Learn how to prepare various fruits and vegetables for freezing in your home freezer.
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Learn the Basics of Freezing Your Fruits and Vegetables

Part 5 of "How to Can Fruits and Vegetables From Your Garden."

Freezing Fruits and Vegetables
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Freezing food is a great way of preserving if you do not want to can it. In my opinion is somewhat easier than canning, but foods do not keep as long. The reason you can preserve food by freezing it is because organism that cause spoilage become inactive. As long as the food stays frozen, this bacteria will not grow. Once you thaw the food out, however, bacteria will start to grow again.

Before freezing your fruits and vegetables, you should be aware of some changes that will occur in your harvest. After freezing, foods become mushy because ice crystals damage its cells. Also, if you leave you food in the freezer too long,and if it has been packaged in an inadequate container, it will freezer burn; the color and taste of the food will change for the worse. The food will still be safe to eat at this point,however it will not be as appealing.

Freezing is fairly simple, and you do not need a lot of equipment to get started--just a freezer and containers to freeze in. I usually use plastic bags to freeze in, however you can use just about anything you have on hand. You can freeze in canning jars, cardboard boxes, plastic containers (like butter tubs and cottage cheese containers,) plastic bags, aluminum foil, plastic wrap or freezer paper. Thick plastic bags are best, but if you only have thin ones, double them up. No matter what container you use, you will need to keep in mind that food expands when it is frozen, and you will nned to leave ample room for this. If you don't, your food will expand during the freezing process, leaking out of the containers and all over your freezer; you will have an icey mess to clean up.

Freezing Fruits

Most fruits will darken after they are cut, so you will need to prevent this by using an antidarkening agent. I usually soak cut fruit in a solution of water and botted lemon juice (about 1 tsp. per quart), but you can use commercial antidarkening agents such as Fruit Fresh. Both work with great results.

Sugar is added to some fruit to help retain color and to enhance taste. You can either add sugar to the fruit and mix it in, or you can mix sugar and water together to form a syrup and pour it over the fruit.


Syrup Recipe

Peppers:
Wash, cut out seeds, and chop. Pack into containers, leaving no headspace.


Pumpkin:
Wash pumpkin and cut into quarters. Cook until soft by either boiling, steaming, or baking. Press through a sieve. Cool and pack into containers, leaving 1/2-inch headspace.


Sweet potatoes:
Wash sweet potatoes and cook until almost tender. Cool in cold water and peel. Slice,mash, or leave sweet potatoes whole. To prevent darkening, dip sweet potatoes in lemon juice or Fruit Fresh for about 5 seconds. If sweet potatoes and mashed, just add 2 T. lemon juice to a quart of sweet potatoes. Pack into containers, leaving 1/2-inch headspace.


Tomatoes:
Wash, remove stem ends, and blanch for 3-4 minutes. Cool in cold water and remove skins. Quarter, halve or leave whole. Pack into containers leaving 1/2-inch headspace.

Tomatoes, stewed:
Wash, remove stem ends, and blanch for 3-4 minutes. Cool in cold water and remove skins. Quarter and cook until tender (about 20 minutes.)Place the pan of cooked tomatoes in cold water to cool, and pack into containers, leaving 1/2-inch headspace.




Other Links You May Find Helpful

Introduction on Canning Fruits and VegetablesPage 1 of "How to Can and Freeze Fruits and Vegetables from Your Garden." This page talks about what you should know before you begin to can.

How to Can Vegetables Using a Pressure CannerPage 2 of "How to Can and Freeze Fruits and Vegetables from Your Garden." This talks about canning vegetables using a pressure canner.

How to Can Vegetables Using a Boiling Water CannerPage 3 of "How to Can and Freeze Fruits and Vegetables from Your Garden. This page talks about canning vegetables using a boiling water canner.

How to Can FruitPage 4 of "How to Can Fruits and Vegetables from Your Garden." This page talks about canning fruit.

How to Freeze Fruits and Vegetables from Your Garden.Page 5 of "How to Can and Freeze Fruits and Vegetables from Your Garden." This page talks about freezing basics and "how-to's."

How to Make Jams and Jellies Page 6 of "How to Can and Freeze Fruits and Vegetables from Your Garden." This page talks about the tips and tricks of making homemade jams and jellies.

How to Make Pickles and RelishPage 7 of "How to Can and Freeze Fruits and Vegetables from Your Garden." This page talks about pickling.

How to Dehydrate Fruits and Vegetables from Your Garden.Page 8 of "How to Can and Freeze Fruits and Vegetabes frm Your Garden." This page talks about drying and lists dtying times for fruits and vegetables.

How to Make lye Soap and Other Homemade Concoctions Page 9 of "How to Can and Freeze Fruits and Vegetables from Your Garden." This page talks about making lye soap and other old-fashioned, homemade concoctions and remedies.

Home Processing Troubleshooting GuidePage 10 of "How to Can and Freeze Fruits and Vegetables from Your Garden." This page answers your questions about canning and freezing garden produce.

Other Home Canning Links This site lists other links that you may find helpful.