Freezing food

Many vegetables can be frozen for later use. Cabbage, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, herbs, radishes and celery don’t freeze well but other vegies do fine. Most vegetables should be blanched quickly before hitting the freezer. This stops the ripening process so that your veggies retain their colour and flavour for longer.  Simply get a big pot of water on the boil and drop the veggies in for 2 – 3 minutes then pull them out and immerse in cold water for a few minutes to cool, and then freeze.

When wrapping or bagging food for the freezer, make sure you expel as much air as possible from the packaging. This will stop your food coming into contact with, and losing water to, dry freezer air. Label and date your food so you know what you are thawing out. This is really important for people who also use their freezer to deal with an excess of cane toads!

If you have a glut of tomatoes you can turn them into soup or Napoli sauce as these freeze well, even if the whole tomatoes aren’t that keen on getting frosty.

Annual herbs such as parsley, dill and coriander can be pureed with a little olive oil and frozen for later use. Basil reaches its peak in about May but you can make a big batch of pesto (leave the oil out) and freeze it in air tight containers. Once you thaw it, you can add the olive oil.  Pesto is a fantastically versatile sauce that can be added to pizza, pasta, minestrone, sandwiches (toasted or plain), salad dressing, and mayonnaise or for drizzling over roasted vegies or meat. Pesto pasta is very child-friendly and can be served cold in lunch boxes as a change from sandwiches.

Fruit can be frozen but it is trickier since it has a high moisture content. When you thaw frozen fruit, place it in a single layer on a baking tray lined with paper towel to absorb excess liquid as it thaws.

Lemon and lime juice can be frozen into ice cube trays then once frozen, bagged up for easy use.

Chop up very ripe bananas and freeze in a freezer bag. Blend them up from frozen (in a powerful blender) to make creamy banana ice-cream or add milk and honey to make a smoothy. Chop ripe mangoes and puree the flesh for later use in smoothies or make sorbets or ice-cream from them.

Sustain Food - Freezing