Saturday, August 21, 2010

Chill out

For most people, the end of August means a mad rush to the mall to buy back to school clothes. For others, it's time to squeeze in another camping trip or time at the shore. Here on the farm, it's time to bring out the freezing and canning equipment.

Most vegetables can be prepared for freezing by first boiling, then cooling them. It's very easy to do, and saves time later as the vegetables are already washed and prepped.

A guide to freezing vegetables, along with recommended boiling times by vegetable type, can be found on the Canada Produce Marketing Association's site - click here.

Here are a few extra tips from Missus:

1. Make sure the vegetable is one your family will enjoy eating. If they won't eat cauliflower now, it's not going to look any better coming out of the freezer in December. 

2. Consider the cost of freezing now versus buying the same vegetable during the winter. I only freeze corn because it's virtually free for us. If I had to buy corn on the cob for freezing, I couldn't match the price I'd pay later for already frozen corn niblets. The opposite is true for bell peppers - they're cheap now, expensive later.

3. Boil and cool in small batches to make sure the water can circulate freely and have the desired effect. A guideline I've read is one pound of vegetable at a time in 4 quarts of water. (What that is in metric I neither know nor care).

4. If you have a basket that you're using inside the boiling pot, set it in and take it out of the pot slowly so that the water doesn't gush out. Don't ask me how I learned this one.

4. Have lots of ice on hand. Either build up a supply in your freezer beforehand, or take my approach of buying the big bags of ice from a convenience store.

5. Timing is important, so have a stove timer or other type that will buzz on the minute setting.

6. Mark the type of vegetable and year with a sharpie marker on the outside of the freezer bag. Thank me later.

7. You may want to record the number of bags on a list so that you'll know what frozen assets you have. This is so important for gloating at the end of the season.

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