I pulled out the squash plants and harvested the last of them and the green beans. I’ve been freezing what we don’t eat with each harvest. It’s the best way I know to keep the harvest for winter and not risk anything spoiling before we can eat it.
Here are the basics on freezing the harvest.
What to freeze –
You can freeze most vegetables from the garden – green beans, peas, tomatoes, peppers, squash – to name a few. Do not freeze cucumbers, lettuce and other soft greens, radishes or cabbage. The higher the water content, the more the produce will get soggy if frozen. Some, like potatoes, will freeze fine if you pre-cook them.
I blanche everything I freeze first. Blanching stops blocks the enzymes that cause the produce to lose color and texture.
Keep reading for specific instructions!
I pulled out the summer squash plants. They were starting to get powdery mildew and had slowed a lot in fruit production. I gathered all the fruits off the plant before I threw them away.
NOTE: Don’t ever compost any diseased leaves or yard debris. It will contaminate the entire batch and whatever you put it on.
At the same time I picked a few tomatoes, green beans and cucamelons. I grew San Marzano tomatoes (the best for cooking) and have been freezing those. The rest of the tomatoes and the cucamelons we’ve eaten and shared with our neighbors.
I’ve been freezing all summer long. As the fruits are harvested, I processed them as instructed below, then put them into a freezer bag. I dated the bag with the first date, but continued to add to the bag until it was full – then I started a new one. I’ve ended up with 3 quarts of green beans, 2 quarts of tomatoes and 2 quarts of squash. There are only two of us, so we will now be eating what we grew in the colder months ahead!
The freezing process –
Start by washing and cleaning all the vegetables. If you are going to cut them up, prepare them now.
Bring a large pot of very lightly salted water to a boil. While it’s boiling, prepare a large bowl with cold water and ice.
When everything is ready to go, carefully lower the vegetables into the boiling water. Let them cook for no more than 2 or 3 minutes. If you have cut them into small pieces, 1 minute is long enough. If it is a large item, like corn on the cob, give it 5 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon (a spider ladle is perfect for this), lift the vegetables out of the boiling water and place in the ice bath. Let them sit for about 5 minutes.
Lift them out and place on paper towels to dry.
Continue with all the remaining vegetables adding ice to the water bath as needed.
I like to place them in the freezer in a single layer on a wax paper or parchment lined baking sheet. Once they are nearly frozen, I place them in labeled, freezer storage bags.
Carefully push as much air out as possible (Be sure the bags are made for the freezer and that they will remain airtight).
By freezing before bagging, you can fill the bag completely, but still be able to use only the amount you need.
Move the labeled bags back to the freezer and use within one year.
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