There are SO many reasons why freezing vegetables is a good idea – it means you can take advantage of great sale prices and stock up, save money by limiting food waste and can make throwing dinner together that little bit easier. So clear out the Zooper Doopers in the freezer and make room for frozen vegetables, here’s your simple guide to freezing vegetables with ease!
DIY frozen vegetables – it’s not as hard as you think
Sure, you can just throw your vegetables in the freezer but the results won’t be as great as taking a little bit of time to prepare them for freezing properly. By freezing vegetables, you’re effectively stopping time, preventing them from ageing. You want frozen vegetables to retain nutrients, be colourful and still taste delicious when you use them, and not limp and dull. So what do you need? Y’all need to know how to blanch and bag!
Blanching and storing frozen vegetables
Blanching vegetables sounds fancy and Masterchef-like, but it’s really not. It’s also an integral process in freezing fresh vegetables that you don’t want to miss. Blanching is simply bringing a big pot of water to a boil, cooking your vegetables for one to two minutes, and then plunging those vegetables into ice water until thoroughly chilled. That’s it! Once chilled, freeze on a tray and then pack frozen vegetables in resealable bags or air-tight containers. Blanching aside, you can also freeze cooked vegetables when mashed or pureed!
12 vegetables you can freeze with ease
1. Brussel sprouts – These are a brilliant green to freeze. Remove the outer leaves of the sprouts before blanching and watch them become a brilliant green for the brief minute they’re plunged into boiling water.
2. Celery – In all honesty, celery doesn’t freeze well for retaining its crisp structure BUT is still great for adding to soups and casseroles for a hit of flavour. Be sure to slice it or dice it before freezing so you can just dump them straight into your slow cooker or pot.
3. Broccoli – One of the easiest vegetables to freeze, broccoli heads can simply be cut into florets, blanched and frozen. Do not forget the stalks either – they can be cut into batons and used for stir-fry. Cook direct from frozen to boil or bake. Yum!
4. Cauliflower – Just like broccoli you can cut it into florets and freeze to boil or create family-favourite dishes like cauliflower cheese or cauliflower soup later. You can also blitz blanched cauliflower florets in a food processor to make cauliflower rice before freezing.
5. Onions – Like celery, onions can be frozen but their texture changes. If you have way too many onions to use before they start to get soft, dice them and freeze them for future soup and casserole needs.
6. Corn – One of my favourite frozen vegetables, you can remove the husks and silky threads from corn ears, cut the kernels straight from the corn cob and blanch them for future use. Alternatively, cut the corn cob into halves or thirds for kid-sized corn cobettes. Frozen vegetables can be fun!
7. Spinach Leaves – Hands up if your weekly bag of baby spinach leaves often get tossed at the end of the week? GOOD NEWS, if it’s still edible and not mushy or gross, just pop the bag straight into your freezer (no blanching). Next time you’re cooking pasta, or making a smoothie or a cob loaf dip, snap off some of those baby spinach leaves and add them in.
8. Carrots – These can be frozen with no worries at all and are a great frozen vegetable to have cut a couple of different ways before freezing. Cut them into slices for an easy boil to plate option and cutting them into a small dice is also a handy option for including extra sneaky vegetables into casseroles and pasta sauces!
9. Leeks – Just like if you were to use them fresh, cut the leeks and give them a good rinse to wash out any dirt before blanching. Brilliant for adding to chicken pie and quiches, leeks are always a frozen vegetable win!
10. Pumpkin – Again, one of the most versatile frozen vegetables out there, pumpkin is a fantastic all-rounder to have frozen in a few different cuts. Peel and dice it before blanching for adding to pasta sauces, cut into a larger bite-sized chunk or cut into large wedges for roasting. SO YUM.
11. Zucchini – Anyone who grows zucchini will inevitably experience a time when they just have too much zucchini to handle. Dice it up and freeze it for future soups and casseroles!
12. Peas & Beans – These can also be frozen with ease. I’m forever freezing beans to prevent wastage and they always come up a treat when cooked. Eat them as is or add them to casseroles and curries!
How can I use frozen vegetables?
For the most part, you can use frozen vegetables just as you would fresh vegetables! There’s no need to defrost vegetables before cooking them, they can be cooked straight away from boiling, steaming or even roasting in the oven or air fryer. So handy and convenient!