Put excess produce on ice

 Vegetables

Feeling overwhelmed with the amount of produce that is ripening all at once in your garden? If you have too much to use and don't want to let it go to waste, you have a few choices. Canning takes time, heats up the kitchen, and requires special equipment. Freezing, on the other hand, is quick and easy, but not all vegetables take well to it. Taste of Home gives us the skinny on which produce is well-suited for freezing. During the frigid winter months you will be well rewarded for the small amount of work you did during the summer. 

You probably already knew that you freeze excess bananas and berries to use in smoothies. But did you know that you can also freeze items like tomatoes, zucchini, and dark leafy greens? They take a bit of extra preparation, but you can enjoy summer's bounty through the fall and winter with just a bit of work. Blanch tomatoes, shock in an ice bath, peel, and pop them into a freezer bag. They'll be ready for soups, stews, and braises with no additional effort. 

Zucchini also needs to be blanched to deactivate the enzymes that make it get discolored and mushy. Once it is blanched and drained, spread it out onto a baking sheet and freeze, then transfer to a storage container. Dark leafy greens require a similar treatment. Once they are blanched and shocked, squeeze out as much of the water as possible. Pack the greens into tight balls and store in freezer bags. You should thaw the greens before cooking. 

Other fruits and vegetables can be frozen too. Peppers freeze well either raw or roasted, and corn is a natural for the freezer. It does best when removed from the cob, and takes up a lot less room that way too. Stone fruits are easy to freeze, although you may want to cut up larger pieces to aid in defrosting. 

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