Have you ever got to the end of the week, only to find an old cabbage rotting away at the bottom of your fridge?
It happens a lot – and it’s this ‘fresh is best’ phenomenon which has caused our nation’s current food waste problem (as it stands, a shocking one-third of all produce is thrown in the bin).
Luckily, there is a work-around which ensures you get your five-a-day without chucking away your unused produce. And the answer is in your freezer.
Preserving produce so it’s ready as and when you need it, freezing is not only more convenient, it’s also just as good for you as consuming fresh food. In fact, studies have found that the nutritional value of frozen fruits and vegetables are equal to – and in some cases – better than their fresh counterparts.
But there’s more to freezing produce than just lumping it in the freezer. There is essential prep work to do if you want to lock those nutrients in.
Here’s how to do it.
Vegetables that freeze well – and how to freeze them
Method 1: Remove outer leaves (if there are any), wash, chop into pieces, blanch, cool and drain. Store flat in freezer bags.
Vegetables to freeze using Method 1:
- Asparagus (cut in half before blanching)
- Broad beans
- Brussels sprouts
Method 2: Wash, chop and store in a freezer bag.
Vegetables to freeze using Method 2:
- Leafy greens (spinach, chard, kale, etc.)
Hint: If your vegetables are chopped small enough, freeze them in an ice cube tray and use in soups and stews.
Method 3: Wash and pack in freezer bags whole.
Vegetables to freeze using Method 3:
Vegetables you should never freeze
Generally speaking, vegetables with a high water content (more than 90%) will not fare well when they are defrosted. This is because the water expands during freezing, which then alters the vegetable’s composition (resulting in a tasteless mush).
Vegetables to eat fresh only:
- Potatoes (you can freeze them whole, but they will only be useful for mashing).