The right way to freeze produce

How to roast & freeze green chiles

At this time of year, gardeners in the Northern Hemisphere are swimming in produce. Although having a plentiful harvest is a happy circumstance, it can be overwhelming. To preserve the summer's bounty, people often turn to canning or freezing their fresh-from-the-garden goodies. But if you don't do these tasks properly you risk ruining your fruits and vegetables. To save you disappointment down the road, Cathy Barrow, author of Mrs. Wheelbarrow's Practical Pantry, offers advice on the right way to freeze produce.

Although you can freeze almost anything, some types of produce take to the freezer especially well. Blueberries, string beans, and corn are favorites for the this treatment, but each has to be properly prepared to get maximum flavor and color upon thawing. Blueberries should be frozen solid on a baking sheet before being transferred to a plastic storage bag or freezer container. Beans, like most vegetables, should be blanched first. This helps the food's colors vibrant. Barrow recommends steaming or roasting corn on the cob, then slicing off the kernels prior to freezing.

Eliminating air from your vegetables is another important step. According to Barrow, "When air gets in, ice crystals form. That's freezer burn, and it's ruinous. For the best results, use a vacuum sealer or a drinking straw to suck the air from a zip-top bag." Barrow advises that bags stack well and take up less room than freezer containers. The article offers more advice and tips for perfect results for your produce.

Photo of How to roast and freeze green chiles from The Kitchn

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