Ask an Expert: Eight Tips for Freezing Produce

    Ask an Expert: Eight Tips for Freezing Produce

    Freezing ProduceFruits and vegetables are abundant this time of year, and now is a great time to preserve the harvest. One preservation method that is sometimes overlooked is freezing.

    Freezing is safe, fast and gives the freshest taste with the highest nutrition rate of any preservation method. Freezing doesn’t kill bacteria, so make sure you wash and package your produce well. Freezing slows or prevents bacterial growth because of the low temperatures. Consider these tips to get the best results.

    * Freezers should be kept at 0 degreesFahrenheit.

    * Package food in rigid, freezer-safe containers or freezer bags. Make sure to label them.

    * Vegetables are best blanched and cooled before being frozen, since it stops the ripening action; however, there are a few exceptions. Sweet or hot peppers can be washed and placed in freezer bags to be used later in salsas or meals. Onions may also be frozen without blanching, but should be double bagged to prevent odor transfers to other foods.

    * Fruits typically do not need pretreatment, but for convenience wash and drain them, then freeze individual pieces on a tray. It will take about an hour for them to freeze enough to take the pieces off the tray and place them in freezer bags. When you’re ready to use them, simply remove the amount you need rather than thawing the entire bag.

    * For small berries, the less handling the better. Wash, drain and put them in one layer in a freezer bag. Place the freezer bags flat on the tray in the freezer so they freeze as individual pieces. That way, you won’t have to repackage them and risk breaking them into pieces.

    * For best quality, do not let frozen fruit completely thaw before eating, as the freezing process damages the cell structure, making the fruit mushy. Put fruit out to eat when you can still see ice crystals.

    * Tomatoes can be washed and frozen with peelings on and can be used later in salsa or other recipes. To peel the skins prior to using, pour boiling water over them, and the peelings will slip off. Let the tomatoes thaw a little before trying to chop them for salsa.

    * Measure any fruit to be used in a recipe while it is still slightly frozen, and include any liquid from thawing in the measurement.

    For more information, visit the National Center for Home Food Preservation website at http://nchfp.uga.edu/ and click on the link for freezing.

    By: Cathy Merrill, Utah State University Extension assistant professor, family and consumer sciences
    Published on: Aug 09, 2017

    Related Articles

    Ask an Expert: Five Tips for Food Safety at Holiday Buffets

    Ask an Expert: Five Tips for Food Safety at Holiday Buffets

    The aromas of holiday foods often bring to mind the sweet memories of years past. Whether a large family gathering, office party or pot luck, the holidays are filled with traditional foods that bring people together. On the other hand, there may be in your memory a time where the result of such a gathering left you nauseous, vomiting or worse because of an episode of food-borne illness.

    Read More
    Ask an Expert: Talking Turkey - 6 Tips for Safe Preparation

    Ask an Expert: Talking Turkey - 6 Tips for Safe Preparation

    It is estimated that each Thanksgiving, more than 46 million turkeys are prepared and eaten in the United States. Because of the number of turkeys prepared, food-borne illness also increases during the holidays.

    Read More
    Ask an Expert: Six Tips for Holiday Spending

    Ask an Expert: Six Tips for Holiday Spending

    According to The National Retail Federation, American consumers spent $655.8 billion on the holidays (excluding automobiles, gasoline and restaurants) in 2016. Consumer spending is expected to increase by up to 4 percent this holiday season.

    Read More