Freezing foods

Picking blueberries ©Janet Allen We go to a local organic farm to pick extra blueberries to freeze

Freezing is our primary method of storing our fruits and vegetables.

The advantages: It's pretty easy, and the produce retains its nutritional content.

The disadvantages:Freezers require electricity, and the food supposedly maintains its quality for shorter periods of time than do other preservation methods. I say "supposedly" since we haven't noticed very much deterioration even when we keep it an entire year.

We have chosen to buy a chest-style freezer and we don't open it frequently, so we try to minimize the amount of electricity it uses.

Plastic freezer bag ©Janet Allen
We've frozen some of our produce in plastic freezer bags

Important tip:When we first started, we were rather lax in labeling the packages. After all, isn't it obvious what's in it? No, in a few months, it's not so obvious. Or even if we knew the contents we didn't know which packages were the oldest and thus should be used first. We've learned to label every single package in the freezer. It only takes a second with freezer tape and a laundry marker. It's an invaluable habit to acquire.

Glass ©Janet Allen
We're trying to freeze more in glass containers since we don't trust that plastic is healthy

Vegetables: We freeze greens (such as collards, kale, chinese greens, spinach), tomatoes, peppers, green beans, soybeans, and herbs. We also purchase large quantities of locally-grown vegetables, such as large quantities of winter squash and sweet potatoes at the farmers' market and freeze them when the fresh versions start to reach the end of their storage. (We purchase the sweet potatoes in the North Carolina farmers' market when we're visiting our children.)

Freezer jar ©Janet Allen
We also use freezer jars, such as this Ball jar that's designed for the freezer

Freezing is our main method for preserving tomatoes. We clean them and remove the part where it attaches to the stem. It's not necessary to remove the skins, although that can easily be done by putting them in boiling water for about a minute and then slipping the skin off. Then we simply put them into a plastic bag.

Some of these vegetables can just be frozen as is (such as the tomatoes), but some have to be blanched first (such as the green beans). Check a

Pie ©Janet Allen
Our raspberry pie treat made with frozen berries for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine's Day and our anniversary in March

Fruits: We freeze blueberries (both home-grown and picked at U-pick local farms), raspberries (again home-grown and U-pick), and strawberries (U-pick only). We also freeze some of our grape juice and sauces made from some of our currants and grapes.