Freezing Vegetables

For Quality Frozen Vegetables
Get vegetables from the garden into the freezer as quickly as possible to preserve the quality of the food. Fresh, tender vegetables are best for freezing. The fresher the vegetables when frozen, the better your product.

First Steps
Begin most vegetables with washing. Wash thoroughly in cold water. Lift from water as grit settles to bottom of pan. Sort vegetables by size for heating and packing unless you plan to cut them into same-sized pieces. Peel, trim, and cut into pieces as directed for each vegetable. An important step in preparing vegetables for freezing is to heat or blanch them. Most vegetables, except green peppers, keep better quality in frozen storage if you heat them before packing. The reason to heat vegetables before

freezing them is to slow or stop the action of enzymes. Until vegetables are ready to pick, enzymes help them grow and mature. After harvest, enzymes can cause loss of flavor and color. If vegetables are not adequately processed with heat, enzymes stay active during storage in the freezer. Vegetables may develop off flavor, discoloration, or toughen and become unappetizing in a few weeks. Heating also wilts or softens vegetables and makes them easier to pack. The type of vegetable and the size of the pieces determine the right heating time and temperature.

Heating in Boiling Water
For home freezing, the best way to heat most vegetables is in boiling water. Use a blancher, which has a blanching basket and cover. Or fit a wire basket into a large kettle, and add a cover.

Sort by stalk thickness. We recommend the dry pack for all vegetables because preparation for freezing and serving is easier. Directions Asparagus Select young tender asparagus with compact tips. or seal with a papercovered wire or rubber band. use at least 1 gallon of boiling water in the blancher or kettle. and lower into boiling water. depending on bean or pod size: small – 2 minutes. Cut in lengths from 1 inch to 2 inches. and bring water to a boil. Shell and sort by size. Store at 0 °F or below. Start counting time as soon as the lid is on. To steam. Heat in boiling water according to stalk thickness: small – 2 minutes. Put from 1 inch to 2 inches of water in the kettle. tender beans. Put vegetables in the blanching basket or wire basket. If bags easily become brittle at low temperatures.For each pound of prepared vegetables. When vegetables are cool. Seal by twisting or folding back the top of the bag and tying with a string. Freeze at once. Wash and cut or break off ends. Dry Pack More Practical You can use a dry or brine pack to freeze most vegetables. Snap Select young. Green Select pods that are plump. Both steaming and boiling work well for pumpkin. To cool vegetables heated in the oven. Cool quickly in cold water. Pack into container. and drain thoroughly. Seal and freeze. leaving 1⁄2-inch head space. Change water frequently. Shell beans. Pack into containers. cool in cool water. Heating in Steam Heating in steam is recommended for some vegetables. Wash well. a pressure cooker. leaving 1⁄2-inch head space. Pack into containers. or use cold running water or ice water. Cover kettle and keep heat high. and cut off and discard tough parts. plunge basket of vegetables immediately into cold water 60 °F or below. Seal and freeze. To cool vegetables heated in boiling water or steam. or a fry pan. or slice into strips. Leave the amount of head space recommended for the vegetables. and drain. cool quickly and thoroughly to stop cooking. Heat in boiling water 3 minutes. Pack into containers. set pan of food in water and change water to speed the cooling process. Heat in boiling water 1 minute. Keep heat high for time given in the directions for vegetables you are freezing. Seal and freeze. Seal and freeze. Put vegetables in the basket in a single layer so that steam reaches all parts quickly. sweetpotatoes. Cool quickly and drain. leaving no head space. A stand to hold bags makes filling easier. sweetpotatoes. Cut into 2-inch pieces or leave in spears to fit container size. Lima Beans Choose beans that are green but not starchy or mealy. remove from water. and winter squash in a pressure cooker or in the oven before freezing. A funnel helps keep the sealing edges clean. large – 4 minutes. leaving 1⁄2-inch head space. or leave in pods to shell after heating and cooling. Put lid on blancher or kettle and immediately start counting time. medium – 3 minutes. large – 4 minutes. use a kettle with a tight lid and a rack that holds a steaming basket at least 3 inches above the bottom of the kettle. Beans. . If you use ice. medium – 3 minutes. Shell. Pack the food into bags or other containers. Other Ways To Heat You can heat pumpkin. not dry or wrinkled. and drain. Heat in boiling water. put the bag in a carton for protection. It will take as long to cool the food as it does to heat it. and winter squash. Beans. Cooling and Packaging After vegetables are heated. you’ll need about 1 pound of ice for each pound of vegetable. Cool quickly and drain.

