Freezing Garden Produce At Home

Freezing your excess garden produce is easy. However their are steps that you ‘Must’ take to be successful.

Blanching is simply put, scalding vegetables in boiling water or steam for a short time. This is a must do for almost all vegetables to be frozen. It stops enzyme actions which can cause loss of flavor, color and texture.

Blanching cleanses the surface of dirt and bacteria, brightens the color and helps retard loss of vitamins.

Blanching time is crucial and varies with the vegetable and size. Underblanching stimulates the activity of enzymes and is worse than not blanching. Overblanching causes loss of flavor, color, vitamins and minerals. Follow recommended blanching times listed below.

Water Blanching For home freezing. The most satisfactory way to heat all vegetables is in boiling water. Use a large pan/pot that has a blanching basket and cover.

Use about one gallon water per pound of prepared vegetables. Put the vegetable in a blanching basket and lower into vigorously boiling water. Place a lid on the blancher. The water should return to boiling within 1 minute. If water does not return to a boil in about 1 minute you are using too many vegetables for the amount of boiling water. Important Start counting blanching time as soon as the water returns to a boil. Keep heat high for the time given in the directions for the vegetable you are freezing.

Steam Blanching is recommended for a few vegetables. For broccoli, pumpkin, sweet potatoes and winter squash, both steaming and boiling are satisfactory methods. Steam blanching takes about 1-1/2 times longer than water blanching.

To steam, use a pot with a tight lid and a basket that holds the food at least three inches above the bottom of the pot. Put an inch or two of water in the pot and bring the water to a boil.

Put the vegetables in the basket in a single layer so that steam reaches all parts quickly. Cover the pot and keep heat high. Start counting steaming time as soon as the lid is on. See steam blanching times recommended for the vegetables listed below.

Cool as soon as blanching is complete, vegetables should be cooled quickly and thoroughly to stop the cooking process. To cool, plunge the basket of vegetables immediately into a large quantity of cold water, 60ºF or below. Change water frequently or use cold running water or ice water. If ice is used, about one pound of ice for each pound of vegetable is needed. Cooling vegetables should take the same amount of time as blanching.

Drain and dry vegetables thoroughly after cooling. Extra moisture can cause a loss of quality when vegetables are frozen.

*blanching times are for water blanching unless otherwise indicated.

Blanching Times*

Vegetable Blanching Time
(minutes)
Artichoke-Globe
(Hearts)

7
Artichoke-Jerusalem 3-5
Asparagus
Small Stalk

Medium Stalk

Large Stalk

2

3

4
Beans-Snap, Green, or Wax 3
Beans-Lima, Butter, or Pinto

Small

Medium

Large

2

3

4
Beets cook
Broccoli
(flowerets 11/2 inches across)

Steamed

3

5
Brussel Sprouts
Small Heads

Medium Heads

Large Heads

3

4

5

Cabbage or Chinese Cabbage
(shredded)

1 1/2
Carrots

Small

Diced, Sliced or Lengthwise Strips

5

2
Cauliflower
(flowerets, 1 inch across)

3
Celery 3
Corn
Corn-on-the-cob
Small Ears

Medium Ears

Large Ears

Whole Kernel or Cream Style

(ears blanched before cutting corn from cob)

7

9

11

4

Eggplant 4
Greens
Collards

All Other

3

2
Kohlrabi
Whole

Cubes

3

1
Mushrooms
Whole (steamed)

Buttons or Quarters (steamed)

Slices steamed)

5

3 1/2

3
Okra
Small Pods
Large Pods

3

4
Onions
(blanch until center is heated)
Rings

3-7

10-15 seconds
Peas-Edible Pod 1 1/2-3
Peas-Field (blackeye) 2
Peas-Green 1 1/2
Peppers-Sweet
Halves

Strips or Rings

3

2
Potatoes-Irish (New) 3-5
Pumpkin cook
Rutabagas 3
Soybeans-Green 5
Squash-Chayote 2
Squash-Summer 3
Squash-Winter cook
Sweet Potatoes cook
Turnips or Parsnips

Cubes

2

Source: Extracted from “So Easy to Preserve”, 5th ed. 2006. Bulletin 989, Cooperative Extension Service, The University of Georgia, Athens.

