Freezing Produce by the Handful

by Ivory Soap

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My Gran always called it ‘putting up the ______’.  It took a whole day for each crop.  Putting up the tomatoes.  Putting up the squash.  Putting up the peppers.

I am not my Gran.

For one, I can’t get all my produce to appear at the same time.  Second, I’m lazy and all day long is way too long for me.  Especially multiple times in a season.  Third, not all my veggies ‘made’ this year.  (Read:  Have to buy Ripley tomatoes at the Kroger.)  So, here’s what I do.  It takes about five whole minutes:

1.  Gather and clean a small batch of veggies from the garden…or farmer’s market.

1.  Halve the bell peppers, slice the squash (not pictured) and cut out any bad spots on everyone.  Leave tomatoes and hot peppers (not pictured) whole.


3.  Steam with the top on for about three minutes.  (I just go till they’re BRIGHT .)


Like so:


4.  Then run a bunch of cold water in a bowl and dump in some ice cubes.  (Diligent people have this prepared ahead of time, but I never do.)


5.  Fish out your tomatoes and pull the loosened skin off.


6.  Freezer bag ’em.  Squish out the air and toss them in the icebox.

bagged veg

Seriously, I do this while I’m making breakfast or something.  Two seconds.  Awesome.


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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Kira September 2, 2009 at 8:50 am

thats exactly what i have been doing this season! Its awesome and easy peasy! 😀

Nicole September 2, 2009 at 9:22 am

Looks easy. What do you do with them later?

Nicole September 2, 2009 at 9:28 am

We do our corn like that, but it does take a whole day. We set up a big pot of boiling water, and another big pot of ice water. Then, pick the corn, shuck the corn and throw it in the boiling water for exactly one minute, followed by the ice water for exactly one minute. Then, using a sharp knife, cut the kernels off the cob, put them in freezer bags and freeze them. It’s so nice to have wonderful, sweet corn all winter long.

Maria September 2, 2009 at 9:41 am

That is fantastic! Will do!

Michelle September 2, 2009 at 12:22 pm

OK…now THIS is a technique I can DO!

Tabitha Klucking September 2, 2009 at 12:25 pm

My kinda preserving!

Julie September 2, 2009 at 12:39 pm

I started freeing my veggies for the first time this year. Makes life a whole lot easier!!

Thea September 2, 2009 at 12:45 pm

If I plan on canning my tomatoes in a sauce then I won’t blanch them. Simply wash and throw in a freezer bag and then into the freezer. Add to the bag as the tomatoes get ripe. Once ready to make sauce simply toss the tomaotes in a strainer, then run them under hot water until they start to thaw. The skins will literaly pop off the tomatoes. So easy and saves lots of time!!!

tanya walton September 2, 2009 at 2:29 pm

Thats ace…can you do this with chillis 2??? not sure if they freeze well….I so hate drying stuff…I love this quick fix on freezing!!!

Jenn September 2, 2009 at 3:03 pm

I haven’t done this with peppers– great idea. When I freeze tomatoes, I don’t even bother steaming and peeling them– I freeze them whole on a cookie tray and then throw them into baggies. When I need to use them, I just run the frozen tomatoes under warm water and skins peel right off.

@tanya: it works with chiles, too!

Ivory Soap September 2, 2009 at 5:28 pm

@tanya–yes, ma’am. chilis do great. I just used some today that I’d frozen.

Ivory Soap September 2, 2009 at 5:30 pm

@Nicole–some end up in stirfry or sauces…the hot peppers were diced and put in a meatloaf tonight. I get out a few tomatoes in the morning and saute them up with basil and eggs for the hubby b-fast. Whatever you like! Soups, sauces, just not salads.

Sarah September 2, 2009 at 7:48 pm

This is new to me. Why cook and then freeze over just freezing? Won’t you have to cook the veggies after thaw anyway?

Ivory Soap September 2, 2009 at 8:37 pm

@Sarah–there are enzymes in the veggies that make them deteriorate in the freezer. Blanching them first denatures the enzyme and keeps the flavor and nutrients.

Nikole Gipps September 2, 2009 at 8:42 pm

The question is – what do they come out as? I froze some of my harvest this year too. Everyone is of the opinion that the frozen items later taste terrible. (Tomatoes like cardboard, someone just said to me.) So what do you think about the end result of it?

Keira Eddy September 2, 2009 at 9:09 pm

I’m so glad to hear you can do this with tomatoes. I had heard that canning them is dangerous, so I’ve frantically been making soups and sauces to use them up before they go bad. My minestrone and lentil stews have never tasted better, but there are still more tomatoes! Thanks for the easy tip.

Phyllis September 3, 2009 at 12:48 am

Do you add any water to the pot for the steam?

Nancy September 3, 2009 at 8:42 pm

I do this with with fruit (cut up peaches, blueberries, bananas) but I don’t blanche them. I never thought to do this with veggies. I can’t wait to go to the farmers market! Can you get the skin off the green peppers after they are cooked?

Phyllis September 8, 2009 at 9:13 pm

Anyone? Bueller? Hello? I’ve got mounds of goodies waiting to get steamy. Do you use a steamer basket with no water? Are the veggies just on the bottom of the pot? Can it be that easy? Do I start with a cold pot? How high of a flame? Thanks….

Ivory Soap September 10, 2009 at 11:13 am

@Phyllis- I have a steamer basket in the pot with water underneath. Just boil it and put the top on.

Ivory Soap September 10, 2009 at 11:25 am

@Nancy–The green peppers peel really well once they’re thawed.

Ivory Soap September 10, 2009 at 11:28 am

@nikole–if you blanch them, they will still keep well. If not, the enzymes kill all of the flavor. Have you ever gotten a stir fry mix at the store? They come out like that.

Phyllis September 10, 2009 at 8:55 pm

Thanks! The steaming will commence shortly. Note to Keira: Canning tomatoes is fabulous, don’t worry. Somewhere I’ve read that adding lemon juice will bump up the acidity if that concerns you. When canning, keep everything hot & clean. Once you get your equipment you’ll be consumed with thinking of things to can — jellies, jams, salsas, tomato juice. Apple-Jalapeno Jelly slathered on crackers with cream cheese. Get grapes in season, make juice now and freeze it. In the winter, defrost it and whip up a batch of jelly. Strawberry Jammmmm. See what I mean?

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