My garden has been bursting with fresh produce this summer thanks to our regular and someone abundant rainfall. This is the first in a series of of posts about what to do with all those beans, cukes and tomatoes.  Fresh eating, canning, freezing, drying and donating are all great options.

You can only eat so much fresh and freezing is a great way to preserve food from your garden.  Freezing doesn’t really require any special equipment or process.  Freezing also allows you to create your own portion sizes.  Whether you use freezer safe plastic containers, zipper bags or a vacuum sealer you can usually put as much or as little as you want in the container of your choice.  So here is how to fill up that freezer!

Start with fresh, ripe fruit or vegetables.  Most veggies need to be blanched by scalding in boiling or steaming water for a short time. Blanching helps retain the flavor, color and texture of vegetables that you plan to freeze. The amount of time you need to blanch varies from just a couple minutes to 5 or more.  Once they are blanched, cool them in an ice water bath, drain and pack into containers or freezer bags.  Store them in the freezer for 12 months or more and enjoy all winter long.  Don’t forget to date and label your containers too!

Fruits can be washed and drained before freezing.  Some may require treatment to prevent browning.  Freeze as soon after picking as possible.

For more information on blanching times or freezing, check out the U of M’s Food Safety website.