Cooperative Extension Service
College of Agriculture and
here ya go
Revised by Martha Archuleta, Food and Nutrition Specialist
This publication is scheduled to be updated and reissued 1/08.
Fresh vegetables can be frozen quickly and easily
during the harvest season. Whether you freeze purchased
or home-grown vegetables, the keys to a successful
product are using vegetables at the peak of ripeness
and freezing quickly after purchase or harvest.
Selection and Purchase
Choose vegetables that are young and tender. Wash
well and rinse twice in fresh water each time to remove
dirt. Trim away any bad areas, tough stems, and
leaves. Cut into desired sizes.
Although freezing slows enzyme action, it doesn’t
completely halt it. Blanching, a heat treatment to inactivate
the ripening enzymes in vegetables, preserves
their color, texture, and flavor for nine to twelve
months in the freezer.
Except for onions and green peppers, vegetables
should be either water or steam blanched before being
frozen. Some vegetables, such as mushrooms, eggplant,
and summer squash, taste better if sauteed
briefly in oil, butter, or margarine before freezing.
Chill before packing.
To water blanch vegetables, place the washed, prepared
vegetables in a pot of boiling water. Use one
gallon of water for each pound of prepared vegetables.
See table 1 for recommended blanching times
for different vegetables. Start timing the blanching
action when the water returns to boiling after putting
in the vegetables. Plunge the vegetables immediately
into cold (preferably ice) water for the same time as
you blanched the vegetable. This cold bath stops the
To water blanch, place two cups or about 1 pound
of prepared vegetables in a single layer in a basket
and lower into a pot containing one gallon of boiling
water. The vegetables should be above the water.
Cover with tight-fitting lid and start counting blanching
time when steam comes up around the pot lid.
(See table 1 for blanching times.) Plunge vegetables
into a cold bath.
You can use the microwave oven to blanch small
quantities. However, there is no time or money saved
when microwave blanching vegetables.
Packing Food into Freezer Containers
Drain and chill food before packing into moisture
proof freezer containers. Both freezer bags and square
containers provide economical packs with regard to
space used in the freezer.
Fill rigid containers to the expansion line. If you
use freezer bags, lay bags on counter after filling with
drained vegetables and press out air. Close zipper
bags except for about one inch. Use a drinking straw
to suck air out and complete closure. If using a bag
with a twist tie closure, gather edges around drinking
straw and draw out air before twisting and tying.
Date and identify contents using a moisture proof
freezer pen. When freezing, place packages in the
coldest area of the freezer with about one inch around
the packages for cold air circulation until the food is
frozen. After packages are frozen, stack tightly.
Freeze only the amount that the freezer can handle
efficiently. A good rule of thumb is 2 to 3 pounds of
food for each cubic foot of storage space. Overloading
slows the freezing process and adversely affects the
quality of the food, especially corn-on-the-cob.
Make a food inventory and post it close to the
freezer. List foods and number and sizes of containers.
Keep a pen close to mark the list as cartons are used.
Thawing and Preparing Vegetables to Eat
Except for corn-on-the-cob, vegetables can be
cooked with little or no thawing. Corn on the cob
should be thawed completely before cooking. Greens
should be partially thawed and separated before cooking.
Because the vegetables were blanched before
freezing, they will cook quickly.
Use the smallest amount of water possible to conserve
nutrients. Cook only the amount you need for
the meal. Avoid letting vegetables stand after cooking
as nutrients leach into the cooking water.
Table 1. Freezing Techniques for Vegetables
Vegetables Preparation Blanch/Freeze Techniques
Asparagus Wash, sort by size. Snap off tough ends. Water blanch: Steam blanch:
Cut stalks in 2-inch lengths or leave in spears. Small stalks: 1-1/2 min. Small: 2-1/2 min.
Medium: 2 min Medium: 3 min.
Large: 3 min. Large: 4 min.
Beans Wash. Trim ends. Cut if desired. Water blanch: Steam blanch:
Whole: 3 min. Whole: 4 min.
Cut: 2 min. Cut: 3 min.
Beets Wash. Remove tops leaving 1 inch Cook until tender: for small beets, 25–30 minutes; for medium
of stem and root beets, 45–50 minutes. Cool promptly, peel, trim tap root and
stem. Cut into slices or cubes. Pack into freezer containers.
