At the end of the summer there is always an abundant amount of fresh produce left in farmers fields. The zucchini at this time seem to be on steroids, spinach is growing like weeds and the farmers can’t seem to keep up with picking all of those berries filled with antioxidants. All of these delicious, nutrient dense and very healthy foods can be frozen for the winter months to preserve nutrients and keep your body smiling.
I love to take advantage of buying a whole bunch of fresh raspberries and blueberries to freeze for my smoothies or winter crumbles. They can be so expensive when buying them from the freezer section so why not have your own little grocery store in your freezer:) The important thing to know when freezing berries is how to freeze them so they don’t become all mushy when you defrost them. I like a pretty, defrosted berry that holds its own:) The longer it takes to freeze something, the larger the ice crystals will be.
So, having that in mind do the following to avoid mushy berries. Make sure your freezer is working optimally and is not over packed.
This is where organization comes into play.
Spread your berries in a single layer onto a baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper.
Once the berries are completely frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag and suck the air out of the bag.
Voila! You have all the berries you need for the winter.
Note: If you do not live in a place where winter haunts you, it is still a great idea to buy a large amount of fresh berries and freeze them yourself. You could save money and also support your local farmer.
Spinach is such a great vegetable to freeze because it is so versatile and quick to defrost. You can use frozen spinach as a side dish, put a layer into your next lasagna, add some to your smoothie or just reheat it and add a really yummy peanut sauce over the top!I really like things to look uniform so I love to freeze my steamed spinach into ice cube trays. You will be surprised how much spinach you can get into one little compartment.
Buy a whole bunch of spinach and when I say a whole bunch I mean about 8-10 bunches. Think of it this way, 1 bunch will probably fill 2 to 3 compartments in your ice cube tray. Cut the long stems and clean the spinach well, in batches, steam your spinach until it welts.Once wilted, place the steamed spinach into an ice water bath to stop the cooking and preserve the lovely green colour. Squeeze out as much water as you can and reserve the spinach water for a smoothie. Then separate the spinach into the ice cube compartments. Press the spinach down into the compartments as much as possible to get a nice tight fit.
Voila! Freeze until fully frozen then release them from the ice cube trays and transfer the cute little cubes of spinach into freezer bags. Don’t forget to suck the air out of the freezer bag, it helps keep the spinach from getting frost bite.
Happy freezing and Bon Appetit!