Photo: Preserve the harvest the lazy way - freeze it!

Unless otherwise specified, almost all fruits and vegetables can be easily frozen in a single layer on a parchment-paper-lined cookie sheet.

Nothing reduces your table's footprint like putting up seasonal produce.

Waste-free. Locally focused. Affordable. It's no wonder food preservation is making a comeback!

The simplest way to keep food is to freeze it. Unlike canning or dehydrating, freezing requires no special kitchen skills or equipment (except a freezer) to effectively preserve the flavour of your summer bounty. Moreover, freezing fruits and vegetables immediately after harvesting preserves more nutrients than other processing methods!

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How to freeze produce

Unless otherwise specified, almost all fruits and vegetables can be easily frozen in a single layer on a parchment-paper-lined cookie sheet, and then transferred to a glass container for storage.

Freezer bags will provide the requisite tight seal to keep food fresh, but reusing glass is greener!

When investing in a deep freeze, make sure to look for an EnergyStar appliance and buy used if you can.

How to blanch produce

Some produce requires blanching before freezing. This deactivates the enzymes that lead to deterioration and destroys micro-organisms on the surface.

To blanch, boil the produce for a couple of minutes, then immediately submerge in ice water for the same amount of time it was boiled, to stop the cooking. Two minutes is the average time needed to kill the enzymes without overcooking the food. Where applicable, dry well before freezing.

How to freeze fruits and vegetables

You'll find detailed instructions for freezing everything from apples to zucchini in the How to freeze fruits and vegetables FAQ but, to get you started, here's my favourite way to preserve kale (freezing puréed kale or other leafy greens makes it easy to toss a few tablespoons into pasta sauce, soup and other recipes):

  1. Pull leafy greens away from the centre stem
  2. Purée with a splash of olive oil
  3. Transfer to ice cube trays, freeze
  4. Transfer to glass jar for storage

Join the conversation with your tips or questions about food preservation (freezing, canning, dehydrating or other) and you'll be entered to win a beautiful cherry pitter courtesy of the Homesteader's Emporium. You'll need this to put up those cherries!

Tovah Paglaro, a fellow Queen of Green

August 8, 2013

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Aug 29, 2013
9:14 AM

Do you cook the kale first? Otherwise how do you puree it? Francisca

Aug 14, 2013
10:58 AM

Thanks for the comments and questions! Celery should be cut into 1 inch pieces, then blanched for a about 3 minutes (so boiled for 3 minutes and then dunked in ice water for three minutes). To avoid glass cracking, take two precautions: (1) when adding liquids, leave plenty of space for it to expand when freezing, (2) make sure contents and glass are completely cooled before freezing Hope that helps. Happy harvest season!

Aug 12, 2013
1:28 PM

Well that picture of the tray of Blueberries could have been taken at my house. I’ve been picking, freezing, and packing away bags of blueberries. It’s a bumper crop this year in Deep River.

Aug 11, 2013
2:50 PM

Does celery need to be blanched or can I just dice it and freeze it, so I can later pop it into soups and stews?

Aug 09, 2013
3:43 PM

Are some glass containers better than others? What do you use? Is there a chance of the glass cracking?

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