freezing in the garden wdev vermont radio talk

Freezing Your Harvest (In the Garden 2018 Episode 12)

Original Air Date: July 28, 2018

Why Freeze?

Freezing your harvest is easy and rewarding.  I recommend it for everyone.  My own personal favorite is freezing Pesto; I make and freeze 30 – 1 cup containers for the winter from 16 plants that fill a 4×4 bed.  It is simple to make and freeze and get rewarded every week throughout the winter.

Tomatoes are ridiculously easy to freeze.  I wash them, fill a gallon bag and throw them in the freezer.  When I’m ready to use them as soon as they begin to thaw I slip off the skins so there is no peeling.  In this case freezing is temporary storage until I use the tomatoes to can Salsa in a big batch. 

What to Freeze

We freeze soup stocks, apple cider, shitake mushrooms and tons of greens from kale, collards and swiss chard and some years when we have plenty we freeze spinach too. We also freeze peppers, beans, broccoli, and cauliflower when we have a good harvest (but dry our hot peppers). Most vegetables need to be ‘blanched’ before they are frozen.  Blanching is a quick dip in boiling water and cooled in icy cold water before freezing. 

When we have enough blueberries, strawberries or raspberries to freeze, we first put them on a cookie sheet and freeze them then bag or box them, that way they remain loose and easy to pour out as you use them rather than freeze up into a lump.  I prefer the plastic freezer boxes to plastic bags because the bags tend to slip around and fall out of the freezer! The Boxes stay put and are easy to label, and last for years.  So, call in and let me know what’s your favorite freezer foods. 

One surprise, we found by accident or desperation you might say, was a great use for those ‘whoops’ zucchinis, you know the ones!  The zukes that are the size of a bat. We blanch them and put them in the food processor and bag them in one-gallon plastic bags, we use these as a soup stock for THE creamiest texture you can get.  The flavor is mild enough to use for any kind of soup you make. 

Oh, and one last tip – DATE and LABEL everything, really, you won’t remember.  Freezing in one more tool in the gardeners tool box to preserve food for the winter.