Our family eats a lot of vegetables. A lot. I guess living overseas with an abundance of fresh (and CHEAP) vegetables taught us to love vegetables. Living in a big city gives us several places that often has vegetables on sale. For example, normally a pound of broccoli is about $2.50, but for two weeks, it was on sale for $0.67 a pound, so guess what? I bought lots! But of course, I can't use all that broccoli before it goes bad. Luckily, in the small storage room outside of our apartment, we have a small freezer. So, right now, it is in the beginning stages of stocking up. It currently contains deer, clearance bread (which Big Lots has great clearance bread...at least the one near us does!), and frozen veggies. Our inside freezer has more bread, more deer, and frozen potatoes.
This post will explain how to take those clearance veggies and freeze so you can have them on hand for later.
First, I want to explain how to freeze your colorful veggies, such as green beans, squash, your colored peppers, broccoli, etc... You pretty much do the same for them all.
1) Wash and cut them up how you would like to have them later -- chunks, strips, cubes, etc.
Sidenote, make sure you have plenty of ice cold water or lots of ice cubes. Important for later.
2) Throw them in boiling water and let them boil for about 3 minutes. You want them partially cooked. You can use the same boiling water several times before changing it.
3) Place the veggies in the ice cold water for about 3 minutes. This will stop the cooking. Drain.
4) Put enough in each freezer ziplock bag for one meal and get as much air out as possible. A vacuum sealer is best, but I don't have one...as of yet, but it may be a good investment.
Use the veggies the same as any frozen store-bought veggies. One thing I have learned -- if you want to steam the broccoli in a pot, don't add any water to the bottom. Just place the veggies in the pot and turn the pot on. The water from the ice will give it enough water to steam.
Now, the same also goes with potatoes. One store close by had a 5 lb bag for $0.88, so I nabbed it. Now, they were the older potatoes I think but that is actually great if you want to freeze them. I read that the best potatoes to freeze are the ones that have matured for at least 30 days...so you don't want the freshest out there.
When you cut the potatoes, you can skin them or leave the skin on -- it's up to you. You can also make french fries, potato rounds, cubes, and hashbrowns (which I haven't made yet). After boiling and icing them, you need to lay them single-layer on a cookie sheet to freeze. Once frozen, you can place them in individual bags. Treat them as any frozen potatoes (i.e. frozen french fries) you would buy in the store. You don't need to vacuum seal potatoes.
Not the best picture, but it shows the different ways to use potatoes. My husband used the cubes the other day as a side dish and it was delicious! He tossed them in some Italian salad dressing, cooked them at 400 until they became soft, then broiled them until they looked ready. Delicious! And may I say cheap cheap CHEAP!
Freezing veggies does take time, but if you stock up when those veggies are on sale and freeze them, it can save you lots of money! This is also great if you have a garden or know someone that will give you lots from their gardens!