Monday, 13 August 2012

Blanching vegetables for winter use

I love to eat my home grown produce fresh but even though I only have a small garden, I always grow more beans than needed in order to freeze them. Yes, their texture can be different but the taste of summer in the depths of winter is lovely. If you don't have a garden big enough to grow some of your own food, try buying things as fresh and as cheap as you can then freeze them.

Here is a link on how to blanch your vegetables in order to freeze them. http://www.allotment.org.uk/recipes/storing-the-surplus-freezing

I must admit though, that as I only freeze on average around 1 - 2lb a time, I don't bother turning the freezer onto fast freeze. So far, things have turned out well. I also don't use a huge pan as my few vegetables will blanch quite happily in a decent sized pan, doing a good 2 single handfuls at one time.

First of all I wash, top and tail my French or Runner beans. I always, no matter how string-less they are purported to be, run a vegetable peeler down both sides of Runner beans to remove the string.

I then snap them into the right length for us, around 2” or so and put them into a bowl for the next stage. If a bean doesn't snap easily with a lovely pop, it doesn't get used as we have found they can be a little chewy to eat.


Once ready, I bring my saucepan to the boil and put in two single handfuls of beans at a time.  The picture below might look as though I have put in too many but the layer is only 2 beans deep!


When back up to the boil I wait until I can hear popping sounds (sometimes screaming!), then use a slotted spoon to decant into cold water. This blanching period usually takes around 1-2 minutes. I used to use ice cubes but our water is so cold I don't bother, it is up to you.

Once the blanching water is back up to the boil, I put more beans in. By now, the first bowl of water will be slightly warm, so the beans are decanted into a new one. Once cold, they are strained, placed on a tea towel and patted dry. (Don't do this with broad beans as it stains the tea towel).


When almost dry, they are spread out onto trays that will fit my freezer. I also now use a silicon sheet as they are more easily removed once frozen.

They go into the freezer for a few hours (or overnight if I forget them) to open freeze. 



Then they are knocked off, separated, put into a bag, sealed up and put back into the freezer ready for use.

The advantage of open freezing is that when wanting to use them, you can take out only what you want.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for telling us how to prepare veges for the freezer (I've always wondered how easy it would be) - lol I don't have any veges at the moment, but hopefully some will grow in the coming Summer and I'll be back to see what to do with them! Elizabeth :0)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Give it a go if you get the chance, nothing to it really especially if you do it in small batches. Huge batches drive me nuts as you get cheesed off.

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