The ULTIMATE Food Prep – Freeze that Produce!

My favorite words at the farmers’ market are, “so next market the ____ will be in.”

my least favorite words at the market: “so this week, maybe next will be the last for the _____.”

I mean, we wait not-so patiently for each crop to make its way to the tables each market, buy, cook, and devour away… and then suddenly it’s gone. You go one day hoping to grab another quart of fresh green beans, but there aren’t any. Or you can’t get there right at the start so the few that made their way were long gone by the time you arrived. Eventually, of course, the whole market ends for the season, and unless you take the time to REALLY do your food prep right and put some away for the fall and winter, you’re stuck with grocery store produce for the next few months.

Time to think ahead. better stock up now for the winter!

They say that if you’re gonna buy the grocery store produce that often their frozen is better than their fresh. Usually produce is shipped and travels to your grocer; time lost is nutrition lost! And let’s not even get started on canned produce; have you tasted canned carrots before? But why not just FREEZE YOUR OWN?! I mean, if you’re at the local market anyway, just pick up a little extra of your fave, in-season veggies and then freeze them for later months. Do you know how happy you’ll be in February when you pull that bag of sweet corn out of your freezer that you froze the DAY IT WAS PICKED? You can almost taste the summer on it! It is the ultimate food prep.

“Fresh” carrots in December? Yes, please!

Yeah, yeah, i know.

All the canners and picklers out there are raising their jars in protest. But I don’t have the time for THAT kind of prep. Freezing my produce takes barely any time at all – just a few minutes to blanch and it’s done. Everything can cool off on the counter while I carry on, and soon enough I have another bag of freshly prepped produce ready for the freezer. It’s literally that easy. Yes, you’ll lose some of the nutrients when you blanch, but not as many as you lose when you pick from those supermarket bins in a few months.

Blanching?

Bring water to a nice boil and then add your prepped veggies. Allow your water to return to a boil. Blanch for 1-3 minutes – smaller, “softer” veggies like these snap peas don’t need much time, while sturdier ones like beets need a couple minutes. Drain and rinse immediately with cold water or transfer to an ice bath to stop cooking. Blanching allows your veggies to keep for a good year in your freezer – just long enough for the next round of farmers’ markets!

When your treats are nice and cool, transfer to freezer bags and you’re all set!

I freeze all kinds of vegetables throughout the market season, and I’m not kidding that taking one of those precious bags out of your freezer in the middle of winter is a real treat. Whatever else you plan for your meals that week can include a nice bag of vegetables that you prepped way back in July! If you’re a fan of eating real food, someone who does a large amount of food prep, or just a fan of vegetables, you should consider prepping like this. Suggested veggies are:

carrots

green and yellow beans

zucchini

snap peas

beets

broccoli

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