Bea's StoryI started a discussion in the Chatterbox group about freezing fresh veggies and was asked to post it here in the recipe section so here goes.
My 82 year old friend, Susie, gave me a tip on how to freeze veggies WITHOUT BLANCHING them. She's been doing this for well over 20 years now. This is my second year of doing it this way but personally I prefer blanching my peas, butterbeans & corn.
***Hey, we also freeze fish in water as well. We have had frozen fish for up to two years and it still tasted freshly caught.
zip lock freezer bags
fresh vegetables such as: peas, butterbeans, squash, zucchini, ***tomatoes, okra & corn***
BLANCHING IS NOT NECESSARY!!!
1PEAS & BUTTERBEANS: No blanching and do not add salt...just wash vegetables and place into ziplock bags.
***See tomatoes, okra & corn in step 6.
2Fill with water to barely cover veggies. Zip shut, burp out as much air as possible and place flat in freezer.
Be sure to let them thaw in fridge or on countertop and never thaw in the microwave, boil or steam. Simply place the frozen bag into a bowl first and place either in fridge or on countertop.
Once thawed, pour in strainer then use fresh water in pot you'll be cooking them in. Proceed to cook as usual. ***Also read step 6.
Peel and core. Place into ziplock bags either whole or cut up to your liking. Do NOT add water; just get the air out and zip up. Also read step #8.
OKRA: Wash, slice and bag. Do NOT add water. Also read step #8.
CORN ON THE COB: Shuck and remove silks. Wash then place ears of corn onto clean kitchen towel(s) and let them dry. Finish drying them with a paper towel and wrap each individual ear in plastic wrap. Now you can store several ears in either gallon ziplock bags or plastic grocery bags and place in freezer.
CORN ON THE COB...GRILL READY: Shuck and remove silks. Wash then place ears of corn onto clean kitchen towel(s) and let them dry. Finish drying them with a paper towel. Salt & pepper then rub with butter each ear of corn. Tightly wrap in aluminum foil. Place in either gallon ziplock or plastic grocery bags. Before grilling, let them thaw for a bit and place them on your hot grill. Once done, be careful removing the foil.
CORN "OFF" THE COB: Shuck, silk and wash ears of corn. In a large bowl, hold ear of corn at an angle and using a really sharp knife cut kernels only in half all the way down. Now use the back on knife blade and scrape the cob. This will allow you to get the corn milk. Spoon into ziplock bags and do NOT add water. Place into freezer.(You don't have to use the 'milking' technique if you rather have the kernels whole.)
SWEET POTATOES: Wash and tightly wrap each individual potato in foil. Bake as many as you possible can in a 450 degree oven until tender. Cool completely. Do not unwrap and store in a plastic grocery bag in freezer. When ready to use, take out ever how many you need and thaw either in the fridge overnight or on countertop. Once thawed, heat up (still in the same original foil) in oven (or toaster oven) until heated through. Remove foil and prepare as if you freshly baked them. They are good for eating as a baked sweet potato, in pies, fritters or caseroles, etc at this point.
6* According to Susie:
When you're planning on freezing peas, butterbeans, corn, squash and zucchini you don't need to blanch them first. She said that you pour out all the goodness when you drain them. She also said that she doesn't thaw hers when she's ready to cook them. She just puts them in the pot on medium-low and once they've thawed some she adds more water if needed and seasons them and cooks until done. I personally like thawing mine and using fresh water to cook them in.
7NOTE: Sometimes I slice up my squash, zucchini and okra and batter them then place them in single layers on cookie sheets lined with waxed paper and put them in the freezer. Once they are frozen solid I then bag them up in a ziplock bag & place back into freezer. Now they're ready for the fryer with only 5 to 10 minutes of thawing.
8TIP: Here's a tip from another JAP member, Jewel Hall:
Hello Bea, this "Flash Freezing" and I have been doing it several years. My tomatoes I just wipe off with a paper towel, line a cookie sheet with paper towels & do not peel. I lay them single file on the cookie sheet and freeze three hours, then bag in a gallon freezer bag. They don't stick together; you take out what you need and run tap water over them the peeling will slide off. I like to keep a bowl under them when peeling to catch the juice. I DO NOT wash okra; okra out of my garden is not dirty, so I wipe it with paper towels, coat with corn meal, flash freeze on cookie sheets then place in bags, they do not stick together. We could have some fun Bea !! Didn't know how to do the corn. Thanks SWEET LADY, you are a DEAR !