Let’s face it, out of season produce can be a tasteless and costly experience. I’m convinced that for some folks, it’s the reason they don’t like a lot of vegetables. The fruits and veggies listed below are especially unimpressive and pricey out of season. Freeze them in season to enjoy their peak flavor and nutrition for a lower cost in the off-season:
Asparagus is a great source of protein but its season is fleeting. The most flavorful and crisp stalks are found at markets in March-May and are best enjoyed within 1-2 days. Because asparagus breaks down so quickly, blanching before freezing is a good idea to halt this process. Blanch similar size stalks together to avoid over or undercooking, (around 2 minutes for smaller stalks and 4 minutes for larger stalks) and immediately freeze. Use them in this Asparagus and Leek Quiche recipe, courtesy of Kara Lydon of the foodie dietitian.
Peppers may be one of the most versatile vegetables on the menu, adding flavor and nutrition to almost all cuisines around the globe. Their flavor is the most sharp and bold in late summer and holds up especially well when frozen. Remove the seeds and slice or dice raw peppers. If you want them to stay separated for ease of portioning at a later date, freeze them on a baking sheet for about an hour, and then transfer to an airtight bag or container.
Have you ever bit into a chalky, tasteless tomato in the winter, only to find yourself yearning for the juicy and subtly sweet perfection of a vine ripened summer tomato? Buy them in bulk during the summer and freeze them whole or chopped in an airtight container to use within 6 months. Disclaimer: they won’t hold their structure well after freezing, so blended in salsas or cooked in stews will be your best bet.
The majority of sour and sweet cherries in the U.S. are grown in Michigan and Washington in late summer. You’ll need to pit them before freezing, but the extra bit of work will be 100% worth it when you’re able to enjoy a sweet cherry yogurt parfait in the middle of winter or a homemade cherry pie with in season tart cherries during the holidays (your guests will thank you).
If you haven’t tried freezing grapes, you’re in for a sweet and nutritious treat. A handful of frozen grapes can be a satisfying alternative to curb sweet cravings, without indulging in less nutritious, calorie-laden options. Keep them in the freezer so you’ll be prepared when a craving hits.
Mushrooms are at their peak in fall and winter, so you’ll find more unique varieties around this time. Even if you store them properly, mushrooms tend to go bad within a few days, making them the perfect freezer candidate. You can freeze them raw, but steam blanching or sautéing them first will produce less mushy results when you eventually thaw them for use.
Share your favorites foods to freeze with us in the comments section!
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