Buy fruit and vegetables when in season and on sale and freeze them to save money!

I try to be as frugal and healthy as possible and I love to feed myself and my family fruit and vegetables as often as possible (as a part of a balanced diet). I love to feed my kids blueberries, blackberries, bananas, pears, apples, strawberries, and the list goes on and on. You would be surprised at how quickly junk food lovers can make the switch to healthier fresh fruits and vegetables. The problem is, once the season or sale has passed for your fruit or vegetable of choice, you either pay double the in-season price, or you simply can’t find what you’re looking for. Well, I’ve got an alternative for you, buy them while they’re on sale and or in season, and freeze them! Believe it or not, fruits can stay good frozen, if done properly, for 6 months or more. Vegetables can stay good frozen for a year or longer. Below, I’ve listed the seasonality of most every fruit and vegetable (the time when they’re probably going to be the cheapest) imaginable, and how to freeze and store them to last well into the winter (or other seasons). Just imagine the amount of money you’re going to save, as well as the different fruits you can enjoy when they’re not available in stores any longer! You can now stock up when there is a deal too, knowing it won’t go to waste! You can do the same for many other products like meat!

Seasonality of various fruits and vegetables:

seasonality of fruits and vegetables

The above info was found here.

HOW TO PREPARE VEGETABLES FOR FREEZING


VEGETABLES PREPARATION

Asparagus -Pick bright colored brittle stalks that snap when broken and have tight heads. Wash and sort medium and large stalks. Discard woody and blemished stalks. Break off fibrous ends. Leave whole or cut in 1- to 2-inch lengths. Blanch medium stalks 3 minutes, large stalks (½- to ¾-inch diameter) 4 minutes. Chill in ice water. Asparagus has a shorter storage life than other frozen vegetables. Should be used within 9-10 months.

Beans (Green and Yellow Podded)
Pick young tender beans that snap when broken. Harvest while seeds are small and tender.
Wash, snip off tips and sort for size. Cut or break into suitable pieces or freeze small beans whole. Blanch 3½ minutes. Chill in ice water.

Beans, Lima – Pick well-filled pods containing green, young tender beans (white beans are overmature). Wash, shell and sort. Blanch small and medium beans, 3 minutes; large beans, 4 minutes. Chill in ice water.

Beans, Snap (Italian) Wash, snap off ends and cut or break into l – or 1½-inch lengths. Blanch 3½ minutes. Chill in ice water.

Beets – Use garden varieties of good color and quality. Pick smooth, tender small to medium beets. Remove tops leaving 2 inches of top and wash. Cook until tender. Chill. Remove skins. Slice or dice large beets.

Broccoli – Choose firm, tender stalks with bright green compact heads. Discard off-color heads or any that have begun to blossom. Remove tough leaves and woody butt ends. Cut through stalks lengthwise, leaving heads 1 inch in diameter. Soak ½ hour in salt brine (½ cup salt to 1 quart water) to drive out small insects. Rinse and drain. Blanch 4 minutes in water. Steam-blanch 5 minutes. Chill in ice water. Pack heads and stalks ends alternately in container. Broccoli may be cut into chunks or chopped.

Brussels Sprouts -Pick firm, compact heads of good green color. Wash and trim. Soak ½ hour in salt brine (see broccoli). Rinse and drain. Blanch medium heads, 4 minutes; large heads, 5 minutes. Chill in ice water.

Carrots – Pick smooth, tender carrots before roots become woody. Harvest in cool weather. Top, wash and scrape. Dice or slice ¼-inch thick. Blanch 3½ minutes. Chill in ice water.

Cauliflower – Use well-formed, compact heads with fresh leaves. Trim and wash. Split heads into individual pieces 1 inch in diameter. Soak ½ hour in salt brine (see broccoli). Rinse and drain. Blanch 4 minutes. Chill in ice water.

