I’ve saved my favorite tip for last in this series on freezing fresh produce. I learned this from a friend who is completely passionate about gardening and always has great produce during the summer months. She calls it making soup kits.
My friend Stacey writes: Ok, it’s really easy! Pick the veggies that are ripe that week and cut them into chunks. Try to keep everything the same size. I use squash, zucchini, onion, carrots, corn, beans, and possibly garlic. Put the mixture of veggies in a colander that fits inside a large empty pot. Pour boiling water over the vegetables and let them sit for 3 minutes. Then, using tongs, put them in ziplocks in 4-cup batches. Suck the air out with a straw and freeze.
Use a bag of frozen vegetables for a small batch of soup during the winter months. Use two bags to make a large batch of soup. Since each week is different in terms of what veggies are ripe, I find that the batches of soup are all unique.
Stacey also recommends lightly coating slices of onions with olive oil, grilling them, chopping them coarsely, and freezing them for use in soups and stews.
Stacey pointed out something important–getting as much air out of the ziplock bags as possible before sealing them shut. The less air the vegetables are exposed to in the freezer, the better they’ll keep for months at a time.
As with the fruit, it’s worth stocking up on fresh veggies from local growers if you can.
If you’ve never saved up the best of summer to take out and brighten up winter meals, this is definitely worth a try.