- Freezing vegetables is one of the best ways to lock-in their nutrients and flavours.
- Always select high-quality vegetables that are at their peak of flavour and texture. This will guarantee good quality of frozen vegetables.
- If you are growing your own vegetables; harvest them in the morning when it’s still cool and freeze them as soon as possible.
- The secret behind excellent results with frozen vegetables is to blanch them before freezing. This process will block the enzymes that deteriorate the vegetables and kill most of the microorganisms that can be present. Blanching consists of plunging the vegetables for a few minutes in boiling water.
- Blanching cleans the dirt from the vegetables, brightens the colors and helps to delay the loss of vitamins and minerals.
- To blanch you just need a casserole dish with a cover and a wire basket or metal colander that fits in the casserole dish.
- The general rule for the amount of water is 3.5L for every 500g of vegetables.
- For even blanching, it's better to do it in small batches. Keep the heat on high throughout the process.
- When blanching it is very important to follow the correct timing depending on the vegetable. When the time is too short, the enzymes are not blocked, but stimulated and the results will be worse than without blanching. When blanching for too long, there is loss of flavor, texture and nutrients.
Asparagus Small stalks: 2 mins • Medium stalks: 3 mins • Large stalks: 4 min
Broccoli Florets of 3-4 cm diametre: 3 mins
Brussels Sprouts Small: 3 mins • Medium: 4 mins • Large: 5 mins
Cabbage Chopped: 1.5 mins
Carrots Small, whole: 5 mins • Diced, sliced, strips: 2 mins
Cauliflower Florets of 2.5cm diametre: 3 mins
Sweet Corn No blanching
Eggplant Chopped/Cubed: 4 mins
Greens: kale, mustard greens, spinach Collards: 3 mins • Other greens: 2 mins
Mushrooms Buttons or quarters: 3.5 mins • Slices: 3 mins
Peas (with edible pod) Small pod: 1.5 mins • Medium pod: 2 mins
Green peas No blanching
Hot Peppers No blanching
Capsicums Halves: 3 mins Strips or rings: 2 mins
Pumpkin cooked until tender
Cooking vegetables in water
- Wash and drain the vegetables.
- Place the casserole dish with the water on the stovetop on high heat.
- Place the vegetables in the colander/wire basket.
- Once the water is boiling, place the colander/wire basket into the casserole making sure that all the vegetables are submerged.
- The blanching time starts as soon as the water starts to boil.
- Test your vegetables. They should be al dente (crisp, but not crunchy) and heated throughout, but not mushy.
- Remove the colander/wire basket from the casserole dish and place, for the same amount of time as the blanching, in iced water to quickly chill the vegetables. This will stop the cooking process and keep the bright colours.
- Drain the vegetables thoroughly to remove excess water.
- After blanching and chilling, place your vegetables in the FreezerKeepr® containers, with the adequate capacity and shape, and place them in the freezer.
Tip: Always add a teaspoon of salt to the water when blanching your vegetables; it will help retain the minerals!
How to thaw vegetables
- If you are thawing and preparing coulis or tomato sauces, use a MicroCook Pitcher or a Heat 'N Eat container. Always use the defrost function of the microwave.
- Stir once during defrosting and allow for a standing time in order to evenly thaw.
- Once thawed you can cook them right away, in the microwave or on the stove top!
"When the vegetables have been blanched before freezing, the time needed to steam them is shorter than fresh vegetables!"
Most vegetables can be cooked without prior defrosting.
Cooking vegetables in water
- The amount of water required will depend on the vegetable and the quantity of the vegetable. In general, you will need 120ml of water for each 450ml of vegetables.
- Place the frozen vegetables directly in salted, boiling water; this is perfect for cooking spinach, peas, carrots, beans, cauliflower, etc.
- Boiling should restart quickly, within 1 minute, to make sure that the vegetables won’t have a moisture-like taste.
- Pour the frozen vegetables immediately in a casserole (preheated with a minimum amount of fat; oil, butter, etc.): They will thaw during cooking.
- Steaming Vegetables
- One of the best ways to cook frozen vegetables is by steaming them; following the same directions as for fresh vegetables, yet it takes less time than steaming fresh vegetables!
- You can steam vegetables in a casserole dish with a colander that fits inside. Ensure the vegetables aren't in contact with the water.