Broccoli Wash. Trim leaves. Cut into pieces. Water blanch 3 min. Steam blanch 3 min.
Brussels sprouts Wash. Remove outer leaves. Water blanch 4 min. Steam blanch 5 min.
Cabbage Wash. Discard course outer leaves. Water blanch: Steam blanch:
Cut into wedges or shred coarsely. Wedges: 3 min. Wedges: 4 min.
Shredded: 1-1/2 min. Shredded: 2 min.
Carrots Wash, peel and trim. Cut if desired; Water blanch: Whole: 5 min.
leave small carrots whole. Sliced : 2 min.
Cauliflower Discard leaves and stem, wash. Break into Add 1 Tbsp. vinegar to water. Add 1 Tbsp. vinegar to water.
flowerets or leave small heads whole Water blanch: Whole: 6 min. Steam blanch: Whole: 7 min.
(no more than 4-inch diameter). Cut: 3 min. Cut: 4 min.
Corn Remove husks and silks and trim ends. Water blanch medium-sized ears, 3-4 ears at a time, 5 min.
Wash. After blanching, cut kernels (about 2/3 depth) from cob,
bag kernels, freeze.
Corn on the cob Remove husks and silks and trim ends. Water blanch medium-sized ears, 8 min. Cool. Drain. Wrap
Wash. ears individually in plastic wrap. Pack wrapped ears in
plastic freezer bags.
Eggplant Wash, peel, slice 1/3 inch thick. Water blanch 4 min. in 1 gallon of boiling water containing
1-1/2 Tbsp. citric acid or 1/2 c. lemon juice. Or, saute in
oil and pack.
Greens Select young, tender greens. Wash. Water blanch 2 min., or steam blanch 3 min. Avoid matting
Trim leaves. woody stems.
Herbs Wash. Snip or leave on stalks. For basil only, water or steam blanch 1 min. For other herbs,
blanching is not necessary. Freeze in a single layer on cookie
Kohlrabi Select tender, mature stems. Trim ends. Water blanch slices for 2 min., stems for 3 min.
Wash. Peel off tough bark. Wash. Slice
tender centers crosswise, 1/4 inch thick.
Leave small roots whole.
Mushrooms Wipe with damp paper towel. Trim hard May be frozen without blanching. Or, blanch whole, 5 min.;
tip of stems. Sort; cut large mushrooms. quarters, margarine, 3-1/2 min.; slices, 3 min. Or, saute
mushrooms in butter or cool quickly, and pack.
Vegetables Preparation Blanch/Freeze Techniques
Okra Wash. Separate pods 4 inches and shorter Water blanch small pods, 3 min.; large pods, 5 min.
from longer pods. Remove stems.
Peas Shell garden peas. No need to shell snow Water blanch 1-1/2 min., or steam blanch 2-1/2 min.
Garden/ or sugar peas.
Onions/ -For onions, remove peel and chop. May be frozen without blanching. Bag and Freeze. (For
Green Onions/ -For green onions, trim and slice or best odor protection, wrap onions in plastic film before
Leeks leave whole. putting in bags.)
-For leeks, make a cut through leaves
Do not cut roots. Wash thoroughly.
Trim tops. Leave whole or slice.
Peppers Wash, remove stems and seeds. Freeze whole, or cut as desired. No heat treatment needed.
Green/Red/ (See Guide E-311, Freezing Green Chile.)
Potatoes Peel, cut, or grate as desired. Either cook in water or saute grated potatoes in oil. Grated
potatoes for hashbrowns and mashed potatoes freeze well. For
new potatoes, blanch whole potatoes 5 min., blanch pieces
Sweet potatoes Wash and dry. Bake just until tender; cool. Peel and cut. Pack in flat layers or
roll in lemon juice and brown sugar. Or, puree with
Winter squash/ Wash and remove seeds Bake whole or cut in half. Place cut side down on baking sheet
Spaghetti Cook until tender. Scrape pulp from rind, or remove rind and cube Squash/ . Cool
Pumpkin and freeze cubes, or mash pulp, cool,
Zuccini/ Wash, trim ends. Cut into slices or strips. Water blanch 3 min. or steam blanch 4 min. and freeze.
Summer squash/ also be breaded and sauteed in oil. Cool and freeze. For
sauteed sqaush, place waxed paper between slices
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