Sweet Corn—On-the-Cob – Use Golden Bantam types. Small to medium ears are preferred. Harvest early in the morning if weather is hot. If corn is immature, it is watery when cooked; if too mature, it is doughy. Process rapidly. Husk, remove silks and trim ends. Use a large kettle (12- to 15-quart capacity) for blanching. Chill in ice water. Corn which is not thoroughly cooled may become mushy. The long blanching time is necessary to inactivate enzymes which are in the cob. The long cooling time is needed to chill the cob. Failure to follow the blanching and freezing times will result in the development of cobby off-flavors.
Blanching Time—12 Quarts Water


Size of ears Number
ears
Diameter
(inches)
Blanch
(minutes)
Cooling
time
(minutes)

Midget 24 1¼ or less 8 16
Small 14 Between 1¼
and 1½
8 16
Medium to
large
10 Over 1½ 11 22

Sweet Corn—Cut Husk, remove silks and trim ends. Use a large kettle (12- to 15-quart capacity). Blanch whole kernel corn to be cut from the cob 4½ minutes.

Eggplant – Use garden varieties of good color and quality. Precooked eggplant is usually more satisfactory for freezing than blanched eggplant. Peel, cut into ¼ to 1/3-inch slices, or dice. To retain light color, drop pieces immediately into cold water containing 4 tablespoons salt per gallon. Blanch 4½ minutes. Chill and package in layers separated by sheets of freezer paper.

Garden Herbs Wash and drain, but do not blanch leaves. Wrap a few sprigs or leaves in foil or seal in film bags. Store in carton or glass jar.

Kohlrabi – Choose young, tender kohlrabi. Cut tops, wash, peel and dice in ½-inch cubes. Blanch 2½ minutes. Chill in ice water.

Mushrooms – Pick young firm mushrooms of edible types. Wash and remove stem base. Freeze small mushrooms whole; cut large ones into 4 or more pieces. When blanching mushrooms, add 1 teaspoon citric acid (or 3 teaspoons lemon juice or ½ teaspoon ascorbic acid) per quart of water to prevent darkening. Blanch medium or small whole mushrooms 4 minutes; cut pieces, 3 minutes. Chill. OR: Slice mushrooms ¼-inch thick. Saute in butter, 2 minutes. Cool.

Onions – Sweet Spanish types preferred. Can use good garden varieties. Peel onions, wash and cut into quarter sections. Chop. Blanch 1½ minutes. Chill in ice water. (They will keep 3-6 months.)

Peas (Green, English)Avoid Alaska (smooth skin) and other starch peas. Pick bright green, crisp pods with tender, sweet peas but not over-mature. Wash, shell small amount at a time. Blanch 1½ to 2 minutes. Blanch black-eyed peas 2 minutes. Chill in ice water.

Peas (Edible, Podded, Sugar or Chinese)Select bright green, flat tender pods. Wash. Remove stems, blossom ends, and any string. Leave whole. Blanch 2½ to 3 minutes. Chill in ice water,

Peppers (Green)Choose crisp, well developed peppers of deep green color. Wash, cut out stem and remove seeds. Halve, slice or dice. Blanch halved peppers, 3 minutes, sliced or diced ones, 2 minutes. Chill in ice water. You can freeze chopped peppers without blanching them.

Peppers (Pimiento)Choose crisp, well developed peppers of deep red color. Oven roast at 400° F for 3 to 4 minutes. Cook, skin and pack dry without additional heating.

Potatoes – Any good quality potato. For french fries, a russet type preferred. Wash, peel, remove deep eyes, bruises and green surface coloring. Cut in ¼- to ½-inch cubes. Blanch 5 minutes. Cool. For hash browns: Cook in jackets until almost done. Peel and grate. Form in desirable shapes. Freeze. For french fries, peel and cut in thin strips. Fry in deep fat until very light golden brown. Drain and cool.

Pumpkin – Select any good pie pumpkin of good color. Cut or break into fairly uniform pieces. Remove seeds. Bake at 350° F, or steam until tender. Cool, scoop pulp from rind, and mash or put through ricer. You can prepare pie mix for freezing, but omit cloves.

Spinach and other Greens – Select young, tender leaves. Sort and remove tough stems. Wash. Blanch most leafy greens 2 minutes. Blanch collards and stem portions of Swiss chard 3 to 4 minutes. Blanch very tender spinach 1½ minutes. Chill in ice water.

Summer Squash—Zucchini – Select when 5-7 inches long and rind tender and seeds small. Wash, peel and cut in pieces. Blanch ¼-inch slices, 3 minutes; 1½-inch slices, 6 minutes. Chill in ice water. If skin is tender, you do not need to peel.

Winter Squash – Select squash with shells hard enough so you cannot push thumbnail through them. “Dry” types are recommended. Prepare same as pumpkin. You can blend two or more varieties or blend squash with pumpkin.

