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Old 08-24-2013, 08:48 AM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
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Somebody asked this question in gardening and I knew you good folks would have some comments to add. Lots of videos and sites about freezing veggies so it is somewhat confusing. I like to freeze fruits and veggies individually so it is easier to take just a few out of the package at a time. Seems to me blanching them first and then freezing on cookies sheets before putting them in containers in the freezer would put too much water in them and make them mushy when cooked. I've never blanched and everything seems OK ..................What do you do?
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Old 08-24-2013, 12:48 PM
 
Location: Bella Vista, Ark
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Quote:
Originally Posted by no kudzu View Post
Somebody asked this question in gardening and I knew you good folks would have some comments to add. Lots of videos and sites about freezing veggies so it is somewhat confusing. I like to freeze fruits and veggies individually so it is easier to take just a few out of the package at a time. Seems to me blanching them first and then freezing on cookies sheets before putting them in containers in the freezer would put too much water in them and make them mushy when cooked. I've never blanched and everything seems OK ..................What do you do?
Yes, always unless I am just saving the old veggies to make veggie stock. As for fruit, that depends, I don't think I have ever blanched any fruit. Of course I rarely freeze fruit except berries.
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Old 08-24-2013, 12:59 PM
 
Location: Middle Tennessee
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We have cut corn off the cob and did a quick freeze on it and it came out good. Okra should always be dry blanched in the oven for 5-7 minutes to dry the alkaline slick off of it.
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Old 08-24-2013, 09:25 PM
 
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Depends on the vegie, for me.

Green beans I blanch because my parents did. O_o.

Greens (kale, etc.) I blanch because I only freeze them in the spring when they bolt faster than I can eat them, and the bolting ones are bitter until blanched. If I ever froze them the rest of the year I would still blanch because they would pack better -- take up less space and not have air pockets. (I try to get all the air out of my freezer packages, to maximise storage life and flavor, which rules out cookie sheets.)

Tomatoes, or grated zucchini, or fruits, or bell peppers, the idea seems nuts . I do squish them a bit, to get out the air and make juice fill in the gaps.

Wild mushrooms I stirfry first -- again, for packing and smallness.

HTH .
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Old 08-24-2013, 10:33 PM
 
Location: Mid-Atlantic
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Things like green beans, wax beans and broccoli are really tough and don't seem to soften with (standard?) cooking if not blanched before freezing.
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Old 08-26-2013, 01:54 PM
 
Location: Our own little Loonyverse
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I make up seasoning packets of mire poix mix (celery, onion, carrots) or the trinity (celery, onions, peppers) and just chop, spread on a cookie sheet and freeze then put into portion size containers.

Peppers, unless roasted I just wash and same process.

Most other things I blanch.
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Old 08-26-2013, 10:00 PM
 
Location: Volcano
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The USDA has lots of good information on food preservation:

The reason that some vegetables should be blanched before freezing is to stop the enzyme action that can alter color and texture in those foods. They're safe to eat, but not so appetizing looking and not so tasty as they would be if blanched before freezing.

Here's a list of foods to blanch in boiling water, and how many minutes to leave them in, before plunging them into ice water, or running cold water over them until they are completely cooled.

Artichoke(Hearts) 6
Asparagus 2-4 (depending on how thick the stalks are)
Beans-Green or Wax 3
Broccoli (1-inch pieces)2
Brussel Sprouts 3-5 (depending on size)
Cauliflower (1-inch) 3
Kohlrabi (1-inch cubes) 1
Leafy Greens 1-2 (use the longer time for collards and cabbage)
Okra 2-3 (depending on size)
Peas (Pod) 2-3 (depending on size)
Peas (Shelled) 1.5
Squash (Chayote) 2
Squash (Summer) 3

Last edited by OpenD; 08-26-2013 at 10:21 PM..
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Old 08-27-2013, 07:44 AM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
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Thanks Open. I'm gonna print this and tape to the inside of my cabinet door where I keep all my hints and measurements- My cheat sheet.
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Old 08-27-2013, 07:50 AM
 
Location: San Antonio/Houston
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It's a must according to:
National Center for Home Food Preservation | How Do I? Freeze

BUT:
Researchers found that blanching vegetables destroys 50% of their folic acid, a nutrient required to prevent a form of anemia. Decreases vitamin C, which also acts as an antioxidant vitamin, by up to 1/3. Exposure to heat or water also decreases Vit. B concentrations. Storage in the freezer allows to preserve most of the remaining vitamins.
Also 20-30% of the phenolic compounds, a type of antioxidant, is lost in some vegetables.

There is no significant loss of minerals, except of a few water-soluble minerals. Potassium content of many vegetables, especially on in dark leafy vegetables, decreases after blanching.

( Common sense - blanching is cooking veggies in a water, discarding the water and additionally rinsing them again. Some vitamins just goes straight down the drain.)

Last edited by elnina; 08-27-2013 at 08:00 AM..
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Old 08-27-2013, 06:01 PM
 
Location: Volcano
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Well yes, there is some loss of nutrients from the partial cooking process called blanching, but there is also a loss of nutrients as well as color, flavor, and texture from freezing without blanching.

The enzyme breakdown in raw foods starts at about 118 F (boiling is 212 F) so it doesn't take much heating to achieve, which is why cooking is still required after thawing frozen food.

Quote:
Even after you pick your crops, enzymes continue to break down the nutrients, convert sugars to starches, and generally degrade flavor and texture. Blanching with steam or boiling water stops this action and preserves fresh-picked color. Tests have shown that, after nine months, vegetables that were blanched before freezing retain up to 1,300 percent more vitamin C and other nutrients than vegetables frozen without blanching.

Freezing Quickest Way to Store Vegetables: Organic Gardening
In other words, not only do frozen foods look, feel, and taste better if they were blanched before freezing, but they retain and keep at least some nutrients better. Unblanched greens, for instance, tend to turn black and goopy over time in the freezer, because of the enzyme action that continues on and on. This is why commercial frozen foods from the categories I mentioned earlier are always blanched. And anyway, much of the the nutrient loss in blanching is just a time-shift from what normally happens whenever the vegetable is finally fully cooked for serving.

In any case, you can easily determine for yourself how useful and desirable blanching is to you by splitting some batches of food to freeze, blanching half, then clearly marking them so you can compare the results later. Doing this myself, many years ago, is what convinced me to blanch all the enzyme-active foods when "putting foods by" for long term storage in the freezer. But to be honest, if I'm just freezing something to keep it for a week or two I don't bother, because it doesn't seem to matter as much for very short term storage.

If you read the above article from Organic Gardening, it also discusses the procedure for steam blanching as an alternative to the boiling water process, which is somewhat better overall in terms of nutrient retention. And it has a handy timing chart at the bottom which has a few more details than the one I posted earlier.

If you want to try steam blanching, the most important things to remember are to completely separate the pieces of food, and to use 1.5X the times listed on the chart.

And don't shortchange the cooling process, and use an icewater plunge if possible. The idea is to rapidly chill the food to stop it from fully cooking, so be sure and let it get thoroughly cold inside, then drain well before freezing.
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