Trim tops. whole – 5 minutes. firm. and drain. and cut into slices or cubes. Choose freshly picked. Green Select well-filled. Carrots Freeze mild-flavored. Leave small carrots whole. Seal and freeze. Heat in boiling water 11⁄2 minutes. Cabbage Use frozen cabbage only as a cooked vegetable. Heat in boiling water containing 4 teaspoons salt to 1 gallon water for 3 minutes. Select and prepare the same way as for whole kernel corn except sort ears by size. Heat in boiling water depending on ear size: small – 7 minutes. soak vegetable for 30 minutes in a solution of 4 teaspoons salt to 1 gallon cold water. Pack. then wash. tender carrots. Pack into containers. and large sizes. and drain. (11⁄4 inch or less in diameter). Cool in cold water. Cool promptly in cold water. For whole kernel. Pack into containers. Trim. Peel. Seal and freeze. wedges. thin slices.Beets Freeze beets that are young or mature. compact. Trim off coarse outer leaves. Pack into containers. or separate head into leaves. but discard those that are more than 3 inches across. compact heads. Freeze as cream style if milk is thick and starchy. To remove insects. silk. leaving 1⁄2-inch head space. Break or cut into pieces about 1 inch across. Heat in boiling water depending on size: small. Pack into containers. and cut bigger ones into 1⁄4-inch cubes. Examine heads carefully to make sure they don’t have insects. Cool quickly in cold water. Cool quickly in cold water. Cool promptly in cold water. Brussels Sprouts Select green. Cauliflower Choose firm. leaving 1⁄2-inch head space. sweet milk. Soybeans. Wash. Split lengthwise into pieces so florets are not more than 11⁄2 inches across. and trim. and drain. depending on size: small – 25 to 30 minutes. and sort by size. Seal and freeze. Seal and freeze. Seal and freeze. Pack Brussels sprouts into containers. tender kernels and thin. leaving no head space. Sort into small. and drain. leaving 1⁄2-inch head space. peel stalks. Cool promptly in cold water. Scrape cobs with back of knife to remove juice and heart of kernel. drain. medium. Heat beans in pods in boiling water for 5 minutes. Broccoli Select tight. Husk. Wash. Cool promptly in cold water. Seal and freeze . Beans. removing coarse outer leaves. cut kernels at about two-thirds of the depth. drain. medium heads – 4 minutes. Select ears with plump. Pack cauliflower into containers. solid heads. leaving no head space. or wrap individually and then together in desired number with material that resists moisture and vapor. Drain. leaving 1⁄2-inch head space. medium – 45 to 50 minutes. Corn Whole Kernel and Cream Style. Pack into containers. Wash thoroughly. Seal and freeze On-the-Cob. leaving 1⁄2-inch head space. tender. and large heads – 5 minutes. and drain. Cook in boiling water until tender. Cool quickly in cold water. Cut into medium to coarse shreds or thin . diced or sliced or lengthwise strips – 2 minutes. Pack broccoli into containers. and peel. and wash ears. Seal and freeze. or long strips. To remove insects. cut corn from cob at about the center of kernels. Heat in boiling water: small heads – 3 minutes. dark-green heads with tender stalks free from woodiness. For cream style. Cool quickly in cold water. bright green pods. Wash well. Heat in steam 5 minutes or in boiling water 3 minutes. Seal and freeze. snow-white heads. soak for 1⁄2 hour in a solution of 4 teaspoons salt to 1 gallon cold water. leaving 1⁄2-inch of stems. Wash. medium – 9 minutes (11⁄4 to 11⁄2 inches in diameter). Squeeze out of pods. large – 11 minutes (more than 11⁄2 inches in diameter). leaving no head space. Remove tops. Heat in boiling water 4 minutes.

