Recently here at Curiously Creatively, there has been some new activity on the kitchen front, specifically, vegetable freezing. Now, before you get your hopes up that we had a bumper harvest of all kinds of wonderful green stuff, I have to admit that I am talking about purchased vegetables. As I mentioned in a previous garden post, this has not been as productive a year as we were intending. Therefore, dear reader, I am going to discuss using a supermarket’s (it shall be nameless, however) ‘reduced to clear’ vegetables or even any two for one offers available. I probably should have thought of this before, but I have realised that when supermarkets mark down large quantities of vegetables still in decent condition, then there is a brilliant opportunity to have a go at home freezing. Obviously the key thing here is that the food should be still in good condition (sometimes items are marked down simply as a way of clearing excess stock).
Home freezing is not a culinary activity, at which I am either very skilled or experienced but it seems silly not to have a go. It can be handy to have a decent supply of vegetables in the freezer to add interest or bulk to a dish. You could also easily throw together a soup or a casserole by utilizing what is in store in the freezer, together with tinned pulses from your store cupboard. That is always assuming that you are organised enough to remember what food you have frozen. Am I the only person that sometimes unearths long-forgotten containers from the back of the freezer? Sometimes unlabelled, unrecognisable items at that.
So what vegetables did I try freezing? As I had a glut of parsnips and carrots for the very good reason mentioned above, that seemed to be a good place to begin. I bought a new double handle, heavy based stockpot earlier in the year, which seemed ideal for the purposes of blanching vegetables. It is important to immerse your chopped vegetables into boiling water, not put them into water and then bring to the boil. I found a couple of useful websites with hints and tips for freezing, as I don’t have a general cookery manual (I think something like Delia Smith’s complete cookery course would be useful). The ever-reliable Good Housekeeping website has a good, succinct description of how to freeze vegetables, which I found useful.
I was not as organised during the freezing process as I should have been, in that I failed to get a supply of ice cubes ready to chill the vegetables after blanching. I have also discovered that I have an un-willingness to leave the vegetables boiling in the plan for only the required three minutes. The result is that my veg is more par-boiled than blanched, which I don’t really mind. It will cut down on cooking time anyway. I did forget to follow one tremendously useful tip, which is to spread out the cooled vegetables on a tray to enable you to freeze them without sticking together. You then bag them afterwards, for perfectly free-flowing vegetables. Sadly, I think mine will be somewhat clumped together as I packaged them straight away. You live and learn as they say! The pictures here show my finished results, including some of our miniature strawberries which we just pop into the freezer without any preparation.
Advice about what you can and cannot freeze can tend to be contradictory. For instance, on scouring the internet I have found a difference of opinion on the feasibility of freezing onions and any variety of pepper. Similarly, opinion varies about freezing chives (which I have recently done when I divided some plants). These caveats seem to be because of flavour loss rather than any more serious issues. I suppose really, it is up to you to experiment and to discover what works and what does not. Anyway, I will continue with my freezing experiments, who knows, next year I may even have my own home grown vegetables to freeze…
Let me know if you have done any home freezing!
Picture Credits: Curiously Creatively