|Table 1. Vegetable freezing guide. (Note: Blanching times given are for 5,000 feet or higher. At altitudes below 5000 feet, subtract one minute from times given.)|
Select young, tender stalks with compact tips. Remove or break off tough ends and scales. Wash thoroughly. Sort for size. Cut to fit containers or in 2-inch lengths. Blanch medium stalks 4 minutes in boiling water, 5 minutes in steam. Blanch large stalks 5 minutes in boiling water, 6 minutes in steam. Cool and drain dry. Pack without head space, alternating tips and stem ends of spears.
Select young, tender string less beans. Wash thoroughly, remove ends, sort for size. Cut into 1- to 2-inch pieces, leave whole, or slice into lengthwise strips. Water blanch 4 minutes. Chill and drain. Dry pack with head space, or tray pack.
Select well-filled pods containing green beans. Wash, shell and sort. Water blanch 3-5 minutes, depending on size. Cool and drain dry. Tray pack or dry pack with head space.
Select firm, well-filled, bright green pods. Wash. Water blanch 6 minutes. Cool and drain. Squeeze soybeans out of pods. Dry pack with head space, or tray pack.
Select beets 3 inches in diameter or less. Wash, sort for size. Remove tops, leaving 1/2-inch stems. Cook in boiling water until tender: 25-30 minutes for small beets, 45-50 minutes for medium-sized beets. Cool and drain, peel, slice or cube. Dry pack with head space.
Select tender, dark green stalks. Wash, peel and trim stalks. To remove insects from heads, soak 30 minutes in a solution of 4 teaspoons salt per gallon of water. Rinse and drain. Split lengthwise into pieces not more than 1 1/2 inches across. Blanch in steam 6 minutes or boiling water 4 minutes. Cool and drain. Dry or tray pack without head space.
Select green, firm, compact heads. Wash, trim. Soak in salt solution (see broccoli) 30 minutes to drive out insects. Rinse and drain. Water blanch 4-6 minutes depending on size of head. Cool and drain. Dry pack without head space.
Wash. Trim coarse outer leaves of solid heads. Cut heads into medium or coarse shreds, thin wedges or separate into leaves. Water blanch 2 1/2 minutes. Cool and drain. Dry pack with head space.
Select tender, mild-flavored carrots. Remove tops, wash and peel. Leave whole if small, dice or slice larger carrots 1/4-inch thick. Water blanch whole carrots 6 minutes, diced or sliced carrots 3 minutes. Cool and drain. Dry pack with head space.
Choose firm, tender, snow-white heads. Break or cut into pieces 1 inch across. Wash well. Soak 1/2 hour in salt solution (see broccoli) if needed to drive out insects. Rinse and drain. Blanch 4 minutes in boiling water containing 4 teaspoons salt per gallon of water. Cool and drain. Dry pack without head space.
Husk, remove silk, trim ends and wash. Water blanch 5 minutes. Cool and drain. Cut kernels from cob. Dry pack with head space, or tray pack.
Corn on the cob
Husk, remove silk, wash, and sort for size. Water blanch small ears 8 minutes, medium ears 10 minutes and large ears 12 minutes. Cool and drain. Pack in plastic freezer bags without head space.
Peel, cut into slices 1/3-inch thick. To preserve color, drop pieces into a solution of 4 teaspoons salt per gallon of water. Water blanch 5 minutes in the same proportions of salt and water. Cool and drain. Tray pack or dry pack in layers separated by sheets of locker paper.
Wash young, tender leaves well. Remove tough stems and imperfect parts. Cut in pieces, if desired. Water blanch tender spinach leaves 2 1/2 minutes; beet greens, kale, chard, mustard greens, turnip and mature spinach leaves 3 minutes; and collard greens 4 minutes. Cool and drain. Dry pack with head space.
Wash, drain, trim or chop. Tray freeze. Use in cooked dishes, as product becomes limp when thawed.
Select mushrooms free of spots or decay. Sort for size. Wash and drain. Trim off ends of stems. Slice or quarter mushrooms larger than 1 inch across. Dip mushrooms to be steam blanched for 5 minutes in a solution of 1 teaspoon lemon juice or 1 1/2 teaspoons citric acid per pint of water. Steam whole mushrooms 6 minutes, quarters or slices 4-4 1/2 minutes. Cool and drain. Mushrooms also may be lightly sauteed in butter or margarine and cooled. Dry pack with head space.
