Can you freeze vegetables?

Can you freeze vegetables

Can you freeze vegetables? Yes, you can freeze raw or cooked vegetables. As a general rule, most raw vegetables, blanched beforehand, will keep for about 10 to 12 months in the freezer. Same for cooked vegetables.

Freezing raw veggies is a great way to enjoy their flavors later in the year, while freezing cooked veggies helps you avoid waste or prepare meals ahead of time to save time on weekdays.

How to freeze raw vegetables?

  1. Rinse the vegetables thoroughly then pat them dry.
  2. For some of them, you have to peel them, cut them and even blanch them before putting them in the freezer. This operation consists of quickly plunging the vegetables into boiling salted water, then plunging them into ice water to cool them. Blanching vegetables helps retain their color, flavor and texture longer.

Here’s how to prepare some of the most common vegetables:

Asparagus, green beans, snow peas: trim the ends, cut into smaller pieces if desired, and blanch for 1 minute.

Broccoli and cauliflower: cut them into florets and blanch them for 2 minutes.

Cabbage, kale, Swiss chard: Blanch for 2 minutes, then squeeze to squeeze out as much water as possible.

Spinach: blanch for 1 minute, then squeeze to release as much water as possible.

Broad beans: shell them, immerse them for 3 to 4 minutes in boiling water then peel them.

Peas: shell them then blanch them for 1 minute.

Peppers: stem them, seed them and cut them into large chunks (note that their famous crunchy texture will not survive freezing, but they will be perfect in sauces and other hot dishes).

Tomatoes: halve or chunk, deseed, peel if desired (after blanching for 30 seconds), but be aware that the skin comes off immediately after freezing anyway.

  1. Spread the vegetables on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, making sure that the vegetables do not touch each other, or at least that they overlap as little as possible. The idea is to pre-freeze each vegetable or each piece of vegetable individually so that they don’t stick together afterwards. This will make it easier to defrost small portions. Put the baking sheet in the freezer for 2 to 3 hours, or even overnight.
  2. Once the vegetables are completely frozen, remove the baking sheet from the freezer then transfer the vegetables to a resealable freezer bag. You can use multiple freezer bags or multiple containers if you want to freeze individual portions.
  3. Seal the freezer bag tightly, pushing out as much air as possible. You can use a vacuum sealer if you have one, or suck the air out with a straw.
  4. Label the freezer bag with the date and contents, then return the vegetables to the freezer.

How long do raw vegetables last in the freezer?

Most raw vegetables, blanched beforehand, will keep for about 10 to 12 months in the freezer.

After this time, they will still be fit for consumption but their flavor, texture or appearance may deteriorate significantly.

How to defrost raw vegetables?

The basic method is to thaw vegetables in the refrigerator for several hours or even overnight. Such an approach, however, can have the effect of liquefying once-crunchy snow peas, peppers, or broccoli. Below you will find other possible options.

Cooking without defrosting

In many cases, the best approach is to leave the vegetables unthawed and to cook them as is without thawing them first.

In the casserole

  1. In a covered saucepan, boil a little water over medium heat, usually 100 to 150 ml of water for 500 g of frozen vegetables.
  2. Add the vegetables and cover.
  3. Separate the pieces from time to time during cooking.
  4. Continue cooking until the vegetables are tender.

In the pan or in the wok

  1. To sauté frozen vegetables, heat a wok or skillet with a little oil or fat.
  2. Add the frozen vegetables and cook for a few minutes until you are satisfied with their consistency.

Thawing in cold water

To thaw some leafy vegetables, such as broccoli and spinach, thawing in cold water is an excellent solution.

  1. Pass the vegetables under cold water for a few minutes (leaving them in their freezer bag or in their container). Avoid warm water or hot water.
  2. Then take the vegetables out of their freezer bag or container and drain them in a colander before preparing them.
  3. Cook thawed vegetables immediately to prevent them from becoming soft.

Defrosting in the microwave

Some raw vegetables can be thawed, or even cooked, in the microwave.

  1. Put the vegetables in a microwave-safe container with 2 to 4 tablespoons of water.
  2. Defrost the vegetables for a few seconds or a few minutes on the defrost mode depending on the vegetable and the thickness of the pieces. Watch the vegetables closely and stir them frequently to defrost as evenly as possible.
  3. Continue cooking minute by minute until heated through.

How to freeze cooked vegetables?

  1. Let the cooked vegetables cool completely to room temperature.
  2. Place the vegetables in a resealable freezer bag or an airtight Tupperware container. You can use multiple freezer bags or multiple containers if you want to freeze individual portions. If there’s juice with your vegetables, pour that into the freezer bag or container as well.
  3. Seal the freezer bag or container tightly, pushing out as much air as possible.
  4. Label the freezer bag or container with the date and contents, then put the vegetables in the freezer.

What is the shelf life of cooked vegetables in the freezer?

Most cooked vegetables will keep for about 10 to 12 months in the freezer.

After this time, they will still be fit for consumption but their flavor, texture or appearance may deteriorate significantly.

How to defrost cooked vegetables?

In many cases, you don’t need to thaw your cooked vegetables. You can reheat them directly in the pan, in the oven, in a saucepan or in the microwave depending on the vegetable in question.

If you have frozen large chunks of vegetables or want to thaw your vegetables for another reason, take them out of the freezer and let them thaw in the fridge for several hours or overnight.

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