I am new to vegetable gardening and a friend told me recently I could freeze whole fresh chillies.
I am now wondering what other fresh vegetable/fruit are suitable to freeze straight off the plant?
We froze chilis but took the seeds out first. Used them for cooking and they worked out just fine !
not that I am growing any, but if there is a really good sale on at the store – we buy blueberries
very easy – wash and rinse, lay out to dry on a dishtowel or something like that, once dry spread out into one layer on cookie sheet and put that in the freezer – an hour or so they should be ‘frozen’ enough to put into a freezer container – and there you go. I cannot tell you how long they would last (my other likes to make banana bread and puts them on top – right out of the freezer)…
I was looking at this site recently, lots of good information -
I am just hoping I have enough surplus to try out some freezing and/or canning !
I freeze Peppers, whole strawberries, blueberries, apple slices, and green beans. The real trick is to do exactly what nanamama said, pre-freeze them before bagging and freezing. I pre-freeze, then vacuum seal. When I want some peppers I takes some out and reseal the bag. This way there’s not one giant block of frozen peppers. Repetitive thawing & freezing makes soggy veggies and fruit.
If you are growing basil or parsley, try chopping fresh & put it in a Ice Cub Tray. Add a little water, and freeze. Then I vacuum seal the herb cubes. When I’m making Scampi or Sauce, I pull out a cube and toss it in, and reseal the bag. Vacuum Sealers are worth every penny.
Have you tried canning? Canned tomatoes are really easy and don’t involve any special equipment. There’s photo-tutorials on hot-water-bath canning, and on pressure canning in Preserving the Harvest Group.
@hotwired – I’ve tried freezing strawberries, but when they thaw they seem to go mushy – is there a trick to trying to keep them somewhat ‘firm’?
It’s the nature of freezing strawberries because the moisture content is so high. My daughter puts 4-5 frozen strawberries in a blender with a cup of vanilla ice cream and 1/4 cup milk to make smoothies. I also drop frozen strawberries in each chocolate cupcake batter for really good cupcakes, so you end up with a strawberry center in each one. Frozen Blueberries hold up a little better. I froze 75 pounds last fall, and we add them to cereal, yogurt, or pancakes every morning.
Raspberries also freeze very well. I use the same method as nanamama for both rasps and blueberries and it works a treat. Have had good success with freezing chiles whole – I usually don’t have the time to deseed them first as they tend to arrive en masse at the same time as the plum tomatoes. Beans I also freeze: I blanche them first, cool them quickly and then pop in the freezer.
We freeze sweet corn. Clean off the husk, remove all the “hair”, cut off any bad parts, rinse well and pop into freezer bags. Always always_ always_ steam frozen corn on the cob. Tastes like you just picked it :) I also froze slices of tomato last year and use them in soups, stews and sauces. I am planning on freezing pepper and onion slices this year.
If you can find it frozen in the grocery store, more often than not you can freeze it at home.
I freeze blackberries, mulberries, chokecherries, green and hot peppers, carrots, potatoes, sweet corn, green beans, zucchini, pears, peaches and apples.
I freeze my carrots cut up or shredded.
Corn I blanch first, then cut off the cob and freeze.
Peppers are chopped and then frozen.
Potatoes I cook, mash and flavor with bacon, cheese or herbs.
Green beans are blanched first.
Zucchini is shredded and then frozen.
Raspberries, blackberries, chokecherries and mulberries are frozen whole
Pears, apples and peaches are made into pie filling and then frozen.
Thank you so much for exactly the type of information I was after. What a wonderful community Folia is :)
I am glad people elaborated with methods also and even a pic ( thanx hw).
I will check out all the links provided too :)
My friend that suggested the chillies whole is Thai/Aus, so when I suggested I take the seeds out she asked ‘why?’. I like hot food and it was easier to leave them whole. As it is every time I pick a chilli I forget, then touch my face, so the less i have to touch them, the better.
I don’t think I have the discipline to can my produce; freezing looks a lot easier to a time poor sometime lazy gardener.
What are chokecherries?
And thank you again to all.
Freezing potatoes is an interesting idea. I keep potatoes for months in a sandbox, as well as carrots, beets, and apples. You can put a large tote container on a cement pad in an unheated garage and store root vegetables between layers of sand from harvest until spring the next year. It’s like a portable root cellar. Keeps them about 45-50F year round if you’re in zones 4 thru 7.
Hi serendipity – I tried freezing whole jalapeno chilis last year with great success. When I want to use one, I take it out and chop it up frozen – it means I have chilis on hand all year round. I don’t bother removing any seeds for the same reasons you mention – the hotter the better :)
Broad beans are really good to freeze too – I pod them and freeze in small bags – about 250-300g in each bag which is about what I would use at a time.
I also freeze sliced and blanched cabbage in meal-size bags, and shredded zucchini (no blanching) in recipe-size bags for cakes, etc. I have also frozen chopped onions (no blanching) for cooking.
I freeze all my berries and prunes and sour cherries.
You just need to blend them when using raw, or put them into recipies.
I would try anything really. If you freeze overnight, and take them out next day, you see what you’ll get in winter. Most of the time you can then decide what to do with your frozen goods
berries freeze great, but are best used in smoothies. my kids love smoothies and the frozen berries add to the shake consistency.
I routinely freeze peppers and onions. First I dice them and put them in a vacuum bag. Hotwired is right vacuum sealers are worth every penny. I like them diced better then whole cause when I need them I just scoop out what I need and toss in. I keep them separate, one for onions, one for sweet peppers, one for hot peppers.
