Canning and Preserving Basics: Freezing Vegetables

Many people prefer freezing to canning and preserving food. It's quick and easy and retains the fresh, crisp flavor for fruits and vegetables. Less nutrients are lost when freezing foods, and it's less work when working in small batches than canning.

Use quality produce
When freezing fruits and vegetables, choose fresh, young produce to preserve. You want it to be at it's peak. Do not use spoiled or less than top quality produce

Cleanliness is important
Make sure you thoroughly wash all fruits and vegetables prior to freezing. Some vegetables, such as broccoli, may need to be soaked to make sure no insects are hiding in them.

Blanching
Blanching will help your vegetables keep their color and crispness.

Packing
Pack fruits and vegetables into freezer containers or freezer bags. If you're using freezer bags, squeeze the remaining air out of bag. Label with name and date. Ball makes jars for freezing in as well.

Freezing berries
When freezing berries, place them on a cookie sheet and freeze until solid. Then place into freezer containers. This keeps them from sticking together.

Vegetables with a high water content, such as lettuce, cucumbers, whole tomatoes and onions, do not freeze well.

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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.

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Keep the results of your garden tasty during the cold winter months. Canning green beans is a relatively simple process - once you know the proper procedure.

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.

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.

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