I have been very busy freezing whatever I can fresh from the Farmer’s Market for the winter. I seem to have a lot more freezer space than cupboard space, so I decided to forego the canning of the things I can freeze. Here’s just some of what I have so far:
Strawberries, Raspberries and Blueberries
Strawberries, raspberries and blueberries should be fresh, unwashed and checked over for damaged or generally yucky ones. Then they are spread in a single layer on a pan, placed in the freezer until frozen and then put into freezer bags. They can be used frozen or thawed, but need to be rinsed since you didn’t wash them before freezing. I like to keep a bag of blueberries in the freezer, take out a few in the evening, rinse them, put them in my cereal bowl and put the bowl in the fridge overnight. Fresh blueberries are all ready for my cereal in the morning. Or you can thaw them quickly by putting what you want into one of those handy little berry colanders and rinsing with running lukewarm water. Washed and thawed all in one!
In a previous post I talked about how to freeze zucchini, either shredded or in chunks. I’ve got a whole winters worth of zucchini stored away!
I’ve used what I grew in the garden, then bought lots more (about 30 lbs worth–I got a great deal!) at the Farmer’s Market. I now have many bags of whole cherry tomatoes (not blanched, treated like the berries), chopped and diced tomatoes, tomatoes crushed for sauce, and ready to go sauce. It was like a little factory in my kitchen! I’ll talk more about all that in a later post, but you can see how to generally prepare tomatoes for freezing here.
Green and Red Peppers
I didn’t have much luck with green peppers this year, but they looked great at the Farmer’s Market. I’ve been buying a few at a time for freezing. Like most other vegetables, you need to wash them, look and remove any blemished areas, blanch in boiling water for 2-3 minutes then plunge into ice water to stop any further cooking. I left mine in pretty big chunks so I can use them as needed for a recipe, but in the past I’ve frozen them diced or sliced. I freeze them in a layer on a pan in the freezer and then put into a freezer bag so they don’t freeze as one giant clump together in the bag.
I also have a few bags of diced and sliced spring onions. I’m thinking about freezing some corn if I can get some really fresh, otherwise it’s no better than the store bags. I bought a head of cabbage today to make some “freezer slaw” from a family recipe from a friend. Can’t wait to try that! So, what’s in your freezer this year?