Another method for sliced okra is heating on a baking sheet in an oven at 350° about 20 minutes. spinach – 2 minutes. Heat in boiling water: whole – 3 minutes. Seal and freeze. leaving 1⁄2-inch head space. Drain. If mushrooms are larger than 1 inch across. Cool quickly. Seal and freeze.Eggplant Wash. and freeze. (Dip for 5 minutes in a solution containing 1 teaspoon lemon juice or 11⁄2 teaspoons citric acid to a pint of water. green pods. Wash well. Remove imperfect leaves and tough stems. Trim off ends of stems. Prepare an ascorbic acid solution using 1 quart water to 1⁄2 teaspoon ascorbic acid. Cool on trays. 1 1 Mushrooms Choose mushrooms that don’t have spots or decay. Cool quickly in cold water. Sort according to size. Chill in cold water. tender. Leave whole. Wash. leaving 1⁄2-inch head space. Kohlrabi Select young. drain well. Frozen eggplant keeps well from 9 to 12 months. very tender leaves. Cut off stems so as not to cut open seed cells. Wash well. or slice crosswise. Pack. large – 4 minutes. collards – 3 minutes. tender leaves. Seal and freeze. Cut off tops and roots. heat small amounts in table fat in an open fry pan until almost done. Pack cubes into containers. Okra Select young. You can steam or heat mushrooms in fat in a fry pan. Mushrooms that will be steamed will have better color if given an anti-darkening treatment first. slices – 3 minutes. and leave whole or dice into 1⁄2-inch cubes. drain. Pack into containers. and slice from ⁄3 to ⁄2 of an inch thick. Pack into containers. package. spinach – 11⁄2 minutes. Cool promptly in cold water and drain. mild-flavored kohlrabi that are small to medium in size. Heat in boiling water in small amounts to avoid matting: mustard and turnip greens – 2 minutes. Greens Select young. Seal and freeze. slice them. Pack whole kohlrabi into containers or wrap in material that is resistant to moisture and vapor. Cool in air or set in cold water the pan you used to cook mushrooms. Dip eggplant slices in ascorbic acid solution. Seal and freeze. Wash thoroughly in cold water. . peel. buttons or quarters – 31⁄2 minutes. Seal and freeze. Pack in freezer container with two pieces of freezer paper between slices. tender. Cool promptly in cold water.) Then steam: whole mushrooms –5 minutes. To heat mushrooms in fry pan. or cut into quarters. leaving 1⁄2-inch head space. cubes – 1 minute. One pound fresh eggplant yields about 1 pint frozen. and drain. Heat in boiling water: small – 3 minutes. leaving 1⁄2-inch head space. Blanch in boiling water 4 minutes in same proportion of ascorbic acid solution used in preparing eggplant. peel.

