Got extra produce? Just freeze it! Here's how to freeze fresh fruits and vegetables so they'll last much longer.

Carolyn Malcoun
Updated March 18, 2020

Right now at the grocery store, you may be more likely to find fresh produce than frozen. The reason people are buying lots of frozen fruits and vegetables is because they last a long time (months and months)—unlike their fresh counterparts. However, if you can only find fresh or have a bounty from your garden, we have plenty of tips to freezing fruits and vegetables to help make them last. It's not quite as easy as buying a bag of pre-frozen strawberries or broccoli, but you'll be happy when you have fruits and vegetables to eat down the road.

You will have to stand over the stove for a couple of minutes to blanch (quickly-cooking in boiling water) vegetables before freezing. This step kills bacteria and stops the action of food-degrading enzymes, slows vitamin and mineral loss and brightens color. The subsequent freeze locks the vegetables in a relatively nutrient-rich state.

Before you freeze your produce, place the cut-up fruits and vegetables on a large baking sheet. That way, the individual pieces don't congeal into a single, solid block. I can take whatever I need out of the bag and put the rest back in the freezer. I no longer have to commit to using the entire container. I scoop out a few cups of berries, peaches or other fruit to make a pie, crisp or easy fruit smoothie.

When the produce section at the grocery store looks bleak, I stir my frozen vegetables into a soup, stew or make a quick vegetable side dish. So don't pass up a great produce at the market or throw away fresh fruits or vegetables—here's how to freeze them.

Related: Easy Recipes for Frozen Fruit and Vegetables

Step 1

Prepare produce. (Details on how to prepare 16 fruits and vegetables to freeze to follow.)

Step 2

Most vegetables should be blanched (briefly cooked in boiling water) before freezing. Fruit does not need to be blanched.

To blanch: Bring 1 gallon of water per pound of prepped vegetables (about 2 cups) to a boil in a large pot. Add the vegetables, cover, return to a boil and cook. See suggested blanching time for vegetables below.

Transfer the vegetables to a large bowl of ice water. Drain well; pat dry.

Step 3

Spread fruit or vegetables in a single layer on a large baking sheet and freeze until solid.

Step 4

Pack the frozen vegetables or fruit in quart- or gallon-size freezer bags. Or pack fruits and vegetables in bags that are made to use with a vacuum sealer and seal them airtight before storing in the freezer.

When frozen foods come in contact with air, off flavors can develop. Vacuum sealers, which remove all the air from a package, help keep flavors fresh. Hand-held models are economical, light and easy to store. They come with reusable plastic bags with zip-close tops and a vent where the sealer attaches to suck the air from the bag. Larger models are bulkier to store, but they're more durable so they're great if you plan to freeze food regularly. Their heavy-duty plastic bags can be cut and sealed to create any size bag.

Guidelines for Prepping & Blanching

1. Asparagus

Prep: Trim woody ends.

Blanching Time: 2-3 minutes

To Reheat Frozen Vegetables (Microwave): 1-2 minutes

To Reheat Frozen Vegetables (Steaming): 2-3 minutes

2. Bell Peppers

Prep: Remove seeds; cut into 1/2-inch pieces.

Blanching Time: 2-3 minutes

To Reheat Frozen Vegetables (Microwave): 1-2 minutes

To Reheat Frozen Vegetables (Steaming): 2-3 minutes

3. Broccoli & Cauliflower

Prep: Cut into 1- to 1 1/2-inch florets.

Blanching Time: 3 minutes

To Reheat Frozen Vegetables (Microwave): 2-4 minutes

To Reheat Frozen Vegetables (Steaming): 2-4 minutes

4. Brussels Sprouts

Prep: Remove outer leaves, trim stems. Halve small sprouts or quarter larger.

Blanching Time: 2-3 minutes

To Reheat Frozen Vegetables (Microwave): 2-4 minutes

To Reheat Frozen Vegetables (Steaming): 4-6 minutes

5. Carrots

Prep: Peel and cut into 1/4-inch slices or cubes.

Blanching Time: 2 minutes

To Reheat Frozen Vegetables (Microwave): 1-2 minutes

To Reheat Frozen Vegetables (Steaming): 2-3 minutes

6. Corn

Prep: Husk corn and remove kernels.

Blanching Time: 2 minutes

To Reheat Frozen Vegetables (Microwave): 1-2 minutes

To Reheat Frozen Vegetables (Steaming): 2-3 minutes

7. Dark Leafy Greens: Chard, Kale & Spinach

Prep: Remove any woody stems and/or ribs; chop if desired.

Blanching Time: 2-3 minutes

To Reheat Frozen Vegetables (Microwave): 1-2 minutes

To Reheat Frozen Vegetables (Steaming): 2-3 minutes

8. Green Beans

Prep: Trim stem ends.

Blanching Time: 3 minutes

To Reheat Frozen Vegetables (Microwave): 1-2 minutes

To Reheat Frozen Vegetables (Steaming): 2-3 minutes

9. Peas: Shelling Peas, Snap Peas & Snow Peas

Prep: Remove any fibrous stems; remove shelling peas from the pod.

Blanching Time: 1-2 minutes

To Reheat Frozen Vegetables (Microwave): 1-2 minutes

To Reheat Frozen Vegetables (Steaming): 2-3 minutes

10. Tomatoes

Prep: Remove the core.

Blanching Time: N/A

To Reheat Frozen Vegetables (Microwave): N/A

To Reheat Frozen Vegetables (Steaming): N/A

11. Zucchini & Summer Squash

Prep: Cut into 1/2-inch slices.

Blanching Time: 2-3 minutes

To Reheat Frozen Vegetables (Microwave): 1-2 minutes

To Reheat Frozen Vegetables (Steaming): 2-3 minutes

12. Blackberries, Blueberries & Raspberries

Prep: Wash and pat dry.

Blanching Time: N/A

To Reheat Frozen Fruit: N/A

13. Cherries

Prep: Remove stems and pits, if desired.

Blanching Time: N/A

To Reheat Frozen Fruit: N/A

14. Nectarines, Peaches & Plums

Prep: Remove pit; cut into sixths.

Blanching Time: N/A

To Reheat Frozen Fruit: N/A

15. Rhubarb

Prep: Trim woody ends; cut into 1-inch pieces.

Blanching Time: N/A

To Reheat Frozen Fruit: N/A

16. Strawberries

Prep: Remove the stem and hull. Cut large ones in half.

Blanching Time: N/A

To Reheat Frozen Fruit: N/A

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