Dos and Don’ts of Freezing Your Vegetable Harvest

Ready to harvest those veggies? Try freezing them to enjoy long after the summer days are gone!

Are you starting to get more veggies than you can use during this time of year?  No problem! Just learn how to preserve through freezing. It’s a pretty simple solution, and it’s much less involved than going the canning route. Here are some basics Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to freezing veggies. Good luck with your harvest! Here’s how to freeze tomatoes.

DO blanch most veggies before you freeze them. Blanching time will vary from just 1-2 minutes for zucchini and spinach to 7-9 minutes for artichokes.

DON’T store your food in cheap plastic bags. Use freezer bags, which offer more protection.

DO make sure your bags and containers are tightly sealed, and try to eliminate excess air from freezer bags. Your produce will last longer.

DO use parchment paper to layer veggies like broccoli and cauliflower in containers.

DON’T forget to label! You might easily be able to tell carrots and peas from beets and beans right now, but in a few months from now, all bets are off. Be sure to put the date on the label, too.

DON’T freeze veggies that are too ripe or mature. You’ll get best results when you freeze younger ones—small potatoes, crisp-tender peppers, young corncobs.

DO ask at the farmers market if you can buy in bulk when it comes to freezing. A vendor will probably be happy to sell you a whole bushel of tomatoes to make puree.

DON’T think frozen veggies will last forever. It’s best to use them within six to eight months.

DO take a class. This time of year, many garden clubs, rec departments and Master Gardener groups offer classes on food harvesting and preservation. Look for one to learn the ropes from a local expert.

DON’T be afraid to try freezing in jars. Freezer jam is a nice way to preserve fruit. Instead of sealing the jars, you just freeze, thaw and serve. But fruit isn’t the only thing you can do this with. We recommend finding a good book for a little more guidance. You can also get some good resources online at the Ball website. Or try canning your vegetables.

DO store your foods in a freezer that maintains 0° and is two-thirds full for the best quality.

Stacy Tornio
Stacy Tornio is a freelance writer and author with more than 15 gardening and outdoorsy books. She tries to get as much sunshine as possible and is currently on a quest to see all the national parks in North America.