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How To Enjoy Your Garden All Winter Long

Who else wants to enjoy the great taste (and health benefits) of garden fruits and vegetables all year long?

It’s easy to do, if you have a freezer.

Not everything you grow in your garden will retain its flavour, texture and nutrients, though. This short blog will give you some valuable insight into how to make your best choices.

The most important first step is to harvest your young crops and process them quickly. Most fruits and vegetables can be safely stored and eaten weeks later without any further work on your part.

If, however, you hope to enjoy the fruits of your green thumb throughout the dead of winter, you should plan on perfecting your blanching skills (boiling food for a certain amount of time, then plunging it into ice water to stop the cooking process). Blanching will kill bacteria and inactivate enzymes while protecting nutrients, texture and taste. (See link here)

The following list will help you to decide which vegetables to choose for your first foray into fresh food preservation:

broccoli

  1. Vegetables members of the brassica family such as broccoli and cauliflower are good choices for freezing.

Blanching broccoli usually takes about 5 min. where cauliflower takes around 3 min. (Note: Add a tiny amount of lemon juices to the cauiflower to keep the colour.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

tomato2.    Nightshade members such as tomatoes will not need to be blanched. Freeze them whole, halved or quartered.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

peppers3.   Peppers on the other hand will take around 3 min. after slicing and removing the seeds but blanching is not necessary if you are planning on consuming them within a few weeks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


swiss chard
4.   Goosefoot members such as spinach and swiss chard will not need to be blanched.

  • Just cook the leaves until they become soft
  • squeeze out excess water
  • package
  • freeze

 

 

 

 

 

pole beans5.   Legumes such as bush beans and pole beans will take 3 min to blanche or, if eaten within 3 – 4 months, they can simply be frozen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

snap peas6.   Snap peas should take 2 min to blanche if  you pick them young, prior to the string developing. If you consume them within 5 – 6 months, then there’s no need to blanche them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

zucchini7.   If you pick small vine crops such as zucchini, after blanching them for 5 min. you can freeze them whole and use them within 6 months.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

carrot8. Root crops such as carrots, will take around 5 min. but would last 12 months frozen if not blanched.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

herbs9.   An option to preserve fresh herbs is to pick and pack them into ice cube trays. Once frozen, transfer the ice cube to a freezer bag and use them as needed throughout the off season months.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Planning on freezing your vegetables? Send us photos and we may feature you on an upcoming vitagardens blog!