Fall is for Freezing!
Whether from your garden, the grocery or a CSA, fall’s fresh harvest should never go to waste. The key to preserving fresh fruits and veggies is to freeze them in pieces rather than whole. Some fruits and veggies freeze better than others. Yes, the texture can change a bit. But after seeing how your favorite produce holds up after freezing, you’ll get a better idea of how to use them in recipes.
To get the best freezing results, chop fruits and vegetables into reasonably sized pieces. Next, lay the pieces on a flat surface such as a baking sheet, and pop it in the freezer. If your freezer is short on space, you can use a plate or storage container—just be sure to stick with one layer per batch. Or separate each fruit or vegetable layer with a sheet of waxed paper. No matter which method you choose, make sure the pieces don’t overlap. Keeping single layers with the pieces evenly spread out prevents the produce from freezing together into one solid chunk. Once frozen, transfer the produce into a freezer-safe storage container or food-storage bag.
Whenever you need vegetables for a recipe, just defrost what you need and pop the rest back in the freezer.
You can also freeze certain cheeses. While very soft cheeses, like Brie and Camembert, are not candidates for freezing, and many cheeses will have an altered texture after freezing, most can still be used in plenty of recipes without a problem. Shredded cheeses, such as prepackaged mozzarella or cheddar, are perfect for freezing, too. Place the package in the freezer, take what you need and leave the rest for next time. You can also freeze extra-firm tofu. The texture changes a tad, but it’s still perfect for stir-fries.
Photo by Renamarie