Preserving the Harvest: Freezing Vegetables
I know this topic might seem either a little late or very early, but it’s actually very relevant right now. During the growing season, I’m a big fan of freezing vegetables to preserve them. It works really great for green beans, celery, diced onions, Swiss chard, and sliced leeks.
The veggies I seem to freeze the most are pole and bush beans because they’re so handy to have on hand. I blanch the beans first, which means placing them in boiling water for 2 minutes, then plunging them in cold water to stop the cooking action, and finally draining them in preparation for placing them in the freezer.
Ordinarily, I put them into freezer bags — and that’s worked well for years — but they’ll often get “freezer burn” which affects the taste and texture.
This past year, we tried something different and now you know why this is relevant right now! We purchased a FoodSaver vacuum sealer, for freezing fish and vegetables, and what a difference it has made.
The way it works is that you place whatever you’re going to freeze into either pre-cut bags or custom-cut your own bag sizes from a roll. The FoodSaver sucks out the air and any moisture, and then heat-seals the bag. Then the bags are ready to go into the freezer.
As you can see by the photo to the right, there’s a dramatic difference between beans that I blanched, drained and froze in regular freezer bags (on left) versus the ones I bagged using the FoodSaver (on right). Even though I had carefully drained both, you can see the ice frozen to the beans in the regular freezer bags. By the way, you can click on the photo to view a larger image.
And the taste difference is amazing! The beans in regular freezer bags tend to be a bit mushy and aren’t very flavorful. The ones in the FoodSaver bags have the same texture they had after blanching, and the flavor is fabulous.
The model we have is the GameSaver Silver and I believe it cost about $150, although there are other differently-priced models, based on a person’s needs. If you are starting to make a wishlist for canning and preserving equipment, you might consider adding this to it!
(I am not receiving compensation in any form for writing this blog post about FoodSaver vacuum sealers. But I did want you to know how well they work since most gardeners tend to save a lot of their produce to get through the winter months.)