Using your Freezer
I think that freezing food is so often overlooked when it comes to preserving food, yet it is something that we do all the time. The truth is that for things like frozen veg, freezing is actually a very healthy way preserving your harvest - if done correctly, much healthier than canning, as long as you follow one basic rule:
Freeze fast, defrost slow
the reason for this is that the sooner you can get your produce into the freezer, the more nutrients it will retain and the better quality it will be. However, when you are defrosting, the best option is always to defrost as slowly as possible. This is because the water in your food has expanded with freezing and a quick defrost can destroy the texture of your food. Let things defrost in the fridge and you will have much higher quality outcomes.
Essential Freezing Tips:
blanch your veg in hot water before freezing. This helps it keep its structure and prevents freezer burn
freeze small, loose items seperately on baking trays. This means that your items will not congeal in your bag
Label foods before freezing with the date and its contents.
use freezer friendly bags. If you can, a vacuum packer is a great investment. It not only helps save space in your freezer, but helps prevent freezer burn.
If freezing soups, stews and other dishes that are high in liquids, remember that when frozen, food expands, so be sure to leave headspace on your container to avoid bursting.
Keep freezer temperature at -18ºC (0ºF).
Remove as much air as possible from containers and bags of food to avoid spoilage and freezer burn.
Defrost your freezer according to manufacturer’s directions at least twice per year. – When in doubt, throw it out!
Produce Storage Times:
Vegetables: 6 to 12 months
Fruit: 6 to 12 months
Juices and juice concentrates: 6 to 12 months
Prepared smoothies: 1 month
Items high in water, like melon and citrus don’t freeze well.