Cooking from Frozen Homegrown Produce

  • Difficulty Rating: Beginner
Cooking from Frozen Homegrown Produce

Tips on freezing and cooking from your garden; it’s simpler than you think!

I always grow more vegetables than I can eat in summer, and while I tired of canning long ago—unless I’m making jam—I do love my freezer. I use it to save food throughout the growing season.

tomato sauce in the freezer

Sometimes, I make homemade spaghetti sauce in bulk from homegrown tomatoes. Other times, I freeze vegetables like okra and chili peppers on cookie sheets. I then place them in a bag and stack the bags chord-like on my shelves to save room. You can freeze veggies and fruits in canning/freezing jars or in plastic containers.

You don’t need a large freezer either. Your refrigerator freezer will work. Stacking freezer bags flat helps save space once contents are fully frozen. It does help if you have room for 13 x 9 pans or cookie sheets to freeze things like blueberries and other small fruit, but if not, try smaller 8 x 8 pans. Kathy Purdy from Cold Climate Gardening froze a lot of blueberries using the pan-to-bag strategy, as seen below.

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Some vegetables require blanching beforehand, and it’s a simple process. You take boiling water and immerse your veggies for a moment or two to cook them slightly. It helps with some vegetables and fruits, including tomatoes and peaches. Their tough-to-peel skins slide off easily when you blanch them, and the process makes prep time go so much faster.

Most frozen veggies, like these green beans, from Carol at May Dreams Gardens, keep well for six months or so. After that, flavor starts to wane. For more information on freezing and what works best, check out Teresa O’Connor’s Quick Freezer Tips for Garden Produce.

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Quick tip: Sometimes, you try to open a freezer bag, and you just can’t because the zipper becomes stuck during storage. No worries. Grab any Fiskars scissors you don’t use for sewing and open the bag with them. I keep my Garden Shears or the Herb and Veggie Shears handy for most bags. Both types are stashed all over the house.

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