Oh sweet summertime – warmer weather, family vacations, cookouts and best of all, the delicious in-season produce. My daughter and I enjoy spending our time together going to local farmer’s markets. It is important for me to teach her where fruits and vegetables come from. We especially love picking fresh strawberries and blueberries. Creating memories in the kitchen utilizing our findings makes it even better. With so many types of produce to choose from throughout the summer season, there are many recipes to try. This makes this time of year very exciting. However, when summer comes to an end, it is hard not to feel somewhat sad as the cold weather nears.
The good news is that it is possible to relive those sweet summer days throughout the year by taking time to freeze in-season fruits and vegetables. Freezing summer produce has always been a family activity of ours and is a great way to bring the family together. Sweet corn, blueberries, peaches, and green beans are a few of our favorites. As a busy mom there is nothing better than having in-season produce at my fingertips year-round. Stocking up on these staples is not only convenient, but frozen food gives a nutritious advantage. Packed at peak, the vitamins and minerals are sealed in.
Here are a few of my family’s favorite produce items and recipes we enjoy.
How to freeze: Husk corn, blanch ears for 4 minutes, cool in ice water for 4 minutes and drain. Cut the kernels from the cob and package in freezer-safe containers leaving one inch headspace.
Storage: Best if used within 8-12 months of freezing.
Nutrition highlight: Magnesium (important for muscle and nerve function)
Use in soups, stews, stir fry, salads and casseroles
Favorite recipe: Vegan Tortilla Soup is a perfect treat for those cold days!
How to freeze: Wash and dry the berries. Spread on a tray and freeze. Once frozen solid, transfer to a closed container or freezer-safe storage bag.
Storage: Enjoy within 12 months of freezing.
Nutrition highlight: Packed with antioxidants (role in the prevention of many diseases)
Use in sauces, cobblers, mocktails, frozen yogurt and pancakes
Favorite recipe: Blueberry Barbecue Sauce is a delicious addition to chicken or pork!
How to freeze: Wash in cold water, snip and cut into 2 to 4-inch lengths. Blanch in water for 3 minutes, cool immediately, drain and package in freezer-safe containers or storage bags.
Storage: Best if used within 12 months after freezing.
Nutrition highlight: Vitamin A (important for vision and immune health)
Use in casseroles, soups and stews, stir-fried with other vegetables or sauteed with garlic and olive oil.
Favorite recipe: Green Beans With Basil, Balsamic & Almonds is a delicious side dish to any holiday meal!