Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Tutorial Tuesday: Flash Freezing

Truth be told, we purchased a second (4 cubic foot, a little guy that fits under the staircase in our basement) freezer, shortly after I began spend coupons like they were going out of style, although I assure you that coupon spending will NEVER go out of style... Amen?

Anyway, I was able to purchase bulk quantities of meat, along with other items- for pennies on the dollar, and store them for later consumption! One of the greatest benefits to having extra 'frozen tundra' storage is to stockpile fresh fruits and vegetables when they are in season and inexpensive, for yummy and healthy eating later in the year!

Last year I saved some fresh picked strawberries, blueberries, green peppers, squash, green beans and celery... but I know much I missed cooking and baking with these frozen gems once we had eaten all of them! This year, I plan to purchase much more of our favorites to freeze for the slim pickin's produce selection come Winter. (These blackberries cost $3)

So, as produce seasons peak over the next few months, my plan is to over purchase and Flash Freeze!

Last week I purchased two large containers of blackberries (don't worry, they are on sale again this week at Meijer!) while they were in the peak of season and on sale! We have blueberry and banana allergies in our home- which makes selecting fruit to make muffins tricky, but blackberry or strawberry muffins are delicious!

To prep your fruit (or veggies) for freezing, first begin by washing your fruit well!


The next, really important step, is to pat your fruit dry. You don't want icicles forming on your freshly picked fruit!

Place your fruit either on a baking sheet or on a plate. I prefer to use a plate because it fits into my freezer more easily! Make sure that none of your fruit pieces are touching.

Individually frozen pieces of fruit means that you will easily be able to pull out the exact amount of fruit that your recipe calls for without having to separate your fruit in individual freezer bags.


Label your fruit and add the date of packing! Come November I'm going to be happily baking blackberry muffins for my family!

Do YOU flash freeze? Is flash freezing something that YOU are interested in doing this year?

15 comments:

Heather

I do this with stawberries from the u-pick farm every summer. So much better (and cheaper) than what you get in the store. I think I'm down to my last baggie but another month or two and we can go pick some more.

Julie

Last summer I froze lots of blackberries. I hope to freeze strawberries this year.

If your family adores blackberries and you have space in your yard, plant a blackberry bush or two. We got some by mistake (the catalog company sent the wrong plants, but we didn't know that until they started producing blackberries). They followed the three-year perennial plan: first year - sleep, second year - creep, third year - leap. From August through October last year, we ate fresh berries, made jam with them, froze them, and gave them away and still had too many left.

Laura Webber

Great idea Julie!

We have a Mulberry tree in our neighborhood that I picked quite a few Mulberries from last year... they are delicious too!

Becky C

My husband asked the other day, "can you please buy some frozen fruit for smoothies?" I gladly replied, "there are bags and bags of frozen strawberries and blueberries in the freezer from when they were on sale." :-)

Laura Webber

AWESOME!

Tamara

I just saw the blackberries in the paper today and got so excited! They are my favorite.
I am going to do this. Thanks for the step by step.

Ellen

I've done lots of various berries & pineapple chunks. With the peppers & celery...do you blanche these first & let them dry before flash-freezing?

Chris

I'm confused. How long do you let keep them on the plate in the freezer before you transfer them to the freezer bags?

Laura Webber

I've never blanched veggies, but I need to look into that! I freeze the fruit pieces until they are frozen solid... several hours to over night!

Anonymous

I do this with blueberries. I buy the enormous containers from Costco and do the exact same thing. This makes it much easier to just pull out what you need from the freezer bag. I do wash them first and dry with paper towels; I also allow them to air dry a bit before popping them into the freezer. I use a large cookie sheet to put them on for the freezer so I can freeze a lot at one time.

BTW, I am saving your seed starter tutorial for next year. I didn't have enough time to put these together for this year. I'll be saving containers for a few months this fall and winter in preparation. Great idea!

We garden at a local community garden and have to wait until Memorial Day weekend...the only drawback with this garden, really. We're excited! I also wanted to ask you if you planted pumpkins last year? If so, how did they turn out? Ours didn't, and I'm trying to figure out why.

Thanks, Laura!

Laura Webber

Hi Anonymous,
Brilliant idea using the flash freezing technique year round with Costco purchases!

I'm glad you'll be gardening again this year, it is so worth it! Last year was a bummer of a gardening year because it really didn't get that hot- hopefully this year will be better!

My pumpkin plants grew to over 20 feet long, but every time I would get a little pumpkin, and squirrel would eat it! (I hate squirrels!)

Keep in mind that pumpkins (and squash/zucchini) have male and female flowers (funny, but they are anatomically correct on the inside of the flower), and only the female flowers can produce fruit! Mind blowing, huh?

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