crisp. drain. Peas. and remove deep eyes. first-grade fat. Choose firm. . tender peas. thick-walled pimentos. tender stalks. Seal. and remove any wilted leaves. slices – 2 minutes. Seal and freeze. To peel. heat in boiling water: halves – 3 minutes. flexible pods with tender seeds. Package. Cool quickly. Seal and freeze. and cut in 1⁄2-inch cubes or slices. Heat in boiling water 11⁄2 minutes. peel. Do not use immature or tough peas. Drain. cut out stems. and green surface coloring. roast pimentos in an oven at 450° for 3 to 8 minutes. Heat in boiling water 4 minutes. Put just enough for one meal in a package. Scrub vigorously in cold water or scrape to remove skin. Hot. Seal and freeze. If you heat peppers. Pack into containers. Cool in cold water. Wash.Parsley Select dark green. Wash. chop it while it is frozen. Select potatotes that are 1 inch to 11⁄2 inches in diameter. leave 1⁄2-inch head space. Peppers Sweet. Peel and grate. Wash and stem. thickwalled peppers. Cool quickly in cold water. pack. Shell. Pack into containers. leaving no head space. Cool quickly in cold water. Pimentos Select firm. wash. Heat in boiling water 5 minutes. Cut and scald potatoes. Parsnips Choose from small to medium parsnips that are tender and and not woody. Seal and freeze. Pack into containers. crisp. If desired. Cool quickly in cold water. Seal and freeze. drain. Heat in boiling water 2 minutes. If you don’t heat peppers. leaving 1⁄2-inch head space. Heat in boiling water 2 minutes. 1⁄2-inch cubes. Remove tops. cut in half. leaving 1⁄2-inch head space. Peas Select well-filled. Peppers frozen without heating are best for use in uncooked foods. Shell. Heated peppers are easier to pack and good for use in cooking. head space in container. Cut in 1⁄4. Cool. Pack into containers. discarding hard peas. Remove charred skins by rinsing in cold water. If you heat peppers. Drain. Package. Potatoes New Potatoes. Drain. cook in jackets until almost done. leaving 1⁄2-inch head space. Seal and freeze. firm pods with sweet. For hash browns. Cool promptly in cold water. drain. Wash. English and Green Choose bright green. leaving 1⁄2-inch head space. Fry quickly in fresh. plump. and remove seeds. If you want chopped parsley. Seal and freeze. Pack into containers. French Fried. leaving 1⁄2-inch head space. Seal and freeze. bruises. Pack into small containers. drain. leaving no head space. cut into 1⁄2-inch strips or rings. leaving no Other Potatoes.

or mash. Pack into containers. and drain. For variety. Pack into containers. Seal and freeze. mature squash. Seal and freeze. Stir occasionally. Pack into containers. Select young. pressure cooker. cooked sweetpotatoes in containers and cover with cold syrup made of equal parts of sugar and water. a pressure cooker. Stir rutabagas occasionally. drain. place pan containing squash in cold water. roll cooked sweetpotato slices in sugar. Cook pieces until soft in water. Leave head space. cured sweetpotatoes. Seal and freeze. Pack into containers. Cool promptly in cold water. wash and peel. cut into 1⁄2-inch cubes. remove seeds. or oven. and remove seeds. Cook pieces until soft in boiling water. For mashed rutabagas. Wash. cut into pieces. leaving 1⁄2-inch head space. and wash. tender. and cut in 1⁄2-inch slices. Pack into containers. slice. Sort by size. Freeze medium-tolarge. Let stand at room temperature until cool. leaving 1⁄2-inch head space. medium-size rutabagas with no tough fibers. cut in halves. Squash Summer. leaving 1⁄2-inch head space. To cool. place pan in cold water. Wash. To cool. To prevent darkening. Seal and freeze. Seal and freeze. leaving 1⁄2-inch head space. steam. small-seeded. leaving 1⁄2-inch head space. Select firm. Wash. mature pumpkin with texture that is fine rather than coarse and stringy. Cook until tender in boiling water and drain. dip whole or sliced sweetpotatoes for 5 seconds in a solution of 1 tablespoon citric acid or 1⁄2 cup lemon juice to 1 quart water. steam. Cool quickly in cold water. Seal and freeze. For cubed rutabagas. steam. Seal and freeze. cut into pieces. Mash or press through a sieve. and tender-rind squash. a pressure cooker. mature. cut into pieces. Remove pulp from rind. .Pumpkin Select full-colored. Pack into containers. Winter. and mash or press through a sieve. place pan containing rutabagas in cold water. Seal and freeze. Cook until almost tender in water. or pack whole or sliced. Peel. Pack. Heat in boiling water for 2 minutes. and stir squash occasionally. Cut off tops. To cool. Rutabagas Select young. or oven. To prevent darkening of mashed sweetpotatoes. Sweetpotatoes Pack whole. leaving 1⁄2-inch head space. Remove pulp from rind and mash or press through a sieve. mix 2 tablespoons orange or lemon juice with each quart of sweetpotatoes. Heat in boiling water 3 minutes. or mashed. sliced. or the oven. leaving 1⁄2-inch head space.