I also make pesto and freeze that, so I guess that could count as garlic and basil. Again, doing the prep before freezing just makes it easier when I take it out, I just put it in vacuum bags and seal it then when I want it I take the frozen pesto bag and put it in a bowl of hot water. When thawed I open the bag and squish out on my pasta.
If I ever grow green beans or peas I haven’t decided if I will can or freeze them. I kinda like (store bought) frozen peas better then (store bought) canned. But I don’t like green beans at all, I just get them to make green bean casserole for family, and my daughter loves them. So I guess maybe I could can half pints just for her…..
@sserendipityy – chokecherry (Prunus virginiana) is also called “wild cherry”, a small tree (to about 15-20 feet) native to North America. We used to pick green berries and use Joe Pyeweed (they’re hollow) for a blowgun when I was a kid. B-)
Ripe they make excellent jelly and also wine. The pits (stones) are toxic so if you use them make sure they’re destoned… they’re not big, so they’re a bit of work to collect up a bunch to use.
There is also a shrub (to about 10 feet) called chokeberry (Aronia) with red, black or purple berries. The two do have a lot of similarities but are not the same. Chokeberries can also be used to make jelly, wine as well as being used as ornamental shrubs.
Anyone out there tried freezing leeks? I’m going to give it a go but not sure if I should slice them up and freeze the slices or if it is better to leave them whole.
I haven’t tried this but would think slicing the leeks first was easier – ready to use from frozen or defrost quicker than whole.
Why would you freeze them when they keep in the winter ground quite well anyway (here in UK)? Do you have enough to last you through the following summer then? Lucky you if you do!
I store Leeks and onions in a sandbox. It keeps them firm and fresh all winter. I have several 40 gallon Tote containers in my root cellar that I keep root veggies & apples. The Sandboxes work great in a unheated garage. It acts like a giant heat-sink maintaining an even temperature, eliminating up & down temperature spikes. My sandbox in zone 5a holds 45F-50F year round.
Thanks seeinggreen and hotwired. I do leave my leeks in all winter and pull them out as I use them. However I usually can’t quite get through them all before they go to seed in spring – which it is now down here in the southern hemisphere – yippee :) I have about 30 leeks left and I’d like to get them out of the garden to make way for spring plantings and it would also be good to have them in the freezer so I can use them over summer. Slicing and freezing does sound like the way to go.
@hotwired – sandbox is a great idea but probably wouldn’t work for me over summer as my black roofed garage gets really hot.
Great info and ideas all assembled in one place, thanks for asking sserindipityy, and thanks to all the Folians for sharing their experience.
Hotwired, I’m getting a bit envious of your root cellar not to mention the sandbox (actually, your whole setup looks pretty sweet)!
Hops, a root cellar would be feasible here. It doesn’t have to be very deep and if I had the room (small block on a slope with lots of underground pipes and cables scattered around) I’d go for it. http://www.phys.unsw.edu.au/~map/weather/barometer/soil_temperature_profile.html
There is a small museum I read about that used tunnels under their car park to draw up the cool underground air into the building. Only the cost of running fans to keep the place habitable. It was somewhere with a high summer temp, in NSW maybe? Anyway, it was worth the initial cost for them to do it rather than using air conditioning. A root cellar would (eventually) pay for itself with the savings in electricity used to run a larger freezer.
I like to freeze things that are a bit of a pain to make like whole, roasted, peeled and seeded green chilies ready for stuffing. It is easier to do a big batch on the BBQ than it is to do them a few at a time as needed over the gas stove burner. Freeze flat before bagging, or in meal sized blocks.
I didn’t know there were resealable vac bags! The heat sealed ones just strike me as yet another way to generate landfill. I’ve never seen the machine pictured in the link, nor its bags. I’ve been sucking the air out of bags with a straw before quickly sealing that last corner. Not a pretty sight, but we don’t get a lot of the whiz bang inventions over here.
If Coober Pedy can use an underground system for cooling, I am thinking that you could rig something up in NZ ;)
@Lillypilly – I’ve tried some of the “Ziploc” style bags that have a vacuum pump. They’re expensive and don’t really work as well as advertised IMO.
I have a vacuum heat-sealer that uses a long roll of flat tube-type open-ended plastic. You cut the bag to the size you need, seal one end, fill the bag you just made and seal the other end closed.
I leave a bit of extra bag space for things I know I’ll want to open and reclose. Open=cute the bag as close to the seal as possible. Close=extra bag space. Voila… instant resealable bag that only requires disposing of a thin strip of plastic at the top to open. :-)
Now that’s clever! I don’t think I’ve heard of anyone doing that before. The vac bags I’ve seen were pretty substantial plastic, so could you also wash out your bag when the first lot of food was finished and reuse it as a smaller bag, and so on until it developed a hole?
With no way to sterilize the bag I don’t. If you’re snipping and resealing there probably won’t be a lot of bag left anyhow.
Thanks for the advice and information, PaulP. I guess I will stick with my reasonably effective if quite inelegant straw method.
I also reuse cardboard liter milk cartons for some things, separating the layers with small squares of freezer go between. Good for more solid things like diced roasted peppers, which freeze really well. I cut the carton sides and continue folding the top down tight as the contents decrease. A heavy hair elastic holds the flaps down well. I can wash and reuse the plastic go between squares almost infinitely. At the end, the now X shaped ex carton can still go into the recycling bin.