If you are faced with an overabundance of fresh produce on the brink of going bad, you should be aware that most veggies can be frozen for later. Minimizing food waste is one of the most important things we can do for the planet.
Here are a few simple tips for potatoes and many other fresh vegetables:
How to Freeze Potatoes
- Start by chopping them into whatever shape or size you wish to serve them — for example, chunks for roasting or mashing, shredding for hashbrowns, wedges for home fries. You can leave the skin on or not, it’s your choice.
- Steam them on the stove top – until tender but with a bit of bite left to them. The key to freezing potatoes is cooking them just enough. This ensures they finish perfectly when you do your final cook at a later date. Cooking times will vary based on the size and shape of your cut potatoes.
- Drain the potatoes and immediately plunge them into a large bowl of ice water (this stops the cooking process).
- After a few minutes in the ice bath, drain the ice water and allow the potatoes to cool completely on a clean kitchen towel.
- Once cooled, arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet that will fit in your freezer. If potatoes touch during the freezing process, they’ll freeze together. Use extra baking sheets as needed.
- Freeze your potatoes for 6-12 hours, or until frozen solid.
- Remove from the freezer and transfer to a freezer bag or other freezer-safe container – pop back in the freezer for up to 6 months.
How to Blanche and Freeze almost any Vegetable
- Vegetables that hold up well to cooking (corn, peas) generally freeze well.
- Before freezing, blanche vegetables by boiling them briefly (wait until the colour gets bright) and then plunge into ice water.
- Dry thoroughly on a clean kitchen towel.
- Freeze vegetables by spreading them in a single layer on a baking pan.
- Once frozen, store in air-tight containers or freezer bags – pro tip: date the packages
- Store frozen vegetables for about 18 months. (Storing longer is fine, but the quality may decline.)
Still too many Veggies? Make Veggie Stock!
Almost any veggie can be added to a flavourful stock.
- Start with the a few core ingredients including onion, celery, carrots, scallions, garlic and herbs (parsley, thyme, bay leaves).
- Chop washed veggies into 1” chunks. Add in other aging veggies such as cauliflower, broccoli, potatoes and potato peelings, mushrooms (even just the stems), bell peppers, asparagus, chard or kale.
- Heat a tablespoon of olive or veggie oil in a stock or soup pot and sauté the veggies over high heat for 5 – 10 minutes.
- Add 1 tsp of salt and 2 litres of water (or until the veggies are covered) – bring to boil and reduce to simmer for 30 – 60 minutes.
- Remove the veggies and discard in your green waste bin or compost.
- Freeze in muffin trays (about a cup per muffin) – once frozen, transfer to a freezer bag and thaw as needed.