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Freezing Fruits and Vegetables Lunch & Learn 12 noon to 1 pm June 3, 2013
Need Help with Today’s Program? l l Help Desk: 800 -442 -4614 Phone in to today’s program l l l Toll: 630 -424 -2356 Toll Free: 855 -947 -8255 Passcode: 6774570#
Freeze with a Breeze l Freezing preserves nutrients in fruits and vegetables better than canning or dehydrating l Frozen fruits and vegetables retain quality better than canned or dried items l Freezing, and keeping food cold, requires more energy ($) than canning or drying but if you keep the freezer full, the overall cost is comparable l For best quality, always follow tested recipes
Resources for Today l B 3278–Freezing Fruits & Vegetables (UWEX) l National Center for Home Food Preservation www. uga. edu/nchfp l How do I…. Freeze l Apples to Zucchini and everything in between l University of Georgia publications l l Freezing Fruit, Freezing Vegetables, Freezing Animal Products, Freezing Prepared Foods So Easy to Preserve l l Book and Video www. setp. uga. edu
URL: www. uga. edu/nchfp Univ. of Georgia: Freezing Fruits Freezing Vegetables Freezing Prepared Foods How do I? …. . Freeze
Freezing Fruits & Vegetables l A quick and easy way to preserve the bounty of your garden or orchard Done soon after harvest, it preserves nutrients Retains that peak of harvest taste, color and texture l l l Tips for high quality frozen products: Pre-treat for best quality l Freeze in small amounts l Use proper packaging - Air out, moisture in! l Keep frozen at 0°F or below l
Pre-Treating Fruits & Vegetables l Enzymes can destroy nutrients and change color, texture and flavor l Browning of light-colored fruits l Changes in color and texture of vegetables l Pre-treat fruits with an antioxidant (vit. C) to prevent browning l Blanch most vegetables l A quick heating (and cooling) treatment to destroy enzymes
Freezing Fruits l Sort, wash and drain fruits l Pit, peel, slice or leave whole l For light-colored fruit, treat with vit. C or dip in a sugar syrup to prevent browning l Pack in syrup or sugar to help retain color, taste and texture but don’t add sugar if you are going to use frozen fruit to prepare fruit spreads l Or, individually freeze on cookie sheets and then package for storage l Label package with the amount of of fresh fruit
Freezing Vegetables l Sort, prepare, rinse and drain l Blanch (most) vegetables for best keeping quality. A blanch is a short pre-cook in boiling water or steam. Boiling water blanch l Steam blanch l l Chill rapidly in ice-water, drain (well!) and package l. Hint: Blanch time = cooling time l. Microwave blanching is not recommended
About blanching…. l Blanching is not required for safety l Water blanch: 1 gal. water /lb. of veggies l Steam blanch: blanch in a single layer, timing as soon as the lid is reapplied. Takes 1 -½ times as long as boiling. l Rapid cooling is key l Store un-blanched vegetables for less than 3 months to avoid deterioration
Packaging : Key to Retained Quality l Packaging material should be: Moisture resistant l Durable l Leak proof l Provide odor protection l Easy to seal l Key to retaining quality on frozen storage: Keep moisture IN Keep air OUT l Durable plastic, glass, and aluminum (foil) are good packaging choices. Foil is great for keeping air out, moisture in! l Freezer burn – safe but unpalatable. l l Allow headspace. Label each container.
Freeze in Small Amounts l Freeze foods at 0°F or lower. l Freeze foods as soon as they’re packaged; or freeze on trays and then package. l Don’t overload the freezer! l 2 -3 lbs/cubic foot is generally all that will freeze quickly l Allow air to circulate freely around packages during the freezing process. l Tip: Once frozen, store close together l Slow freezing large ice crystals!
Aim for a well-managed freezer Tip: A well-organized and FULL freezer operates more efficiently than one just ½-full.
Foods that Don’t Freeze Well l Greens, celery, cukes* water-logged l White potatoes crumbly l Egg whites rubbery l Meringues and icings deteriorate l Milk sauces, custards soggy, separate l Fried foods soggy *Try freezer slaw or freezer pickles for a cool and tasty summer -time treat. See pp. 54 -56 in UWEX Homemade Pickles & Relishes (B 2267). For a full list of foods that don’t freeze well, see http: //nchfp. uga. edu/how/gen_freeze. html
Cooking Frozen Vegetables l Most vegetables should be kept frozen until cooked (except for corn-onthe cob) Heat water to boiling and add frozen vegetables, cook until tender l Thawing will allow enzymes to start altering texture, color and flavor l Always cook before eating Food Safety Tip: Freezing does not kill all l microbes in a food; they are just hibernating.
How long can I store frozen food? Food Fruits and vegetables # Months at 0°F* 8 -12 Poultry 6 -9 Fish 3 -6 Ground meat 3 -4 Cured or processed meat 1 -2 Baked goods 2 -3 Casseroles 3 -4 Dairy products 1 -6 Eggs (in shell) Do not freeze. *Suggested food storage times. See: www. foodsafety. wisc. edu A-Z index, F=Freeze/Freezer for a handy 1 -page refrigerator/freezer chart.
Thawing Frozen Food l Cook vegetables without thawing l Thaw fruits in the refrigerator, or eat partially frozen for a cool treat l Cook meats from frozen, or thaw l l l In a refrigerator for 1 -2 days In cool running water In the microwave (cook immediately) l Thaw baked goods on the counter, or in the oven
What to do if the freezer stops? l Resist opening the freezer door! l Non-perishable can be readily salvaged – most cakes, cookies, fruits use or refreeze l Meat, poultry, seafood* keep below 40°F l Vegetables* keep below 40°F l Creamed foods* keep below 40°F If you don’t know the history of the product, throw it out. *Discard if above 40°F or signs of spoilage. May be refrozen if kept cold.
Tips for Freezing l Freeze chopped herbs in ice cube trays, once frozen, package for later use l Freeze fruit fillings for pie – add the crust later Line a pie pan with plastic wrap, foil, or parchment paper l Fill with ingredients for pie (fruit, sugar. . ) l Freeze l Once frozen, remove filling from pan, package well and return to the freezer l l A note about Morel mushrooms
Next …in our Lunch & Learn series June 17, 2013 12 noon – 1 pm Making Jams & Jellies Preserve the taste of perfectly ripe fruit in homemade jams and jellies and consider new gift ideas in jellied fruit and vegetable products. Archives will be posted to: www. foodsafety. wisc. edu