How to Freeze 16 Fruits and Vegetables

Guidelines for Prepping, Blanching & Freezing Produce

This summer, head out to a pick-your-own farm to stock up on fresh berries or put up your bumper crop of broccoli, peas or peppers. On the following pages we’ll show you how to preserve fruits and vegetables when they are at their nutritional peak, so you can use them throughout the year.

Watch: See our tips on healthy foods to stock your freezer


Freezing Fruits and Vegetables Step 1

Step 1

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


Freezing Fruits and Vegetables Step 2

Step 2

Most vegetables should be blanched (briefly cooked in boiling water) before freezing. Fruit does not need to be blanched. (Suggested blanching time for 16 fruits and vegetables to follow.)

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. (Suggested blanching time for 16 fruits and vegetables to follow.)

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


Freezing Fruits and Vegetables Step 3

Step 3

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


Freezing Fruits and Vegetables Step 4

Step 4

Pack the frozen vegetables or fruit in quart- or gallon-size freezer bags.


vacuum sealer

Step 5

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, such as the FoodSaver Freshsaver ($29.99, foodsaver.com) and the Reynolds Handi-Vac ($12.79, amazon.com and housewares stores), 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, such as the FoodSaver V3840 Vacuum Sealer ($173.40, foodsaver.com), 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.


reheating frozen produce

Step 6

To reheat frozen vegetables for a quick side dish:
Microwave: Place in a microwave-safe dish, add 2 tablespoons water and cover. .
Steam: Place in a steamer basket in a large saucepan over 1 inch of boiling water. .


Asparagus

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


Bell Peppers

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


Broccoli & Cauliflower

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


Brussels Sprouts

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


Carrots

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


Corn

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


Chard, Kale & Spinach

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


Green Beans

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


Peas

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


Tomatoes

10. Tomatoes

Prep: Remove the core.
Blanching Time: N/A

To Reheat Frozen Vegetables (Microwave): N/A
To Reheat Frozen Vegetables (Steaming): N/A


Zucchini & Summer Squash

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


berries

12. Blackberries, Blueberries & Raspberries

Prep: Wash and pat dry.
Blanching Time: N/A

To Reheat Frozen Fruit: N/A


Cherries

13. Cherries

Prep: Remove stems and pits, if desired.
Blanching Time: N/A

To Reheat Frozen Fruit: N/A


Nectarines, Peaches & Plums

14. Nectarines, Peaches & Plums

Prep: Remove pit; cut into sixths.
Blanching Time: N/A

To Reheat Frozen Fruit: N/A


Rhubarb

15. Rhubarb

Prep: Trim woody ends; cut into 1-inch pieces.
Blanching Time: N/A

To Reheat Frozen Fruit: N/A


Strawberries

16. Strawberries

Prep: Remove the stem and hull. Cut large ones in half.
Blanching Time: N/A

To Reheat Frozen Fruit: N/A