frozen vegetables and fruit

How to freeze vegetables & fruit

Vegetables and fruit pack a punch when it comes to nutrition, but it can be a struggle to keep fresh produce readily available.

Whether you’ve stocked up at a farmer’s market or have a flourishing garden, an abundance of fresh food can lead to decomposition and waste. However, if you find yourself with a lot of fresh produce, don’t worry as most vegetables and fruit can be frozen in a freezer.1 By following the below steps, produce can be frozen for months to come without losing any of its freshness or flavour.2 This means less worry and more time to stock up on your favourite foods.

Follow our guide to find the perfect way to freeze your veggies and fruit and keep them maintaining their maximum nutritional value and taste.

How to freeze vegetables

When it comes to freezing vegetables, wash your produce first before moving on to blanch them. Blanching involves scalding the vegetables in boiling water or steam for a short time and is an essential step before freezing. Once blanching is complete, cool your veg in an ice bath to stop the cooking process.3 This step is necessary as when fresh products are harvested, chemical changes continue and enzymes begin to breakdown colour, flavour, and nutritional value. Blanching stops this process by inactivating the enzymes.4

Blanching also thoroughly cleans the vegetables, removing any excess dirt or bacteria.

How to freeze fruit

Again, first wash fruits as the first step, picking out any damaged or bruised ones. Once picked, fruit also undergoes a chemical process, however enzymes this time contribute to browning and loss of vitamin C.5 Some fruits, such as blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries, are content with a coating of sugar and lemon juice to keep them preserved. However others, such as apples, nectarines, or peaches, those that brown easily, are best controlled by using ascorbic acid. This is readily available in health stores.6

Packing fruit and vegetables in freezer

When packing your vegetables and fruits, you want to keep them as compressed and vacuum packed as possible as exposure to air can cause changes with both colour and flavour.7

The freezer can be quite a compact space so pack wisely. You can use heavy duty freezer bags for bulky items, ensuring as much air as possible has been squeezed out before sealing. Other fruit and vegetables, such as berries or sliced vegetables, can be frozen in a single layer on a baking sheet. This will allow you to not only stack and save space but once the time comes to consume, they will be easier to separate.

Label each container with what it contains and the date you added it to the freezer.

Thawing frozen fruit and vegetables

Fruits are best left to thaw at room temperature, but if left too long to thaw completely they can turn mushy – such as with berries.

For vegetables, the majority of these can be taken from the freezer and added immediately to boiling water or put in the oven to roast.

How long can you freeze fruit and vegetables?

If your freezer is set to below 0°F, it’s advised that you can store frozen fruit and vegetables for up to 8 to 12 months. You can store for longer, but you will begin to notice a decline in quality.8

Last updated: 28 April 2020

 

FoodFood & Drink