Date: May 1989 (RevisedApril 1995)
Source: NDSU Extension Service Nutrition Specialists
You can freeze most vegetables successfully, but once frozen you cannot always use them as if they were fresh. Celery and onions lose their crispness after freezing, but you can use them for cooking. Do not freeze cucumbers, lettuce and radishes; they also lose crispness. You can freeze tomato juice and stewed tomatoes. Use them for sauce, chili, spaghetti sauce or in meat loaf.
Freezing vegetables is relatively simple, but for best results you need to follow certain guidelines.
Use recommended varieties. There are usually numerous varieties or hybrids of any vegetable. Quality varies after freezing. Some vegetables may be unpalatable. Therefore use only those varieties that tests say yield a high quality frozen product. If you need help in identifying recommended varieties, call the county extension office. Seed packages often tell if a variety freezes especially well.
Select mature vegetables. They should be fresh, tender, and succulentjust right for immediate table use.
Prepare quickly and carefully. Most vegetables lose quality quickly after harvest. Freeze vegetables the same day you pick them--within a few hours from vine to container.
Prepare for freezing as for table use. Wash thoroughly and discard inferior vegetables. Trim and cut into serving pieces if necessary. Blanch the vegetables as stated in another "Call Extension" message. Blanching vegetables is a step that should not be omitted.
If there is a delay before you prepare vegetables for freezing, keep them in a refrigerator. Or, you can put them in any cool place not higher than 40 degrees F and preferably as low as 32 degrees F.
If you have further questions, contact your county office of the NDSU Extension Service.
Back to Freezing Food Menu
Go to Ask Extension Index Page
For More Information Contact your North Dakota County Extension Office of the NDSU Extension Service for additional information or see our main NDSU Web Page for publications and articles on Agriculture, Horticulture, Youth and Family, Business and Community and Food and Nutrition at http://www.ag.ndsu.nodak.edu/