For a printer-friendly version of the Freezing Guide
for Vegetables chart, click on the icon to download.
Note: Must have Acrobat Reader.
General Freezing Tips
- Keep freezer at 0°F or lower.
- Smaller quantities freeze faster than larger amounts.
Limit the amount of food to be frozen; it must be able to freeze in 24 hours.
The maximum that can be added at one time is about 3 pounds of food per cubic
foot of freezer capacity. Overloading the freezer results in foods freezing
at a slower rate reducing its quality.
- Protect food from drying out (freezer burn) by using
moisture vapor resistant materials.
- Leave room for headspace when filling rigid freezer containers,
so food can expand as it freezes. This is not necessary with freezer plastic
bags; they expand slightly as food freezes.
- Label the package with the name of the contents, date
of freezing, and the amount.
- Use frozen food before the maximum storage time has expired.
Vegetables for the Freezer
- Freeze only the best quality vegetable to produce the
best possible frozen vegetable.
- Freeze as soon as possible after purchasing or harvesting
to retain quality and nutrients.
- Blanch (scald) or sauté all vegetables to stop
enzymes that ripen them naturally, even in the freezer. These enzymes will
eventually deteriorate the flavor, color, and texture of the vegetables.
- Cool vegetables quickly to stop the cooking process.
Not recommended for freezing!
- Lettuce, cucumbers, and radishes do not freeze well because
of high moisture content.
- Whole tomatoes, cabbage, and celery lose their texture
as well, but they can be frozen, if they will be used in cooking, such as
in a soup or stew.
- Potatoes lose their texture and become grainy; add potatoes
when the frozen product is being reheated.
How to Blanch
blanch vegetables, steam or submerge them in boiling water. Microwave ovens
can be used to blanch vegetables with a small amount of water, but check the
operators manual for individual instructions. While the nutrient value
of vegetables steamed or micro-blanched is higher than after submerging them
in boiling water, submerging ensures more thorough blanching
- When possible, leave vegetables whole to minimize loss
- For individually frozen vegetables, spread vegetable
pieces in a single layer on a tray. Freeze just until firm, then package quickly
and return to the freezer.
- For freezing quickly, place vegetables directly on freezer
shelves, not on other frozen food. Leave space around the package. Stack packages
after they are frozen solid.
© Copyright (2002) Purdue
University, West Lafayette, Indiana, 47907. All Rights Reserved.