Approximate Yields for Canned or Frozen Fruits & Vegetables
Raw Products Measure & Weight Approximate Quart Jars or Containers Needed Approximate Pounds Needed for 1 Quart Jar or Container
Fruits
Apples 1 bushel (48 pounds) 16 to 20 2½ to 3
Apples (for sauce) 1 bushel (48 pounds) 15 to 18 2½ to 3½
Apricots 1 lug (24 pounds) 9 to 12 2 to 2½
Berries (except strawberries & cranberries) 24-quart crate (36 pounds) 12 to 18 1½ to 3 (1- to 2-quart boxes)
Cantaloupes 1 crate (60 pounds)   1 large melon
Cherries
(with stems)
1 bushel (56 pounds) 22 to 32 (unpitted) 2 to 2½
1 lug (box) (15 pounds) 6 to 7 (unpitted) 2 to 2½
Cranberries 1 bushel (100 pounds) 100 1
1 box (25 pounds) 25 1
Figs 1 box (6 pounds) 2 to 3 2 to 2½
Grapes 1 bushel (48 pounds) 10 to 12 4
Grapes, Western 1 lug (28 pounds) 7 to 8 4
Grapes, Eastern 12 – quart basket (18 pounds) 3 to 4 4
4 – quart basket (6 pounds) 1 4
Grapefruit
Florida, Texas &
California
1 bag or ½ box (40 pounds) 5 to 8 4 to 6 fruits
1 box (65 pounds) 8 to 13 4 to 6 fruits
Nectarines Flat (18 pounds) 6 to 9 2 to 3
Peaches 1 bushel (50 pounds) 19 to 25 2 to 2½
Pears 1 bushel (50 pounds) 20 to 25 2 to 2½
1 box (46 pounds) 19 to 23 2 to 2½
1 crate (22 pounds) 8 to 11 2 to 2½
Pineapple (with top) 1 crate (70 pounds) 20 to 28 2½  (2 average)
Plums 1 crate (70 puunds) 28 to 35 2 to 2½
1 bushel (56 pounds) 24 to 30 2 to 2½
Rhubarb 15 pounds 7 to 11 2
Strawberries 24-quart crate (36 pounds) 12 to 16 6 to 8 cups
1 crate (60 pounds) 17 to 23 2½ to 3½
1 lug (32 pounds) 9 to 12 2½ to 3½
Tomatoes (for juice) 1 bushel (53 pounds) 12 to 16 3 to 3½
1 crate (60 pounds) 17 to 20 3 to 3½
1 lug (32 pounds) 8 to 10 3 to 3½
Vegetables
Asparagus 1 bushel (24 pounds) 8 to 12 2 to 3
1 crate (30 pounds) 10 to 15 2 to 3
Beans, lima
(in pods)
1 bushel (30 pounds) 5 to 8 4 to 5
Beans, green or wax 1 bushel (30 pounds) 15 to 20 1½ to 2
Beets (without tops) 1 bushel (52 pounds) 17 to 20 2½ to 3
Broccoli 1 crate (25 pounds) 10 to 12 2 to 3
Brussels Sprouts 4 quarts 1 to 1½ 2
Cabbage 1 bag or 1 crate (50 pounds) 16 to 20> 2½ to 3
Cabbage, Western 1 crate (80 pounds) 26 to 32 2½ to 3
Carrots
(without tops)
1 bushel (50 pounds) 16 to 20 2½ to 3
Cauliflower 1½-bushel crate (37 pounds) 12 to 18 2 medium heads
Corn, Sweet
(in husks)
1 bushel (35 pounds) 8 to 9 (as kernels) 4 to 5
Cucumbers 1 bushel (48 pounds) 24 to 30 1½ to 2
Eggplant 1 bushel (33 pounds)> 15 to 18 2 average
Greens 1 bushel (18 pounds) 8 to 9 2 to 3
Okra 1 bushel (30 pounds) 19 to 21
Peas, Field 1 bushel (25 pounds) 6 to 7 3½ to 4

Peas, Green
(in pods)

1 bushel (30 pounds) 6 to 8 4 to 5
Peppers 1 bushel (25 pounds) 17 to 21 1¹⁄3
Potatoes, Irish 1 bushel (60 pounds) 18 to 22 2½ to 3
Pumpkin     1½ to 3
Spinach 1 bushel (20 pounds) 4 to 9 2 to 6
Squash (Summer) 1 bushel (40 pounds) 16 to 20 2 to 3
Squash (Winter)     3
Sweet Potatoes (cured) 1 bushel (50 pounds) 16 to 25 2 to 3

Country life is a good life.

Happy Fall gardening

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5 responses to “Freezing Garden Produce At Home

  1. That chart for how much you need for canning is great.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Heading for spring down here in New Zealand, and I’ve printed off your list, thanks, and taped it to inside a kitchen cupboard door! Let’s hope for plentiful garden crops!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Grin… Thanks for taking time to visit my humble little blog and for your kind comment(s).
      It’s not that I don’t know your seasons are 180 degrees opposite of mine. Smile, but, your are so faraway that I sometimes neglect to post time relevant gardening info for my friends and neighbours to my south.
      Happy Productive Gardening

      Liked by 1 person

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