone by. I also just chunk bananas in the freezer for breads and such. Easiest way I know! Will try it with peaches in a paper bag.
             
            hausan 
            Sep. 6, 2012 10:49 am
            How should i can cayenne peppers and jalapnoes?
             
            mitothecat 
            Sep. 13, 2012 11:41 pm
            I dont have anything to add, fantastic advise and tips covered what I came looking for, I especially enjoyed the post by Killowat and wanted to share a thank you and love!
             
            Maria Friozzi 
            Sep. 23, 2012 6:29 am
            I just went apple picking yesterday and now have apples that I would like to freeze. I do not have a deep freezer, but just the regular. I have read to peel and put into some kind of lquid before freezing and then I have heard to put the into freezer as is. I am cooking some for applesauce, but how should I freeze the rest to be able to make pies, cakes, etc.? Thanks.
             
            Ernie Geisel 
            Feb. 10, 2013 7:27 am
            To Kim, re freezing watermelon. I always wondered why one does not find watermelon juice in stores, so I freeze mine. Have done so for years when they are in season. They taste even better after being frozen. I simply put them through my blender (large kitchen type)where they retain the roughage and store them in vetegetable-type bottles etc. Even after months they taste even better than original. One caution is to leave room for expansion. One time the ice cracked a plastic bottle that started dripping mysteriously as it melted in the fridge. Glad bottles work ok. Remember that watermelon contains similar ingredients as Viagara :-) geisel@interlynx.net Hamilton Ontario
             
            countryangel 
            Mar. 3, 2013 6:15 am
            Killowat: I enjoyed your post. You should write a book about your life and put recipes, etc. in it. I lived in the country during my childhood. My mother did a lot of what you do. I wish that I could live that way of life now. Maybe some day I will get the chance. Homemade food tastes really good during the winter when it is cold and snowing outside.You also don't have all of those preservatives in it like store bought food does.
             
            Carolyn 
            May 28, 2013 7:43 pm
            Thanks Granny, I have looked everywhere for an answer! We have a great crop of corn this year in Texas, they are Nice ears that are really cheap right now. I want to just put them in my freezer without doing any thing but putting them in Freezer bags. We grill most of our corn and love it! CC
             
            cooking@1360 
            Jun. 25, 2013 4:21 pm
            Beat advice is freezing fast and invest in foodsaver. For anything from, herbs to veggies and fruit. Use within 6 months
             
            peekster 
            Aug. 5, 2013 6:07 pm
            The best way I like to freeze apples is to make up my homemade apple pie recipe and throw it in a freezer bag or food saver (date them). Lay them flat in the freezer and when I feel like homemade apple pie, I just take one out, let it thaw and put it in the pie crust and bake...Lots of work in the beginning, but rewarding in the end..
             
            Sep. 10, 2013 4:14 pm
            I have had success freezing apples by peeling, slicing and dipping then in some lemon juice (keeps them from turning brown, but won't effect the flavor). Then put them on a cookie sheet in the freezer until frozen. Then just put them into freezer bags or food saver bags. They will be just as crisp when you take them out as when you put them in.
             
            betsy 
            Oct. 26, 2013 10:58 am
            Iwould like to know if there is a way to print all this great information.
             
            alstolzenberg 
            Mar. 15, 2014 8:55 pm
            betsy, I copy and past the responses I like and send them to myself in an email.4
             
            Jun. 22, 2014 1:45 pm
            betsy I just left clicked my mouse and highlighted what I wanted to print then right clicked on the mouse. Go down the list copy and click it. Go to yoou Windows Word and press to start a new document. when on that page right click on mouse aand go down to paste click it and what you highlighted should appear then just print . Hope this helps yoou. God Bless.
             
             
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