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Beacon Senior News

6 top foods to freeze and the best way to do it

Oct 25, 2021 11:59AM ● By Suzy Cohen
A lemon, sprigs of rosemary, parsley and thyme, and a carrot sit on a background of ice

I highly recommend you learn to freeze certain foods for the winter season. It’s also a good idea if it’s snowing and you don’t feel like driving out in a blizzard to get one lemon!

Read on for the best ways to freeze your favorite fruits and veggies and how to minimize freezer burn and damage to your produce:

First, make sure your fruits, vegetables and spices are as dry as possible. Any humidity present on the leaves will freeze and ruin the plant’s integrity. 

Next, get all the air out as best you can. I usually use a straw to siphon out all air in the bag as I seal it. Alternatively, you can press and roll the filled baggies and most of the air will get pushed out, too. There are also machines that will do this for you:

Parsley

Parsley is known as a blood cleanser and diuretic. Take a bunch and cut off the stems, and wash well. Spread them out on a clean towel and dry them. You can chop them nicely if you want to, but it’s optional. Once dry, put them in a little storage bag and seal it tightly, getting out as much air as you can.

Kale 

Kale contains many anti-cancer compounds and antioxidants. Take a kale bunch and cut it into pieces. Once washed and dried, lay the pieces out on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Freeze that for an hour—or even overnight. Then take it out and you’ll have individual pieces of kale that you can store in a large storage bag. If you don’t do it this way, you’ll wind up with one big green glob that’s hard to work with!

Carrots

I cut off the green tops and the very ends of the carrots, then peel them. Rinse them and chop into slices. Blanch the carrots for three minutes in hot water, then cold water. Lay the slices out on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Dry them off completely. Freeze the whole tray for a few hours and then transfer to freezer bags. Carrots contain beta carotene which converts to vitamin A in the body, which you need for good eyesight, beautiful skin and a strong immune system.

Rosemary and thyme

Every rice dish and soup I make contains rosemary and thyme. The compounds in both herbs exert strong antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory actions on the body. Rinse them and remove the leaves from the sprigs and put a tablespoon of herb into each cube of an ice cube tray. Then pour some good olive oil over each “cube” and freeze the whole tray. When you’re ready to use it, just put a cube into your soup and cook with it.

Lemons

I never want to be without lemons. I use lemon juice in my marinades, smoothies and teas. Wash the lemons well and slice them or cut into wedges. Dry them and put into your labeled storage bag and freeze. You can freeze zested lemon rind, too. Just store it in a small glass container.

Tomatoes

Once a tomato has been frozen, you can’t slice it for a sandwich like you might think. So freezing tomatoes is useful if you like to use them in sauces or marinades or soups. Tomatoes contain lycopene, vitamin C and A, and something called alpha tomatine. Collectively, these constituents make tomatoes one of the most protective fruits you can eat. Studies show that eating tomatoes can help reduce the occurrence of all kinds of health problems, especially those related to your prostate and your heart. Of all cancers, prostate cancer has been most widely researched when it comes to tomatoes. To freeze a tomato, simply wash a few of them, pat them dry, place them into a storage bag and expel all the air.

To maintain freshness, make sure your fruits, vegetables and spices are as dry as possible and use a straw to siphon out all air in the bag as you seal it. If you’re interested in freezing more fruits and veggies, I have a longer version of this article at www.suzycohen.com


Canning? Yes, you can.