Blanching and freezing are great ways to preserve the nutrients and flavor of your vegetables. By blanching the vegetables briefly in boiling water, you can stop the enzymatic process that causes them to lose their color and flavor. When frozen immediately after blanching, they will keep up to 12 months, and sometimes longer!
Blanching and Freezing Vegetables
What is Blanching and Why Should You Do It?
Blanching is the process of scalding vegetables in boiling water for a short period of time, then plunging them into ice water to stop the cooking process.
The purpose of blanching is to cleanse the surface of the vegetable, set the color, and destroy enzymes that can cause off-flavors and loss of color and texture during freezing. This form of food preservation is a great addition to canning or dehydrating.
How to Blanch Vegetables
Today, I’ll be blanching and freezing corn.
Prepare your vegetables for blanching by removing husks or skins, washing and cutting into the desired size.
Start to boil a large pot of water on the stove, about 1 gallon of water per cup of vegetables.
Once your water is boiling, measure out your vegetables and place in a colander that will fit into your pot.
Place the colander, with vegetables, into the boiling water and start the timer right away, corn takes 6 minutes to blanch. Although I don’t show it here, be sure to cover your pot with a lid.
While your vegetables are processing, fill your sink up with ice water. I find that I need to purchase extra bags of ice to have enough, it melts very fast when blanching vegetables.
If you haven’t already, get your freezer bags ready.
You will want to prepare your cookie sheets as well.
When the boiling time is up, remove the colander of vegetables and allow them to drain for a few seconds.
Then, transfer them quickly to the sink of ice water, making sure they’re completely immersed. Set the timer for 6 minutes for corn.
Stir the veggies around a bit to make sure they all have access to the ice water.
You want to cool your vegetables for the same amount of time that you boiled them! This is an important step, don’t shortchange the process.
At this point, I dump the corn into another “over the sink” colander so that I can start boiling the next batch.
Once your corn has drained well, place it on your cookie sheets and freeze for several hours, or overnight if that’s more convenient for you.
Once frozen, place your vegetables in labeled freezer bags and keep in the freezer.
Different vegetables require different times of blanching, check out this link to the National Center for Home Food Preservation for a list of times.
Try blanching and freezing different vegetables and see how you like the texture. Personally, I prefer the taste of corn that has been frozen over canned. I think you’ll find blanching and freezing a wonderful compliment to your food preservation projects!