Specific Directions for Freezing Vegetables

Asparagus

  • Select young, tender spears.
  • Trim off scales and tough ends. Cut, if desired.
  • Water blanch:
    • Small spears - 2 minute
    • Medium spears - 3 minute
    • Large spears - 4 minutes

Beans (broad)

  • Wash, shell, sort by size and rinse.
  • Water blanch:
    • Small - 2 minutes
    • Medium - 3 minutes

Beans (green or wax)

  • Wash and snip ends. Cut, if desired.
  • Water blanch:
    • Cut - 2 minutes
    • Whole - 3 minutes

Beans (lima)

  • Harvest while seed is green.
  • Wash, shell, sort by size and rinse.
  • Water blanch:
    • Small - 2 minutes
    • Medium - 3 minutes

 Beets

  • Select young, tender beets.
  • Wash and trim tops, leaving 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) of stems and tap roots to prevent bleeding of colour during cooking.
  • Cook in boiling water until tender:
    • Small - 25 -- 30 minutes
    • Medium - 45 -- 50 minutes
  • Cool quickly in ice water. Peel; remove stems and
    tap roots. Cut into slices or cubes or grate coarsely.

Broccoli

  • Select firm, tender stalks with compact heads.
  • Wash; remove leaves and woody portions.
  • Cut into 1 1/2 inch (3.75 cm) pieces.
  • If insects are present, soak broccoli in solution of 4 tsp (20 mL) salt to 4 quarts (4 L) water for 30 minutes before blanching.
  • Water blanch: 3 minutes
  • Steam blanch: 5 minutes

Brussels Sprouts

  • Select green, firm, compact, insect-free heads.
  • Wash thoroughly; trim and remove outer leaves.Sort by size.
  • Water blanch:
    • Small - 3 minutes
    • Medium - 4 minutes
    • Large - 5 minutes

Cabbage

  • Wash; discard tough outer leaves.
  • Cut into thin wedges, coarsely shred, or separate into leaves.
  • Water blanch: 1 1/2 minutes
  • Suitable for cooked dishes only.

Carrots

  • Raw carrots will keep for several months if left unwashed and stored in a cold storage room or washed, placed in paper towel-lined perforated plastic bags in refrigerator.
  • If freezing, select young carrots of a coreless
    variety.
  • Wash; peel or scrape.
  • Water blanch:
    • Small, whole - 5 minutes
    • Diced, sliced or julienned - 2 minutes

Cauliflower

  • Select compact heads.
  • Wash and trim off leaves.
  • Cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) florets.
  • If insects are present, soak florets in solution of 4 tsp (20 mL) salt to 4 quarts (4 L) water for 30 minutes before blanching.
  • Water blanch: 3 minutes in water containing 4 tsp salt (20 mL) to 4 quarts (4 L) water

 Celery

  • Wash and cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) pieces.
  • Water blanch: 3 minutes
  • Suitable for cooked dishes only.

Chard Stems
(For chard leaves, see Greens)

  • Wash.
  • Water blanch: 2 minutes

Corn (cream-style)

  • Remove husk and silk. Wash and trim cobs.
  • Water blanch: 4 minutes
  • Cool very quickly in ice water.
  • Cut kernels from cob halfway through kernel.
  • Scrape cob to remove juice

Corn on the Cob

  • Remove husk and silk. Wash and trim cobs.
  • Water blanch:
    • Small cobs 7 minutes
      (1 1/4 inches/3 cm or less in diameter)
    • Medium cobs 9 minutes
      (1 1/4 - 1 1/2 inches/3 - 3.75 cm in diameter)
    • Large cobs 11 minutes
      (over 1 1/2 inches/3.75 cm in diameter)
  • These times include blanching of the cobs and kernels. Under blanching may cause a grass-like taste.
  • Cool very quickly in ice water.

Corn (whole kernel)

  • Remove husk and silk. Wash and trim cobs.
  • Water blanch: 4 minutes
  • Cool very quickly in ice water.
  • Cut kernels off close to cob.

 Garlic

  • Freezing not recommended due to flavour changes and strong odour in freezer.

Greens
(beet, chard, kohlrabi, spinach, turnip
)

  • Select tender leaves.
  • Wash; trim off stems.
  • Water or steam blanch: 30 seconds or just wilted

Herbs

  • Wash, drain and pat dry with paper towels.
  • Chop, if desired. Do not blanch.
  • Wrap small portions in plastic wrap and place in freezer bag. May darken on thawing.