Miss Belle. Aristogold Bantam Evergreen. Yolo Wonder L. Wash. and trim firm. If desired. peel. Pole Carolina. Simmer 5 to 10 minutes. Cover. Coastal. Tabasco. Cut in quarters or eighths. Drain. add 1 teaspoon salt per quart of juice. Florida Market • Mustard Florida Broadleaf. Stewed. Laxton. Imperator. Blue Lake. Golden Security. leaving 1⁄2-inch head space. Cherokee (wax) Pole Kentucky Wonder 191. Pack. and cut into 1⁄2-inch cubes. Seal and freeze. Resistant Giant. Pack into containers. Silver Queen. Emerald Giant Hot Long Cayenne. Varieties Suitable for Freezing • Asparagus Mary Washington • Beans. Contender. Ruby Queen • Broccoli Spartan. Heat in boiling water 2 minutes. Aristocrat (zucchini) • Turnip Purple Top White Globe. Dixilee. Patty Pan (white). and cook until tender (10 to 20 minutes). Seal and freeze. Early Prolific Straightneck. Wando • Southern Mississippi Silver. Wash. Just Right. tender. Jackson Wonder. Butterpea . and quarter ripe tomatoes. Pour into containers. Superior. Jubilee. Tendergreen • Okra Emerald. LaChipper. Maestro.Tomatoes Juice. leaving head space for liquid pack. Midway • Eggplant Black Beauty. Pinkeye Purple Hull • Pepper Sweet Keystone. peel. Jalapeño • Potato Irish Red LaSoda. Shogoin (for greens). Creole. Astro. Storage Period The longest storage time for best quality vegetables is from 8 months to 12 months. Place pan in cold water to cool. which keep well for up to 1 month after freezing. La. Goldrush. Nemagreen. New Zealand (summer) • Squash Early Yellow Summer Crookneck. Dade • Beans. Sweet Royal Gold. Green Isle. 7. The exception is French fried potatoes. leaving head space for liquid pack. Crawford Turnips Choose small-to-medium. Commander • Cauliflower Snowball E. Seneca Chief. Burpee Red Ball. vine-ripened tomatoes. Hungarian wax (yellow). Mississippi Purple. Snap Bush Falcon. Green Velvet • Peas English Little Marvel. Gem • Carrot Red Core Chantenay. Norchip Sweet Centennial. Henderson’s Bush. Press through sieve. Chesapeake Hybrid. sort. Seal and freeze. Early Gallatin. Remove stem ends. Dixie Market. Southern Giant Curled. Merit. Cool quickly in cold water. Clemson Spineless. Florida Speckle • Beets Detroit Dark Red. Bloomsdale Longstanding. mild-flavored turnips. Willow Leaf. Sweet Banana. Unit I Porto Rico • Spinach Early Hybrid No. firm. Lima Bush Thaxter. Snowball M • Collard Vates • Corn. Slenderwhite.

Head space for juice should be 1 1/2 inches.S. disability. call or write your Extension home economist for Publication 663 Freezing Fruits. Department of Agriculture.either straight or slightly flared. 1914. assistant Extension/research professor. Watson. Publication 974 Extension Service of Mississippi State University. (4) -. (3) -. cooperating with U. Nutrition and Health Promotion. For information on freezing fruits. religion. require no head space. Director . (2) -. May 8 and June 30. or veteran’s status is a violation of federal and state law and MSU policy and will not be tolerated. PhD. such as broccoli and asparagus. Behrends. sex. except those packed in water. Distributed by Jason M. Published in furtherance of Acts of Congress.Glass canning jars may be used for freezing most vegetables. Department of Food Science.Vegetables that pack loosely. age. Discrimination based upon race. national origin. CCS. Discrimination based upon sexual orientation or group affiliation is a violation of MSU policy and will not be tolerated.Head Space To Allow Between Packed Food and Closure Type of Pack Container with wide top opening (1) Pint Container with narrow top opening (2) Quart Pint Quart Dry Pack (4) (Vegetable packed without added liquid) Liquid Pack 1/2 inch 1/2 inch 1 inch 1/2 inch 3/4 inch (3) 1/2 inch 1 1/2 inches 1/2 inch (1) -. Vance H.This is head space for tall containers -. color.

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