Frozen quart bags of roasted green chilies, a southwestern delicacy, and 3-cup packages of pear cubes for baking.
I spend the summer growing veggies, not cooking; it is too darned hot to stand in the kitchen over boiling sauces and salsas. Also, I grow too much to eat it all fresh in the summer and not everything ripens at once to make a big enough batch of anything worth canning. The best solution I have found so far is to toss whole tomatoes and whole tomatillos into a zip-lock freezer bag or gallon jar as they come on and deal with them later.
There must be some neurological hard wiring we have to cook and bake in the Fall because online all I see are folks posting pics of their canning and baking. I am no exception, and this is when the frozen tomatoes and tomatillos come out to be turned into salsa and sauces or intermittently thrown into a dish I am making on the stovetop for some fresh summer flavor mid-winter. See more about this in the Can It! section.
In the past, I would do my best to eat to the bottom of the freezer portion of my fridge in the spring, so I had room for all my frozen summer produce. Last year was the first year I had a freezer in the garage (a life goal realized) so now I have the room to move beyond the tomatoes and tomatillos. The expansion this year extends to pears.
Diced pears on freezer sheets ready to be flash-frozen before being added to ziplock bags for later use in muffins, tarts, and cakes. Pictured on the cooling rack, is one of three batches of pear muffins I tested this fall to find one we all love.
Can you or should you blanch your produce before you freeze it? Blanching (boiling or steaming for a short time) does protect the color, flavor, and texture of some veggies, however, it depends on the veggie and when you freeze it. I am too busy in the summer to even consider doing this for veggies I know will stand up better in the freezer in their own natural wrapping. I reserve blanching for my green beans, pears, and corn. I have fond memories of my mother cutting blanched corn from the cob to freeze; raw kernels that stayed together were named "corn cookies" by my sister and me who stole them shamelessly from the "ready to freeze" pile. If you want kids to eat veggies, grow veggies!
Oh and that excessive amount of zucchini? Grate it in the food processor and freeze it in 2 c. increments in your freezer for winter baking...adding this to any batter leads to the most moist and delicious cakes, sweet breads, and muffins.
|Throw It Directly in the Freezer||Blanch It and Freeze It||Wash, Chop then Freeze It||Cook it then Freeze It|
I have left broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, and cabbage off of this list as you can leave these in the garden until late fall as they all taste better after the early freeze.