In the middle of winter, there is nothing quite like baking with local produce that you froze in the summer months. From Peaches and Cream Baked Oatmeal and Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble to Blueberry Muffins and Raspberry Lime Bread, there are so many great ways to capture one of the best parts of summer and enjoy it all year round. When we went to the St. Jacob Farmers Market last month, I was able to stock up on blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, peaches, corn and sweet peppers to stock up our freezer. Yes, you can even do vegetables! Freezing is also a great way to save some of your own garden’s bounty as well!
When we went to the St. Jacobs Farmers Market last month, I was able to stock up on blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, peaches, corn and sweet peppers to stock up our freezer. Yes, you can even do vegetables! Freezing is also a great way to save some of your own garden’s bounty as well!
Flash freezing involves freezing individual pieces of food separately, so that you’re able to take out just as much as you need for a recipe, instead of thawing a whole block of it. The frozen pieces are then stored in an airtight container or plastic freezer bag for up to a year.
I’m going to show you how I freeze berries in the summer, with a list of other fruits and vegetables you can freeze at the end of the post. I love using frozen berries in my morning smoothies, baking recipes or even as a quick snack. Frozen blueberries are a great treat!
In a large colander, wash berries under cold water.
Place berries on a large piece of paper towel and lightly roll them around to dry. Pick out any fruit that looks bruised or squished.
Lay dried berries in a single layer on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet.
Place in the freezer for 30 minutes or until firm. Be sure to set them on a flat surface or they can roll off your sheet!
I used the same method with raspberries and strawberries. With the strawberries, remove the tops and slice the berries prior to freezing. (I freeze the tops too as a treat for the chickens. They love to bob for them in cold water on hot summer days!)
Once fruit is frozen, transfer immediately to a plastic freezer bag and return to the freezer. If you let them sit out too long, they’ll start to thaw and the berries will stick together. Use within one year of freezing.
Berries are one of my favourite things to freeze, but there are plenty of other fruits and vegetables this will work for too. Keep in mind that most vegetables require blanching to neutralize bacteria and enzymes.
Berries – Raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, currants, cranberries, cherries (pitted) can all be frozen using the above method.
Peaches and Apricots – To remove the skins prior to freezing, dip them in boiling hot water for 1 minute, remove with a slotted spoon and place in cold water for another minute. This will make it easier to remove the skins. Slice, arrange on a lined baking sheet and freeze. (You can see step-by-step instructions on how I do it here)
Rhubarb – Remove leaves and wash. Thinly slice and freeze.
Corn – Have some leftover corn-on-the-cob from dinner? Cut the cooked kernels off the cob with a sharp knife and freeze in the same method as above.
Peppers – Wash peppers and dice. Freeze and use in omelettes, frittatas, stir fries, rice pilafs and pasta sauces
Green Beans – Trim ends off beans. Blanche beans by placing them into a boiling pot of hot water for two minutes, then promptly remove and place in a cold water bath for two minutes to stop the cooking process. Dry on paper towel and freeze.
Broccoli and Cauliflower – Cut into florets, blanche like the beans and freeze.
Bananas – Peel and freeze whole or sliced. They can be used in smoothies, Chocolate Covered Banana Bites, baking or whip up in the food processor for banana “ice cream”.
Mangoes and Pineapple – Slice as you normally would and freeze.
Meats – You can also freeze individual portions of meats. If I’m making homemade burgers, I’ll double the recipe and freeze some with wax paper in between each patty. You can buy value packs of chicken breasts on sale and freeze individual portions as well. If I cook a ham, I dice up the leftovers and freeze them too. If you freeze peppers, you can add those with the ham and a little cheese for a quick Western omelette!