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Freeze Your Summer Vegetables

When you have a garden or are part of a CSA you tend to get a lot of vegetables in at once.  If you can’t use them all right away, it is a good idea to save them for later in the year when fresh vegetables aren’t as easy to come by. If you have the freezer space, freezing your veggies is a fast and easy way to save some of those summer flavors for the colder months.

Some vegetables get mushy or soft after they are frozen and thawed, so they aren’t great for every use. Here are some common vegetables we like to freeze and what we use them for afterward:

  • Zucchini – Great for soups or dishes like Mushy Zucchini where it is okay that it is soft.
  • Squash – We love yellow squash in vegetable soups.
  • Green beans – Soups, steamed and then sauteed with garlic, or included in stir frys or cauliflower fried rice.
  • Cherry tomatoes – Even frozen cherry tomatoes make a killer quick pasta sauce.
  • Carrots – Soups!
  • Cabbage – Primarily sickie soup.
  • Kale – Kale holds up surprisingly well after being frozen. As long as you are cooking it, you can use it for pretty much any kind of recipe. We’ll probably saute it or add it to soups.
  • Spinach – Garbanzos con Espinacas y Jengibre
  • Bell peppers – We like to freeze red peppers for roasted red pepper and tomato soup. Green and yellow peppers we dice up and use for breakfast skillets all winter long.
  • Hot peppers – Great for chilis, stews, and sauces.
  • Pumpkins and butternut squash – We roast and puree the pumpkins and butternut squash before freezing them. We use it for soups, breads, cookies, and pies.
  • Corn – We like to cut it off the cob before freezing it. We put it in soups, use it for esquites, and other corn salads.
  • Peas – We add them to stir frys and cauliflower fried rice.
  • Broccoli and Cauliflower – These tend to get a little pushy after being frozen, so we prefer to use them in soups. Sometimes I use frozen broccoli in frittatas.

Preparation

Wash, dry, and chop your vegetables for their intended use before freezing them. You won’t be able to separate them when they are frozen, and if you wait to do it until they are thawed, they are more difficult to cut.

Vacuum Sealing

The best way to prevent freezer burn is with a vacuum sealer. These things are worth their price several times over. They completely elimate freezer burn and allow you to store things in the freezer much longert than would otherwise be possible. We also use ours to freeze meat, soups, broths, and leftovers.

Buying them on Amazon is the fastest way to get them, but not always the cheapest. For a good price, go to your local clearance store (Big Lots, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Bargain Bin, etc). We got ours for 70% off the retail price at one of those places. It is four years old and still cranking.

Dating & Inventory

Always write the date you froze something on the packaging. I know you think you’ll remember, but you probably won’t. I’ve made that mistake more than once. Just take the extra thirty seconds to write the date on them. I also like to write what it is just incase two things look very similar.

Bonus points if you keep an inventory list of what is in your freezer. To be honest, I don’t. I do keep a list of the vegetables in my fridge, though. They have a much smaller usage window.

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