.

HOW TO PREPARE FRUITS FOR FREEZING


FRUITS PREPARATION

Apples – Most firm-fleshed cooking varieties, especially apples suitable for pies or sauces. Wash in cold water, peel, core, and cut into pie slices. An ascorbic acid powder sold in supermarkets to prevent browning of fruit may be used. Follow package directions. Fill container, seal, label, date and freeze. OR: Soak apple slices in brine solution (½ cup salt to 1 gallon water) for 15 minutes. Drain. Pack in sugar syrup using 2 cups sugar and ½ teaspoon ascorbic acid to 1 quart water. OR: Wash whole apples, drain and dry. Place in freezer bags. Freeze. To use for pie, sauce or other cooked dessert, run cold water over each frozen apple just before peeling. Peel, slice and use immediately.

Apricots – Well-ripened fruits of uniform golden-yellow color. Apricots are better canned than frozen. Wash in cold water and sort. Dip six fully-ripened apricots into boiling water until skins loosen, about 15 to 20 seconds. Chill, peel, halve and remove pits. Fill containers one-third full of syrup—3 cups sugar to 1 quart water with ½ teaspoon ascorbic acid. Pack apricots in syrup. OR: Halve soft ripe fruit, steam 4 minutes, crush and pack with 1 cup sugar to 8-9 cups fruit.

Blackberries, Boysenberries, Dewberries, Loganberries, Young-berries and Nectar-berries. Wash in cold water and sort. Pack in sugar syrup using 3 cups sugar to 1 quart water. OR: Crush and pack in sugar using 1 cup sugar to 7-8 cups fruit. For pies, pack berries dry without sugar.

Blueberries – Any good quality berry, cultivated or wild. Wash in cold water and sort. For desserts, pack in sugar syrup using 3 cups sugar to 1 quart water. OR: Pack in sugar using 1 cup sugar to 8-9 cups fruit. For pies, pack dry without sugar or sugar syrup.

Pie cherries – Any good quality cherry. Wash in cold water, stem and pit. For pies, use 1½ to 2 cups sugar to 4 cups cherries for 9-inch pie. To improve color, add ¼ teaspoon ascorbic acid.

Sweet cherries – Choose bright, fully ripe cherries. Wash in cold water, sort, stem, and pit. Pack in syrup using 2 cups sugar to 1 quart water, ½ teaspoon ascorbic acid, and either 1 teaspoon citric acid or 4 teaspoons lemon juice.

Citrus Fruit Mixes – Available citrus fruits. Wash, peel, section or slice fruit. Sprinkle sugar over each layer of citrus fruit, sweetening to taste. Let stand in refrigerator until fruit forms its own juice. If you wish to keep the mix 3-4 months, add ¼ teaspoon ascorbic acid to the sugar used for each 2 pints fruit.

Cranberries – Any good quality fruit. Wash in cold water, sort and pack without sugar.

Currants – Red Lake and similar large fruit varieties. Wash in cold water and sort. Pack in sugar using 1 cup sugar to 8-9 cups fruit. For cooking, pack dry without sugar.

Gooseberries – Any good cooking variety. Wash in cold water and sort. Pack without sugar or syrup or mix berries and sugar called for in pie recipe.

Ground Cherries – Any available varieties. Wash in cold water and sort. Husk, then scald cherries for 2 minutes. Pack in sugar syrup, 3 cups sugar to 1 quart water.

Muskmelons-Cantaloupes – Use firm-fleshed fruit. Wash in cold water. Cut flesh into ½- to ¾-inch cubes or balls. Cover with sugar syrup, using 2 cups sugar to 1 quart water. You can add whole seedless grapes. Serve partially frozen.

Nectarines – Any good quality fruit. Same as apricots for preparation and packing.

Peaches – Choose well ripened fruit of good quality. Wash in cold water and sort. Dip 3 or 4 peaches into boiling water until skins loosen—15-20 seconds. Chill and peel. Freeze in a sugar syrup following directions for apricots. You may halve, quarter, or slice peaches. See steps 4 and 5 under To Freeze Fruits. OR: Freeze non-browning varieties with dry sugar using ½ teaspoon ascorbic acid and 4 cups sugar with 8 pounds fruit (about 4 quarts).

