Often vegetables need to be blanched before freezing or canning. Here is a quick and simple guide for blanching common vegetables. Blanching vegetables helps preserve color and texture.
After blanching vegetables in boiling water, immerse them immediately into cold water and drain. I often reuse the same water again and again. A large pasta pot works great for blanching. You can submerge the vegetables into the pot already in the strainer.
Allow approximately a gallon of water per pound of vegetables. Vegetables will need to cool for the same amount time that they are blanched.
Preparing your vegetables
Peel, trim and cut vegetables into uniform sizes. Look at the chart below to find the time needed. Extra-large pieces may need to blanch a minute longer.
Asparagus: Blanch 2 minutes; 3 to 4 minutes for large asparagus.
Beans, green: Blanch for 3 minutes.
Beans, lima, butter or pinto: Blanch small beans 2 minutes, medium beans 3 minutes and large beans 4 minutes.
Beets: Blanchsmall beets for 30 to 35 minutes, medium beets for 45 to 50 minutes. If you leave the stem on top, they won't bleed into the water as bad.
Broccoli: Blanch 3 minutes.
Brussel Sprouts: Blanch small sprouts for 3 minutes, medium for 4 minutes and large for 5 minutes.
Carrots: Blanch tiny, whole carrots for 5 minutes, diced or strips for 2 minutes.
Cauliflower: Blanch 3 minutes.
Corn: Whole, small ears for freezing blanch for 7 minutes, medium ears for 9 minutes and large ears for 11 minutes. If you are going to take the corn of the cob for freezing, blanch for 4 minutes and remove from cob.
Okra: Blanch small pods 3 minutes and large pods 4 minutes.
Peas, Shelled: Blanch for 1-2 minutes, chill and freeze.
Snap Peas: Blanch for 1 1/2 minutes.
Spinach and other greens: Blanch 2 minutes.
Summer squash: Blanch for 3 minutes.
It used to be that the home canning process was the only way to preserve meats, fruits and vegetables, and jams and jellies. But even though modern conveniences have made preserving food a choice rather than a necessity, home canning remains a satisfying way to reap the bounty from your garden. Home canning isn't difficult to learn, but you do need to adhere to some strict safety guidelines to ensure that what you preserve can be safely eaten.
If you plan on canning pears, it's important to understand how to determine the best time and types of pears to pick. Though pears ripen across the United States from August through October, few commercially grown pears are ever allowed to ripen on the trees. Instead, pears are picked early to prevent disease and insect infestation.
Many people prefer freezing to canning and preserving food. It's quick and easy and retains the fresh, crisp flavor for fruits and vegetables.
There are two main methods available for home canning. The boiling water canner method and the pressure canner method are the two most commonly used methods of caning.