Questions about blanching before freezing vegetables...
Do you have to? Can you get away with not branching some veg?
I.e. can you just cut up and freeze pumpkin/squash and skip the branching?
What veg have you successfully frozen then later used without blanching?
re: Food question
@GwenfarsGarden yeah... I didn't even realize people recommended blanching. I have definitely just washed, chopped, freeze
re: Food question
@alice oh wow, and obviously had no problem eating the veg later. Is that any veg?
I've read that blanching is supposed to retain the colour and stop the flavours and textures from being spoiled. But I keep feeling like it is an unnecessary step.
I'm going to just freeze my cut up pumpkin then. Thanks!
re: Food question
@GwenfarsGarden It's really about well you seal it. If it's vacuum sealed or at least air-tight, then the moisture will be stable and it will be just fine.
re: Food question
@alice I have some seal bags from Ikea and push out the air before sealing. Is that considered airtight?
@GwenfarsGarden I personally dont know, but it is a very good question.
I kind of wonder the same about putting stuff into vacummed zip lock bags.
I hope someone will reply to this thread
@kyzh someone responded to my SBC account saying they didn't know blanching was a thing & never have.
I've been doing more web searching and some articles say you must blanch to keep flavours & textures, whilst others say not all veg, including pumpkin, need to be blanched.
Am thinking that I'm going to start experimenting with my harvests, blanching half & not blanching the other half, and see what the results are.
But clearly some people don't bother & haven't had any problems!
@GwenfarsGarden it's about preserving the most nutrients for the longest time.
If you don't blanch there's enzymes in some veg that break down a small amount of vitamins over long periods (8-16 months). There's still most(90+%?) of the vitamins and especially for veg like squash that you're going to cook til very soft, the texture's not gonna be a problem.
Just chop into usable pieces, freeze, and seal as airtight as possible.
@GwenfarsGarden Another option when you have front-end spoons, is to halve 2+ squash and roast as many as can fit on your oven trays all at once. Once cool you can scoop out the soft flesh and freeze that.
Medium ziplock freezerbags will hold 2 cups before bulging too much (pack what you need for one meal in each bag) and freezing them flat will allow you to save space by standing them up & defrost quickly.
To use: defrost/reheat and add your seasonings(butter, salt, sugar etc).
@SinnahSaint The problem with this idea is that once it's roasted, I'm just going to eat it! I can't resist roast squash/pumpkin
@GwenfarsGarden I make ahead and freeze portions of unseasoned mashed potatoes for easy meals (so I know what I'm talking about). I try to make extra and freeze when ever I'm making something that easily doubles or tripples (eg: meatloaf. There's only 2 of us so I bake it in muffin tins instead of a loaf shape for easy portioning/freezing)
@SinnahSaint ah, sounds like you batch cook too.
I like the way you flatten it so it takes up less room!
@SinnahSaint this is really useful to know. Most veg I freeze will be defrosted and eaten in 6 months, so if they still have 90% nutrients, I'm cool with that.
@GwenfarsGarden it's mostly vit C that dies in the freezer (with or without blanching) and bright colours like the orange in pumpkin/squash may dull/fade to a milder peach colour even within 6 months... But assuming you're getting regular veggies, even the reduced C veg will be plenty to stay healthy.
@SinnahSaint interesting that it affects Vit C more. We do eat lots of veggies. I just love veggies, which is why I try and grow some.
I tend to batch cook curries, soups, pasta sauces, stews etc so we have lots of homemade ready meals in the freezer.
Mostly a whole pumpkin gets used all at once (and we keep the colour), but this time it's a really massive pumpkin, so I figured I might need to freeze some.
Why to blanch food (it can be key for preservation or to destroy unhealthy elements) and exactly how to blanch different vegetables is detailed at the below link.
The longer you intend to keep the food stuffs, the more steps like this are important. If humans with compromised immune systems are involved, blanching probably shouldn't be skipped.
If your freezer doesn't keep things perfectly solidly frozen (like if it makes a lot of frost in the freezer), it really becomes important.
@raye Some people seem to not blanch anything & have no problems. I'm trying to reduce steps when I can.
I take your point about compromised immune systems. I'm thinking of experimenting next season, blanching half a harvest and putting the other half straight in (after any peeling etc), and seeing how it goes.