Pineapple – Any fruit of bright appearance, dark orange-yellow color. Peel and core. Dice, slice or cut into wedges. Cover with syrup, 3 cups sugar to 1 quart water. OR: pack in dry sugar, 1 cup sugar to 8-9 cups fruit. Do not use uncooked pineapple in gelatin molds.

Raspberries – Red or purple fruit of good quality. Wash in cold water and sort. Pack raspberries in syrup, 3 cups sugar to 1 quart water. OR: Pack in dry sugar, 1 cup sugar to 7-8 cups fruit. Handle gently. Pack purple raspberries for jam without sweetening.

Rhubarb – Select stalks that are crisp and tender and of good red color in early spring. Do not pick after July 1. Remove leaves and woody ends, wash in cold water and cut in 1-inch lengths. Do not blanch. For sauce, pack in sugar syrup using 3½ cups sugar to 1 quart water. For pies, pack in dry sugar using 1 cup sugar to 4 cups rhubarb, or pack without sugar for a few months’ storage.

Strawberries – Choose firm, ripe berries of bright red color, or rich aromatic flavor. Wash in cold water, sort and stem. Pack whole, sliced (preferred), or crushed berries in 1 cup sugar to 7- 8 cups fruit. OR: Pack whole berries in syrup, 3-4 cups sugar to 1 quart water.

The above freezing info is courtesy of University of Minnesota.

Storage Life of Frozen Food

FOOD MAX FROZEN TIME (MONTHS)
BAKED GOODS
Breads, yeast 8
Bread dough, yeast 1
Cakes 6
Cookies 4
Cookie dough 3
Pastries, quick breads, muffins 8
Pastry crust, unbaked 2
Pie, fruit, unbaked 6
Sandwiches 1.5
COOKED FOODS
Bean, lentil casseroles 6
Casseroles, meat pies 3
Cooked meat, leftover 3
Gravy, meat broth 3
Poultry, pieces, plain 4
Poultry dishes 6
Poultry, nuggets, patties 3
Soups, stocks, cream 3
DAIRY
Butter, salted 12
Butter, unsalted 3
Cheese, hard 3
Cheese, grated (Parmesan, Romano) 24
Cheese, ricotta 1
Cheese, shredded (cheddar, mozzarella, Swiss) 4
Cream, whipping 1
Milk 1.5
Ice cream, commercial 1
Ice cream, homemade 2 days
Margarine 6
Egg Substitute or liquid eggs, unopened 12
Egg whites, raw 12
Egg yolks 12
Sour Cream 4
MEAT, POULTRY, SEAFOOD, UNCOOKED
Beef, ground 4
Beef, roasts 12
Beef, steaks 12
Beef, stew meat 4
Chicken, cut up 9
Chicken, whole 12
Corned beef, drained, wrapped 1
Cured, smoked meat (bacon) 1
Duck or goose 3
Fish, fatty 3
Fish, lean 6
, large 9
, mall 2
Ham, whole, half, or sliced 2
Lamb, chops 9
Lamb, leg roasts 9
Lunchmeat, unopened (in freezer wrap) 2
Pork, chops 6
Pork, ground 4
Pork, tenderloin, shoulder, roasts 6
Sausages, wieners 2
Shrimp 3
Shellfish 4
Tofu 6
Turkey, cut up 9
Turkey, ground 4
Turkey, whole 12
Variety Meats (tongue, brain, kidneys, etc.) 4
Veal 6
Veal, ground 4
PRODUCE
Berries 4
Dried beans, cooked 6
Fruit, cut up or whole 12
Herbs 12
Vegetables, blanched 12


Be Sociable, Share!

4 Comment

  1. Matt SF says:

    I like this idea and use it often. I even bought a few containers of frozen concentrated orange juice due to the cold weather system hitting Florida’s orange crop.

    Better to stock up than pay $6 per gallon in Spring.

  2. FinanceDad says:

    Great point about the OJ, thanks for stopping bye and commenting!

  3. Jammie says:

    Thanks for posting this article. I do have one question for you: do you use freezer bags or use a vacuum sealer? We have started included many fresh veggies and fruit to our family of five’s diet.

  4. I simply use freezer bags, however, a vacuum sealer will definitely help keep the product fresher, longer. Thanks for your comment!

Leave a Reply

*