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 How To Freeze Vegetables

French Bean variety Prince. Click to enlarge. Copyright David Marks.
Click picture to enlarge
When the time comes to harvest your vegetables it's so often the case that there are far more than you can possibly eat in the time available. One solution is to freeze some of them for use later in the year.

But do you cook them first, what is blanching, how long to blanch? This page aims to give you that information for many of the vegetables we grow in our gardens.

Almost all raw vegetables can be frozen and the nutritional value will be retained. However the preparation prior to freezing does differ for different vegetables. Below is a list of common vegetables which freeze well. The method for freezing each one is also described.

How to Freeze Aubergine
Slice the aubergines first. Then lightly sprinkle salt over the slices, cover them and allow them to stand for 30 minutes. Drain off any excess liquid and dry them using absorbent kitchen paper.

Heat some olive oil in a pan and fry the sliced aubergines on a low heat until tender (about 5 minutes). Place the aubergines on a tray and allow them to cool. Pack them in a freezer bag separating usable portions with cling film. Place the labelled and dated bag in the freezer. They will keep for 3 months in a standard freezer.

How to Freeze Beetroot
Beetroot variety Wodan. Click on picture to enlarge. Copyright David Marks.
Click picture to enlarge
Cook beetroot before freezing . Always cook beetroot whole - don't top and tail them for cooking because the colour will 'bleed' affecting the taste and appearance of the beetroot and probably staining every surface they touch!

First chop of the stalk to about 3 cm (just over an inch) long and wash carefully in cold water avoiding damage to the skin of the beetroot. Prior to freezing, the beetroot should be cooked.

Beetroot can be cooked by boiling, baking or or microwaving. To boil beetroot, place them in boiling water (just enough to ensure they are covered) and boil for 50 minutes (a little more if the beetroot is large). To bake beetroot, pre-heat the oven to 150C / 300F / Gas Mark 2, individually wrap them in foil, place them on a baking tray and bake in the oven for between 1 to 3 hours depending on the size. Turn the beetroot halfway though the cooking process. Beetroot are cooked when the skin scrapes away easily. To microwave, place a beetroot in a bowl and add 2 tablespoons of water. Microwave for 8 to 10 minutes (depending on size) turning halfway through the cooking time.

Having cooked the beetroot, slice them in half and allow them to cool. Slice them and place in a freezer bag separating usable portions with cling film. Place the labelled and dated bag in the freezer. They will keep for 3 months in a standard freezer.

Our top recipe using beetroot is Borsch Soup which is excellent for freezing.

How to Freeze Broccoli and Calabrese
Cut the spears off as you would normally. Place the spears into boiling water and boil at a high heat for 3 minutes (known as blanching). Drain off the boiling water ad run them under cold water for a minute. Drain them well and dry with absorbent kitchen paper. Pack the blanched Broccoli / Calabrese in a freezer bag separating usable portions with cling film. Place the labelled and dated bag in the freezer. They will keep for 3 months in a standard freezer.

How To Freeze Carrots
Scrape the surface off of the carrots and wash in cold water. Small carrots can be frozen whole but large carrots should be sliced. Place them into boiling water and boil at a high heat for 2 minutes (known as blanching) for sliced carrots or 5 minutes for baby whole carrots. Drain off the boiling water ad run them under cold water for a minute.

Drain them well and dry with absorbent kitchen paper. Pack the blanched carrots in a freezer bag separating usable portions with cling film. Place the labelled and dated bag in the freezer. They will keep for 3 months in a standard freezer. Our carrot and coriander soup or our carrot soup both freeze well for over 3 months.

How To Freeze Courgettes
Wash the courgettes and dry them with kitchen paper. Slice them to about 2.5cm (1 inch) thick - do not peel them. Prior to freezing, the courgettes should be cooked. Heat some olive oil in a pan and fry the sliced courgettes on a low heat until tender (about 5 minutes).

Place the cooked courgettes on a tray and allow them to cool. Pack them in a freezer bag separating usable portions with cling film. Place the labelled and dated bag in the freezer. They will keep for 3 months in a standard freezer. Try our courgette soup recipe which freezes very well if you do it before adding the cheese.


How to Freeze French Beans
Wash the French Beans in cold water. Top and tail them as you would normally do. Place them into boiling water and boil at a high heat for 2 minutes (known as blanching). Drain off the boiling water ad run them under cold water for a minute. Drain them well and dry with absorbent kitchen paper. Pack the blanched French Beans in a freezer bag separating usable portions with cling film. Place the labelled and dated bag in the freezer. They will keep for 3 months in a standard freezer.

Why not make use of excess French beans by making our French bean soup which can be frozen and also keeps for around 3 months.

How to Freeze Peppers and Capiscum
Wash the peppers and dry them with kitchen paper. Slice them in half and remove the inner white pith and seeds. Place them on a tray and put it in the freezer for 30 minutes. Put the frozen pepper halves in a labelled and dated freezer bag and put it in the freezer. They will keep for 3 months in a standard freezer.

How to Freeze Runner Beans
Wash the Runner Beans in cold water. Top and tail them as you would normally do. Drop them into boiling water and boil at a high heat for 3 minutes (known as blanching). Drain off the boiling water ad run them under cold water for a minute. Drain them well and dry with absorbent kitchen paper. Pack the blanched Runner Beans in a freezer bag separating usable portions with cling film. Place the labelled and dated bag in the freezer. They will keep for 3 months in a standard freezer.

How to Freeze Spinach
Wash the spinach in cold water and remove any stalks. Drop them into boiling water and boil at a high heat for 1 minute (known as blanching). Drain off the boiling water ad run them under cold water for a minute. Drain them well. Place them on a tray and put it in the freezer for 30 minutes. Put the frozen spinach in a labelled and dated freezer bag and put it in the freezer. They will keep for 3 months in a standard freezer.

How to Freeze Sweet Corn Cobs
Peel the covering leaves off and clean the cob of all those little silky bits. Cut the top 3cm (an inch or so) from the top end of the cob and drop into already boiling water - boil for 4 minutes. Drain away the hot water and run under cold water for 4 minutes. Dry them with absorbent kitchen paper and wrap each individual cob in cling-film. Place them in a labelled and dated freezer bag and put it in the freezer.

How To Freeze Tomatoes
If you want to skin the tomatoes before freezing, simply place them in boiling water for one minute, the skin can then easily be peeled off - leave them to cool for 10 minutes. If you are freezing tomatoes with their skin on simply wash them. Place the skinned or skinless tomatoes on a tray and put the tray in the freezer for 45 minutes. Place the semi-frozen tomatoes in a labelled and dated freezer bag and put it in the freezer. They will keep for 3 months in a standard freezer. Our tomato soup recipe is also an ideal way to use up tomatoes and freezes well for three months.

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