Your parents’ garden is producing vegetables in mass quantities. They have more than they can use right now, so you’re getting ready to freeze the excess to last them all winter. Does everything have to be blanched before it’s frozen?
What Needs to be Blanched?
Most vegetables benefit from blanching. It helps preserve their shape and texture when freezing them. Most are blanched for 1 to 3 minutes. It doesn’t take a lot of time.
Some of the excess vegetables that gardeners end up with are zucchini, green beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and potatoes. Most of them benefit from blanching before you freeze them. Potatoes can be cooked, mashed, and frozen.
If it’s okay for a vegetable to be mushy when it’s thawed and cooked, you can skip the step. There are a couple of situations where skipping the blanching measure works well.
Tomatoes can be frozen. It’s often better to make them into tomato puree for quick and easy pasta sauces. If that’s what you plan to do, roast them to remove the skin, put them in a blender, and process until smooth. Freeze that puree in freezer bags. You can also make the pasta sauce first and freeze that.
Cucumbers are the one standout that may not be as great frozen. Freezer pickles are the best option. If your parents like tzatziki sauce, you could grate and freeze cucumber for that.
If your parents have an abundance of carrots, onions, and zucchini, grate them into small freezer bags. When you want to make cakes or bread, it’s already grated and has the liquid that’s needed for a moist crumb. Grated vegetables like carrots and onions are also good for creamy soups.
How to Blanche
If an item needs blanching before you freeze it, boil water. Add the vegetables and start a timer for the appropriate number of minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the vegetables and immediately move them into ice water.
After plunging them in ice water, remove them and place them on towels to dry off. Move them to freezer bags or containers and transfer them to the freezer until needed.
How well do your parents do with meal preparation? Are they struggling with their diet? Do they buy takeout meals and frozen dinners because they’re easier? Elderly care aides help with cleaning, laundry, personal care, and transportation. They can also plan weekly menus, shop for ingredients, and cook meals. Make arrangements by talking to our elderly care specialist.