Besides lacto-fermentation, a great way to preserve your harvest is freezing! Learning how to freeze food will allow you to retain most of the nutrients and allow you to keep foods in their raw state. I like freezing organic foods when I can find them so I don’t have to resort to pesticide, gmo, grossness in a pinch.
Packaging: Most things I will mention can be frozen in cheap freezer bags. Everything else (or if you prefer) you can put in other freezable containers.
Produce that can be frozen whole:
Berries: If you were urban foraging or growing, your wild or cultivated berries will do great frozen. Blackberries, blueberries, huckleberries, raspberries, cranberries, currants, salal berries etc, all make antioxidant rich additions to your diet throughout the year. It is a good idea to freeze them flat on a tray before putting them in your freezer bags so they don’t freeze together in big clumps!
Other produce that freeze well whole are:
- Strawberres (dump them in your smoothies with the green top and all!
- Bananas (I like peeling these because its easier to grab a piece for my smoothie, but they can be frozen with the peel and taken out to thaw for banana bread, cookies etc)
- Chili peppers
- Corn (can be shucked or kept whole)
- How to freeze produce that needs chopping and blanching: Most veggies like to be blanched by putting the chopped veggies in boiling water for a couple minutes and then a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Freezing foods flat before putting them into your freezer bags is a good idea to keep them from freezing together.
- Chopping up fruit and veggies is a great way to have quick, healthy, precut food in a rush! Add your pre-cut veggies to stir fries, omelettes, soups, etc.
- Fruits that brown such as apples, avocados, bananas etc., can be chopped and dipped in a bowl of 4 cups water to 1 TBSP of fresh lemon juice. This will stop the browning.
- The fruit wont come out of the freezer with the same texture as it went in, so eat slightly frozen or they are fantastic for baking, healthy desserts and are the perfect things to have on hand in small baggies for on the go smoothies! (Put a banana, a hand full of spinach, some berries or other fruit in a baggie to freeze. Toss it in your blender with some water or juice for a healthy one minute meal!)
- If you have a lot of fruit trees: A healthy way to use some of the fruit is to juice them and freeze in containers or old milk jugs. Have fresh, non-pasturized juice whenever you want! You can also pour them into popsicle molds for the kids! Toss a few green leaves into that juicer, and you have a great healthy treat for those hot summer days!
- Butter/Margarine: No trick here, just stick the whole package in the freezer in freezer bags and remove when you’re ready to use.
- Block Cheese: I like to freeze my raw cheese because I can’t get it everywhere, so I stock up when I find it! When freezing cheese, grate it before you freeze it, otherwise it will crumble. Add a tablespoon of arrowroot powder or flour to the bag and shake it to prevent clumping. If you want solid cheese, I have heard you can thaw it completely before putting it into the fridge.
- Cream Cheese: Cream cheese is something that you can freeze, but the texture might not be the same when thawed.
- Milk: Most milk jugs are actually made to be frozen. They have those little dimples. But if yours doesn’t, it’s a good idea to pour about 1 cup of milk out before freezing.
- Yogurt: Yogurt seems to freeze nicely. You can thaw it regularly, or instead, pour extra yogurt into popsicle molds with a little orange juice for a healthy alternative to creamsicles 🙂
- Herbs Freeze fresh herbs on parchment paper on a tray. Once frozen you can keep them in little containers for fresh herbs all year long! Lastly, I want to mention Ginger root! Since I never seem to be able to use a whole root before it goes bad, an easy way is to just toss it in the freezer in a small container! Just take it out and grate it, skin and all on the smallest grating size for a fresh, gingery flavor to your favorite dishes any time! This works well with lemon zest too. You can freeze lemons whole! But you can also cut them into wedges or slices, freeze flat on a parchment lined tray, and once frozen, put them into freezer bags
- Check out my post on balcony gardening to find out how to get a high yield of produce even when you live in an apartment!
- What are your favorite freezer food tips? Let us know in the comments below.