How to freeze fresh vegetables

Learn how to freeze fresh vegetables, how to blanch vegetables to be frozen, and get recipes that can be made with frozen veggies! Also discover which vegetables freeze well.

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How to freeze fresh veggies

In Australia, we’re lucky to have access to most fruit and veg all year whether it’s in season or not, as supermarkets either import or cold store them. But it’s still best to buy produce that is in-season locally, because it’s cheaper, more nutritious and more sustainable. This beautiful in-season produce is also great to freeze while it's at its nutritional peak. It’s easy to freeze fresh produce, find out how below.

How to blanch vegetables

Most vegetables should be blanched before freezing. This helps retain their nutrients and keeps the vegetables fresher for longer. This is how to prepare vegetables to be frozen:
  1. Clean and cut vegetables: Cut vegetables into similar sized shapes for even cooking
  2. Blanch: Place in large pot of boiling water for 1-5 minutes, depending on size and type of vegetable
  3. Plunge in ice water: This stops the cooking process
  4. Dry thoroughly: Drain and pat dry to reduce the formation of ice crystals on the surface
  5. Freeze on a tray: freeze veggies in one layer first, this stops them sticking together when placed in the freezer bag
  6. Place in freezer-safe containers: If using freezer bags, squeeze out excess air and ensure it's sealed well. Reusable silicon freezer bags are more sustainable.

Top tip: Freezing vegetables changes their texture, and they will not be as snappy or crunchy afterward. For this reason they're best for cooking, rather than in a salad.

Fresh vegetables that freeze well

These fresh vegetables freeze well using the blanching process:
  • Green beans
  • Broccoli
  • Broccolini
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Leek
  • Eggplant
  • Onion*
  • Pumpkin
  • Sweet corn
  • Asparagus
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Tomatoes*
  • Celery*
*Note:  These vegetables have a high water content, so they become very soft after freezing but are perfect for cooking and sauces.
You can also freeze whole chillies, kaffir lime leaves and sliced ginger, which make great flavour additions to curries and the like.

How to use frozen vegetables

Frozen vegetables release more moisture and will become softer more quickly than fresh vegetables, so they should be treated differently in some dishes.

1. Soups, stews, pastas or casseroles

If you're using frozen vegetables in a soup, stew, pasta or casserole, you can add the vegetables while still frozen as a bit of extra liquid won't affect the dish.

2. Stir-fried or roasted

You can cook your vegetables from frozen, keep in mind they won't need to cook as long as fresh vegetables. Note that hardier vegetables such as grean beans, broccoli, broccolini and Brussels sprouts will work best for stir-frying or roasting after being frozen.

3. Dips, toppings or baked goods

Defrost the vegetables in the fridge and drain them when you don't want to add too much excess liquid, such as in slices, cakes or on pizza.

Cook with frozen vegetables

Once you've prepared and frozen your vegetables, the fun part is choosing what to cook with them. The recipes below are great for frozen vegetables, why not give them a go!

GET THE RECIPE: Healthy Beef and Lentil Bolognese

Frozen onion, carrots and celery will work well in this pasta sauce.

GET THE RECIPE: Egg, Bacon and Veggie Pie

Frozen pumpkin and leeks would work well in this recipe, let the vegetables thaw and drain before cooking them for the pie.

GET THE RECIPE: Low-carb Chicken Parmigiana

Frozen tomatoes and eggplant can go straight into this dish, ensure the eggplant is fully warmed through before serving.

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