Wash, peel and chop fully mature onions. Water blanch 2 1/2 minutes, cool and drain. Also may freeze without blanching. Tray pack or dry pack with head space. Use in cooked products. Will keep 3-6 months.
Select bright green, plump, firm pods with sweet, tender peas. Shell. Water blanch 2 1/2 minutes. Cool and drain. Dry pack with head space.
Sugar or snow pod peas
Wash, remove stems, blossom end and any strings. Leave whole. Water blanch 3 1/2 minutes. Cool and drain. Dry pack with head space, or tray pack.
Green sweet peppers
Select firm, crisp, thick-walled peppers. Wash, cut out stems. Cut in half, remove seeds. Cut into strips or rings, if desired. Water blanch halves 4 minutes, slices 3 minutes for tighter packing and use in cooked dishes. Cool and drain. Freeze without blanching for use in salads and as garnishes. Dry pack blanched peppers with head space. Tray or dry pack unblanched peppers without head space.
Hot peppers for condiment
Wash and stem peppers. Dry or tray pack in small containers without head space.
Wash. Make a small slit in the side for steam to escape. Heat in 400-450 F oven 6-8 minutes or until skins blister. Cool in ice water for a crisp product. For a more thoroughly cooked product, wrap in a hot damp towel and allow to steam 15 minutes. Freeze without peeling or slit side, peel off skin and remove stem, seeds, membranes. Flatten to remove air, fold in half. Dry pack with waxed paper between single layers leaving head space, or tray pack.
Wash, roast in oven at 400 F for 3-4 minutes. Rinse in cold water to remove charred skins. Drain. Dry pack with head space, or tray pack.
Wash and peel, remove eyes, bruises, green spots. Cut in 1/4- to 1/2-inch cubes. Water blanch 4-6 minutes. Cool and dry pack with 1/2-inch head space, or tray pack. For hash browns, cook in jackets until almost done. Peel and grate. Form in desired shapes. Pack and freeze. For French fries, peel and cut in thin strips. Rinse and dry. Fry in fat heated to 360 F for 4 minutes or until golden. Drain and cool. Dry pack with head space, or tray pack.
Pumpkins and winter squash
Wash, cut into pieces and remove seeds. Cook pieces until soft in boiling water, steam, microwave oven, pressure cooker or 350-400 F oven (cut side down). Cool. Scoop out pulp, mash, blend or put through sieve. Chill thoroughly. Pack with head space.
Cut off tops of young, medium-sized rutabagas, wash and peel. Cut into cubes and water blanch 3 minutes. Cool, drain and dry pack with 1/2-inch head space, or tray pack. For mashed rutabagas, cut into chunks and cook until tender in boiling water. Drain, mash, cool thoroughly and pack in containers with head space.
Squash (zucchini, yellow, white scallop)
Select young squash with small seeds and tender rind. Wash, cut in 1/2-inch slices. Water blanch 4 minutes. Cool summer and drain. Dry pack with head space.
Select medium to large mature sweet potatoes that have been air-dried (cured). Sort for size, wash. Cook until almost tender in water, steam, pressure cooker or oven. Cool at room temperature. Peel, cut in halves, slice, or mash. To prevent darkening, dip halves or slices in solution of either 1 tablespoon citric acid or 1/2 cup lemon juice per quart of water for 5 minutes. For mashed sweet potatoes, mix 2 tablespoons orange or lemon juice with each quart. Dry pack with head space.
Wash, sort and trim firm tomatoes. Cut in quarters or eights. Simmer 5 to 10 minutes. Press through sieve. Season with 1 teaspoon salt per quart of juice, if desired. Pour into containers, leaving 1 1/2-inch head space.
Wash ripe, blemish-free tomatoes. Scald 2-3 minutes to loosen skins, peel and core. Cut into pieces and freeze or simmer 10-20 minutes until tender. Cool and dry pack with 1/2-inch head space.
Select tender, firm, mild-flavored small to medium turnips or parsnips. Wash, peel, cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Water blanch 3 minutes. Cool and drain. Dry pack with head space.