Our freezer is really good and it really does freeze solidly.
In a lot of cases, I tend to do batch cooking, so I don't need to blanch as I use up all the veg that way.
@GwenfarsGarden I totally get the desire and need to eliminate steps from processes. The actual science behind most modern food storage industry comes from military research, as they have the most unpredictable and harshest conditions, but those industrial methods are what has influenced home cooking the most.
The Wikipedia article had one key sentence where it pointed out the #1 problematic enzyme is lipoxygenase (that's what most blanching destroys), however, that enzyme also protects against inflammation, which is my #1 health challenge. Technically, that means I don't want to blanch more than necessary either.
@raye Ok, interesting. Inflammation is a problem for me too.
I find it hard to juggle my limited energy with being healthy. I think your info just shows me that batch cooking as much as I can, then freezing that, ultimately is healthier, and maximises yield vs energy use.
Sometimes, like this massive pumpkin we have today, we end up with more veg than I can cook in my very large pot! So I have some spare that I need to freeze.
@GwenfarsGarden food preservation began as a communal activity, not a solo cooker/eater activity so we're going to have some challenges.
I think for single and couples, batch cooking is probably a better use of time and resources. Historically, 'family cooking' scale is 4-6 servings at one go, and you can see right off the bat how the need to preserve more foods for longer in a less-finished form is necessary at that point.
@raye this is very true. And they didn't have freezers etc.
I have tried other types of preserving (like fermenting), but at the moment, they take more time/energy, I think because it's because I'm not confident with it.
@GwenfarsGarden I was gifted an instant pot for the holidays, so my next goal will be to explore how to get some better batch cooking out of that.
@raye oh dear, now I have to ask what an instant pot is...!
Mine is a 3 qt device that will work as an Electric Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Saute, Yogurt Maker, Cake Maker, Egg Cooker, Sterilizer, and Warmer. Most people own the 6 qt size, and there's a still larger model as well.
@distel it's really difficult to know where to start first for trying it. 🤪
These have been one of the most popular holiday gifts for the last three years or so. A simple pressure cooker here would cost about $45 (about 40 euros) and a larger Instant Pot than what I have costs approx $90 (80 euros)
This is the modern foodie's preferred type of kitchen gear versus my mom's generation who owned a different machine for every task.
for me I don't have individual items either:
Electric Pressure Cooker -> pressure cooker
Slow Cooker --> regular pot
Rice Cooker -> regular pot
Steamer --> regular pot used with a little bamboo steaming basket
Saute -> I use a pan
Yogurt Maker -> I use a pot and then I pour the mixture into a thermos bottle
Cake Maker -> I bake cake in the oven
Egg Cooker -> regular pot
Sterilizer -> a regular pot or the pressure cooker
Warmer -> a regular pot
I do have a hand blender, which is a wonder for making soups & cutting up large amounts of garlic & ginger, and we use it a lot. Plus a proper kitchen blender with parts, which I regularly use for chopping up my nuts that go into my homemade museli mix. I could never chop them myself & can do enough for over a month in a few minutes. I use the kitchen blender for other things too.
I'd like things I did on the stovetop to maybe be faster with this new cooker, and hopefully do a few formerly-complex things in this where it becomes one-pot cooking.
@GwenfarsGarden @raye @distel My instant pot replaced a slow cooker and a rice cooker, and was my first pressure cooker. Having the built-in timer makes a huge difference for me compared to using a pot on the stove, especially for things like eggs.
But I feel like the single-purpose gadget mentality is still alive & well in its user interface design - instead of a flexible way to punch in your own cooking schedule, there's a squillion pre-programmed buttons, bleh.
I don't take off branches n leaves of reddish. Infact we make a meal of just it's leaves with the branch but that cannot be blanched n frozen..
Peas r frozen for year round..else spinach needs to b blanched
We use tomatoes , heat them up with spices after cut in cubes n add spiced noodles or some crisp noodles...that needn't need spoon n quick to go
Sorry...yet that tomatoes spiced meal needs least energy..☺
@SilkyNsa I've just re-read and I see what you mean. That's a nice idea.
When one returns from work late n got nothing to eat so just cook it up n have with bread ..tastes great
@GwenfarsGarden I don't blanch mushrooms and they are okay.
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