Freezing produce is an easy way to enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables from gardens or farmer's markets well into winter. For best results, use top-quality, garden-fresh produce, and follow these freezing guidelines.
Pans and utensils: To freeze vegetables and fruits, you need a colander and a large pot or saucepan that has a wire basket. An accurate freezer thermometer will allow you to regulate your freezer temperature to 0 degrees F or below.
Freezer containers: When freezing foods, use containers and packing materials that are durable, easy to seal, resist cracking at low temperatures, and moisture- and vapor-resistant. Choose the right size of container for your volume of food; too much empty space can lead to oxidation and freezer burn. Remember that foods containing water expand when frozen, so make sure the containers are expandable or leave enough headspace to allow for expansion. The following options are suitable for frozen foods.
Vegetables are best cooked from a frozen state, without thawing them first. Thaw fruits in their containers either in the refrigerator or in a bowl of cold water. Meats, soups, and casseroles should be thawed in the refrigerator for a day or two, in the microwave oven on defrost, or in a leakproof plastic bag immersed in cold water (change water every 30 minutes). Use frozen fruits and vegetables within 8 to 10 months.