Before you can freeze most vegetables for any length of time, you must prepare them by blanching them first. Fortunately, the process is quite quick and easy, meaning you can freeze plenty of your vegetables for later use.
To blanche vegetables, you will need a pot with a wire basket and a lid. Today, you can find deep pasta pots with a deep wire basket that works perfectly for this, such as the one on the right. This will enable you to cover the vegetables completely when you begin the blanching process, since they cannot be added until the water boils, as well as removing them immediately, without having to dump them out into strainer sitting in the kitchen sink.
First, you will wash the vegetables and prepare them according to the instructions in our Freezing Vegetables Guide for the type of vegetable you are freezing. Once the water begins to boil, you will place the wire basket with the vegetables in it into the boiling water. Once the water begins to boil again, place a cover on the pot and begin calculating the time.
While the blanching is in process, shake or spin the basket a couple of times so that all vegetables blanche evenly. Once the specified blanching time has been reached, remove the basket and place it in a large bowl of cold ice water, enough so that all vegetables are covered. And keep adding more ice as it melts, pouring off water if neccessary. The general rule of thumb is to do the iced water treatment for the same amount of time as they were blanched for. This is to ensure they are no longer “cooking” in the middle.
To freeze, if you have the space, flash freeze them first, then place into a ziploc bag or freezer safe container. This will make it easier to remove only the amount you need, instead of an entire package.
You can reuse the blanching water for more batches of vegetables.