An excerpt from an article in the Gettum Associate Home Front monthly house and home newsletter. You can FREE articles on household tips, advice and home improvement by signing
The best secret to purchasing summertime produce is to shop at local farmers markets, produce stands, or farming coops. Not only are you supporting your local famers, but you’re more likely to find; fresher produce, a wider selection, and more for your money.
Once, you’ve found a good supply, purchase additional fruits and vegetables to freeze for offseason. Here are a few helpful tips on freezing your summer produce.
Use freezer bags or package your produce in plastic food containers. Label it with a permanent marker with contents and date processed. Choose perfectly ripe produce, overripe or under ripe produce does not fare as well in the freezer. Choose vegetables wisely: vegetables that you usually cook are better candidates for freezing.
Berries: Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, loganberries, cranberries and strawberries. Rinse under ice-cold water if choosing berries that have been sprayed. Place berries on a baking sheet, freeze, and then transfer to freezer bag or container.
Cherries: Rinse in ice-cold water and pit the cherries. Place cherries on a baking sheet, freeze then transfer to freezer bag or container.
Melons: Watermelon is the only melon that does not freeze well. Simply peel casaba, Crenshaw, honeydew or cantaloupe, remove the seeds and cut into slices chunks or balls. Place in freezer bag or container.
Peaches: Cut an X into the bottom of each peach. Place in a large pot of boiling water for 30 seconds. Remover, allow to cool slightly and peel off the skin. Slice in half and remove the pit. Cut into slices or cubes. Toss with a tablespoon or two of lemon juice to prevent browning. Place in freezer bag or container.
Freezing Vegetables: While most vegetables require a quick blanch and then a plunge into an ice bath, some vegetable require a longer cooking process before freezing. This includes root vegetables like beets. Timing is very important when blanching; under-blanching actually stimulates enzyme activity, while over blanching causes loss of flavor, color and valuable nutrients. For additional tips on freezing vegetables check out these tips from GardenGuide at http://ow.ly/6jji.