Kohlrabi

  • Select tender kohlrabi.
  • Wash and cut off tops and roots. Peel.
  • Tiny kohlrabi may be left whole.
  • Cut larger kohlrabi into 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) cubes.
  • Water blanch:
    • Cubed 1 minute
    • Tiny whole 3  minutes

Leeks

  • Trim and split lengthwise; wash thoroughly to remove grit.
  • Do not blanch.
  • Slice; package in small amounts.
  • Double wrap to prevent odours in freezer.

Mixed Vegetables

  • Blanch each vegetable as recommended.
  • Combine as desired.

Mushrooms

  • Select mushrooms with tightly closed caps.
  • Wash and trim. Do not soak.
  • To prevent darkening, dip in solution of 1 tsp (5 mL) lemon juice to 2 cups (500 mL) water.
  • Sauté small batches in butter for 4 minutes, chill in
    refrigerator and freeze.

Onions

  • Freezing not recommended except in cooked dishes. Blanching and freezing result in a poor texture and a very strong odour in freezer.
  • Bulb onions store best in a cool dry place.

Parsnips

  • Select tender parsnips. Wash.
  • Peel; cut into 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) slices or cubes.
  • Water blanch: 2 minutes
  • Parsnips keep well in the ground until the ground freezes; store in a cold storage room.

Peas (edible pods: Chinese, snow, sugar)

  • Select bright green, flat, tender pods. Wash.
  • Remove stems, blossom ends and any strings.
  • Water blanch:
    • Small pods 1 1/2 minutes
    • Large pods 2 minutes

Peas (green

  • Select young, tender peas.
  • Wash, shell and rinse.
  • Water blanch: 1 1/2 minutes

Peppers (bell, hot)

  • Wash, halve and remove seeds.
  • Do not blanch.
  • Finely chop or slice in thin rings.
  • Suitable for cooked dishes only.
  • Hot Pepper Caution: Hot peppers cause severe skin and eye irritation. Wear rubber gloves when handling hot peppers and avoid touching any exposed skin.

Potatoes

  • Freezing not recommended due to poor texture and flavour.
  • Cooked mashed potatoes may be frozen for short periods of time. Expect significant flavour and texture changes.

Potatoes (french fries)

  • Select mature potatoes; store for 30 days.
  • Wash, peel and cut into strips.
  • Rinse; dry thoroughly. Deep fry small quantities in hot oil for about 5 minutes or until tender but not brown.
  • Drain on paper towels; cool and freeze.
  • To serve, bake on cookie sheet at 475 F (240 C) until browned.

Pumpkin

  • Wash, halve and remove seeds.
  • Steam or bake until tender.
  • Scoop out pulp; mash or puree.
  • Simmer to desired consistency.
  • Cool quickly. Package in desired amounts.

Spaghetti Squash

  • Prepare and cook as winter squash.
  • Remove strands of squash using a fork.

Squash, Summer
(chayote, pattypan, vegetable marrow)

  • Wash and cut into 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) slices.
  • Steam blanch: 3 minutes
  • Cool on paper towel-lined trays in refrigerator.

Squash, Winter
(acorn, butternut, hubbard)

  • Wash, halve and remove seeds.
  • Steam or bake until tender.
  • Scoop out pulp; mash or puree.
  • Cool quickly. Package in desired amounts.

Sweet Potatoes

  • Wash and cook until tender.
  • Cool and peel. Leave whole or slice. May also be mashed while hot; cool and freeze.

Tomatoes

  • Select firm, ripe tomatoes.
  • Wash. To remove skins, dip in boiling water 30 seconds and ice water 30 seconds. Peel and core. Freeze whole or cut into pieces.
  • Suitable for cooked dishes only.
  • May also be stewed; cooled, packaged and frozen.
  • For more information on freezing tomatoes visit our Preserving Tomatoes page.

Tomatoes (green)

  • Select firm, green tomatoes. Wash.
  • Core and slice 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick.
  • Layer slices, separating layers with wax paper.
  • Darkening may occur.

Turnips

  • Wash, peel and cut into 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) cubes.
  • Water blanch: 2 minutes

Zucchini

  • May be blanched as for Summer Squash.
  • May also be grated and frozen unblanched for baking. Measure and label quantity. Use when barely thawed to minimize moisture loss. Do not drain before using.

​Vegetable Juices

Wash and prepare vegetables. Extract juice.

Vegetable juice must be heated (pasteurized) by boiling for 1 minute and then cooled before freezing. Juice from juicers (machines that extract juice using steam) can be frozen without additional heating.

For a printable version, click here: Freezing Vegetables (PDF, 46 kb)
 
Freezing tomatoes? View our Preserving Tomatoes PDF (77 kb)
 
Last updated on April 28, 2017