Freezing Food: Doing It Right Saves You Money!

Freezing Food

with Sharon Peterson
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Occasionally, freezing food is preferable to canning or dehydrating it. Freezing food is another great way to preserve it.

  • Strawberries are great in jam or jelly, but they are more appetizing frozen rather than canned. 
  • My husband and sons love frozen cherries right out of the freezer on a hot summer day. So I can some and freeze some. 
  • If you end up with more food than you'll be able to can in a reasonable time, freezing vegetables and freezing fruit is a great way to take care of that excess quickly. Remember, the sooner you process your foods, the better the quality will be. 

Freezing Apples

Apples

Freezing apples is a great way to enjoy them later in the year. There's more to it than just putting them in the freezer, though.

Click here to learn more about freezing apples. 


Freezing Bananas

Bananas

Frozen bananas are a treat all by themselves but are equally delicious when cut into sundaes, oatmeal, or used for making banana bread.

Click here to learn more about freezing bananas.


Freezing Cherries

Cherries

Freezing cherries is easy to do, but it can use a lot of freezer space while processing. Make sure you have room!

Click here to learn more about freezing cherries.


Freezing Corn

Corn (both on and off the cob)

Freezing corn on or off the cob requires processing to ensure your corn doesn't dry out or go stale.

Click here to learn the process for freezing corn. 


Freezing Green Beans

Green Beans

Freezing green beans is one of the best ways to ensure you're keeping the nutrients intact. They require being blanched beforehand!

Click here to learn how to freeze green beans.


Freezing Herbs

Herbs

Three best methods for freezing herbs. Though all herbs can be frozen or dried, some herbs freeze better than dehydrating.

Click here to learn more about freezing herbs.


Freezing Peas

Peas

Freezing peas takes a bit more effort than just tossing them into a bag in the freezer, but it's worth it!

Click here to learn about freezing peas.


Freezing Peppers

Peppers

Freezing peppers is something that pays for itself in the middle of winter. They can be added to so many dishes!

Click here to learn about freezing peppers.


Freezing Rhubarb

Rhubarb

Rhubarb is one of those things that can become quickly overwhelming. By the time it's ready to be picked, you're busy with other things in the garden. Freezing food is a great way to preserve rhubarb for later.

Click here to learn about freezing rhubarb.


Freezing Spinach & Freezing Greens

Spinach

When it comes to freezing spinach (and other greens), there's only one way to ensure it will last.

Click here to learn more about freezing spinach.


Freezing Strawberries

Strawberries

Strawberries are one of those fruits that you can freeze in multiple ways.

Click here to learn more about freezing strawberries


Freezing Tomatoes

Tomatoes

Freezing tomatoes - no blanching required.  Just pop them in the freezer and watch what happens when you take them out.  

Click here to learn more. 


Freezing Zucchini

Zucchini

Ever have a craving for zucchini bread in February? By freezing some, you can have it whenever you want!

Click here to learn about freezing zucchini.


Freezing Parsnips

Parsnips

Freezing parsnips: Root crops like turnips and parsnips are easy to freeze prepared for roasting and for use in recipes. With this method, you just take it out of the freezer to use! 

Click here to learn more about freezing parsnips.


Freezing Raspberries

Raspberries

Freezing raspberries is probably the best way to preserve red raspberries, since they don't hold up to canning as well as other fruit.

Click here to learn more about freezing raspberries.

Freezing Food FAQs

Can you freeze warm food? Does food have to be cold before freezing?    

I feel it is better to allow it to cool off before putting it in the freezer. It can be a little warm but not piping hot. The heat will affect the temperature of the freeze in general. But do not allow the food to sit out for an extended period in a warm state. It needs to either be hot or cooled off soon. 

Apple slices.

What are the disadvantages of freezing food?

Fresh food is always the best bet. But we all know that sometimes, you just need to preserve it for later. Freezing food probably does the least amount of damage than other preservation techniques. Quality is something that may be affected.

Freezing affects the textures of some foods more than others. Lettuce, for example, just doesn't hold up to freezing. (It doesn't can well either.) Spinach, however, does great. Much depends on the food type. Milk can be frozen, but it separates. If you mix it well after thawing, you can drink it...but the flavor is affected. Might be best used in baking or cooking. Cheese does not freeze well in a block. It crumbles.  But I often freeze shredded cheese for convenience. 

