Why choose freezing?
Freezing food is quick, easy and convenient. Frozen, unprocessed fruits and vegetables keep much of the original food value for a long time, often having more nutritional content than produce stored in your fridge. This makes it possible to have a great variety of seasonal foods, all year long.
- Freezing greatly reduces the growth of yeasts, bacteria and molds that can grow on food surfaces. Growth is almost stopped at -18°C or lower; however, most microorganisms continue to grow again as temperatures rise (ie. thawing).
- Freezing slows respiration and the activity of the enzymes that cause ripening in fruit and vegetables.
- Control enzyme activity (blanch or add natural preservatives)
- Control oxidation (store in airtight containers)
- Control ice crystal size (keep your freezer at constant temperature (-18°C or lower))
- Control freezer burn (package in proper containers)
For long term quality, both fruits and vegetables have different needs.
Steps to successful freezing
- Select fresh, high-quality foods.
- Prepare foods quickly but carefully (cleaning, cutting, blanching, packing - see below for detailed instructions).
- Package in odorless, tasteless, moisture-proof, vapour-proof packaging to prevent dehydration or absorbing flavours.
- Freeze at -18°C or lower ASAP (if delay place package in the fridge as soon as it is sealed).
- Store at -18°C or lower with as little temperature fluctuation as possible.
- Thaw carefully and use it soon after thawing.
- Cook according to directions. Do not overcook frozen vegetables.
Fruits and vegetables have different needs. Almost all vegetables require blanching before freezing, with a few exceptions. Blanching is a process where food is plunged first into hot boiling water and then cooled rapidly in ice water to stop the cooking process. Some fruits brown during frozen storage (ie. apples, peaches, apricots). This can be avoided by adding natural preservatives such as salt, sugar, or lemon juice/ascorbic acid. Fruit can also be packed in sugar syrup to prevent browning.
- Plastic freezer bags – Press out as much air as possible, twist top several times and fold over in a loop. Secure with metal closure.
- Freezer wrappings (aluminum foil, freezer paper, plastic film) – Fold over edges forming a tight seal and leaving as little air space as possible. Seal with masking tape.
- Freezer containers (plastic, aluminum foil, cardboard) – Square/rectangle containers store more compactly then round. Select either flexible or rigid plastic with tight-fitting lids or cardboard with thick plastic coating or lined with plastic to prevent drying out. When packing liquids leave 1-2cm headspace.
We've included recipes to get you started. In the next tab, we've come up with some Alternative ways to use common produce and ice cubes are a great way to add pizzaz to any iced drink. Use these as ideas and get creative!