This method is the easiest, most convenient, and the least time consuming method of preserving foods.
Learning how to freeze fruits and vegetables is such a great skill to have! If you have a small garden or a large one, freezing the harvest while it's in season is the a great way to have seasonal fruits and vegetables during the off season. Here's a full guide to help you along your way.
How to Freeze Fruit and Vegetables
I love canning, I love dehydrating, but what I find myself doing the most often is freezing! Freezing is a favorite long term storage solution for seasonal fruits and vegetables. It's easy to do, you don't need a lot of supplies, and one of my favorite parts is that you can freeze small or large batches!
You don't need gallons and gallons of tomatoes to freeze like you might to do a batch of canning, you can put in one bag of fruits or vegetables at a time in the freezer. Before you know it, you'll have a freezer full of amazing fruits and vegetables to use all winter long.
Why should I freeze fruits and vegetables?
This provides a supply of a variety of foods when those fresh products are not readily available. When properly done, freezing can preserve most of the quality of the fresh product. This method is also easier than other preserving options (such as canning) and it tends to be more accessible to more people.
What fruits and vegetables shouldn’t I freeze?
- Irish Potatoes
- Parsley (unless doing it in oil, see here)
What supplies do I need to freeze?
- Marker or something to label food
- Packaging (such as: rigid containers such as plastic or glass, flexible freezer bags, vacuum packing)
How long are things good for in the freezer?
|Egg whites or yolks||12 months|
|Fish, fatty||2-3 months|
|Fish, lean||4-8 months|
|Ground or Stew Meat||3-4 months|
|Poultry, Cooked||1 month|
|Poultry, Uncooked||12 months|
How does freezing affect the food?
Freezing can cause a change in texture and color, moisture loss, and nutrient loss.
How does this method work? Freezing does not sterilize foods. It reduces the temperature of the food so that microorganisms cannot grown; however, many will survive. Enzyme activity is also slowed down.
Factors when Considering Freezing:
Relatively high energy cost
Medium preparation time
Short processing time
Closest to nutrient value of fresh product
|Raw Product FRUIT||Approximate Pounds needed for 1 Quart Jar or Container|
|Apples||2 ½- 3|
|Apricots||2- 2 ½|
|Berries (except Strawberries and cranberries)||1 ½- 3|
|Cantaloupes||1 large melon|
|Cherries||2- 2 ½|
|Figs||2- 2 ½|
|Grapefruit||4- 6 fruits|
|Peaches||2- 2 ½|
|Pears||2- 2 ½|
|Plums||2- 2 ½|
|Strawberries||6- 8 cups|
|Tomatoes||2 ½ - 3 ½|
|Raw Product VEGETABLES||Approximate Pounds Needed for 1 Quart Jar or Container|
|Beans, Green or Wax||1 ½ -2|
|Cabbage||2 ½ -3|
|Carrots||2 ½ -3|
|Cauliflower||2 medium heads|
|Peas, Field Green||3 ½ -4|
|Pumpkin||1 ½ -3|
|Squash, Summer||2-2 ½|
Tips when freezing:
- Cool cooked and blanched foods
- Package in appropriate freezer materials
- Remove as much air from containers as you can
- Most vegetables need to be blanched before freezing to help prevent loss of flavor, color, texture, and vitamins.
- Some fruits such as peaches, apples, pears, and apricots darken when exposed to air. They need to be placed in a solution to prevent discoloration. These may include ascorbic acid mixtures, citric acid, lemon juice, and steaming (if you’re going to cook the food before eating)
I have a few more in-depth posts on freezing specific things if you are interested. You can find them here:
- How to freeze apricots
- Hot to freeze green beans
- How to freeze bell peppers
- How to freeze asparagus
- How to freeze bananas
And there you have! One robust guide on how to freeze. I hope it encourages you to preserve some of the summer bounty for colder days. Pulling a bag of strawberries, zucchini, or cherries out in the middle of the winter is such a gift. And don't forget that learning how to freeze small amount of leftover food to prevent food waste is also a great skill to acquire!