The NCHFP mentions the following vegetables do not freeze well, unless they're used in, say, freezer pickles or similiar recipes:

  •     Cabbage
  •     Celery
  •     Watercress
  •     Cucumbers
  •     Endive
  •     Lettuce
  •     Parsley
  •     Radishes
Cherries.

Does freezing destroy vitamins, minerals, and nutrition in the food?      

The cool thing about freezing food is that it maintains the vitamins and minerals in food!

Corn off the cob.

How do you prevent freezer burn while freezing food?

Wrapping is important when freezing food. Using the correct type of packaging will maintain quality and prevent freezer burn. Look for freezer bags, not storage bags. And the more you can keep air away from the food (wrap tightly), the less freezer burn you'll find. 

What is freezer burn? Freezer burn happens when frozen food dries out. It will look brown and dried.  It is not dangerous, just not as high quality. If possible, you can cut off small portions of freezer burn and still use your food. Sometimes, if the freezer burn is severe, the food is not worth trying to save. 

Green beans.

Should you can frozen foods? Reader question...

by Doc (Philly)

"If my electric went out can I cook then can frozen veg's, meats?"

Sharon's Answer:

Hi, that is a great question. My answer with meats is, yes. Be sure it is completely thawed and then pressure can as usual.

Canning Meat

With frozen vegetables, I believe it would be safe. What I'm not sure of is the quality of the final product. I'm afraid it might get mushy.

I did a search for more information from my extension service and did find this article: If Your Freezer Stops.

In discussing options for when the freezer goes out, this comment was made: "...keep canning supplies on hand to preserve food when there is no chance of using your freezer soon."

I would make the assumption that means it is safe. They do not mention the quality of the food after canning.

But sometimes, mushy green beans are better than no green beans, eh?

canning previously frozen
by: Becky

"I had gone to my Mom's house when she was out of town on vacation and the electricity was out. She forgot to pay before she left and it was Friday night. I grabbed every canning jar she had and canned everything in her freezer and refrigerator. Everything turned out great. It tasted the same as veggies that had not been previously frozen. She had blanched everything for about 3 minutes before she froze it so they didn't come out overcooked at all. It is fine to can previously frozen foods."

canning previously frozen food.
by: Cindy Stricklin

"Our brand new freezer (less than 2 months old) went out after we completely filled it with frozen meat and vegetables purchased at a store. When we noticed it was not working, the food on top have started to thaw. We immediately went into canning mode and canned all the vegetables. We mixed all the peas together, and they were the best peas I have ever eaten. We made mixed vegetables out of the rest. They were not mushy at all. We managed to fit the meat in the other freezer by taking the vegetables out of it and canning them too. It took 2 weeks for Walmart to replace the freezer. Everything we canned tasted great!!"

soup?
by: Anonymous

"If the previously frozen and now canned veggies get a little mushy, I would consider pureeing them and making up some soups!"

freezing thawed veggies
by: Grambun

"Came home from the lake to find someone had stolen most of the meat from our freezer and unplugged it while we were gone. We borrowed canners from neighbors and got busy. all the veggies were dumped into jars covered with boiling water, and 1 tsp. of salt and processed. They were as good as fresh veggies."

Canning frozen foods
by: Sharron Hart

"We were needing freezer space for a pig that is going to the butcher ad I decided to can green beans, corn, peas, tomatoes, chicken and blackberries, we had frozen. Everything turned out pretty darn good and no mushy green beans and I now have canned chicken broth too!"

his & hers
by: The Grouchy Gardener

"my husband likes canned vegetables and I prefer frozen. I have a garden but often don't grow enough peas and beans to satisfy the husbands needs all year. Recently he found out he has high blood pressure, and to lower salt in canned vegetables I started canning frozen. I can mix-and-match them, or just leave the plain, more often than not I can season them with a little garlic or some dehydrated onion flakes instead of the salt that she doesn't seem to miss. They always turn out great. As for canning meet I let it thaw, then can it with seasoning of my choice."

I never thought of this!
by: Anonymous

"I have a gas range, so it would be totally possible to can during a power outage. I LOVE this idea!"

Page last updated: 12/5/2019.

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