In every area of the country there is “local” produce that is ripe for the picking! Check out our post for several ways to find inexpensive produce near you. Because I live near so many strawberry fields, we get to go picking several times during the harvest season. I bring all the kids along…we even eat a few juicy ones directly off the vine! (Is that like “sip stealing” at the gas station?) But once I get home, there is NO WAY we can eat them all before they would go bad.
“Flash Freezing” is a simple method to freeze the berries individually so that they are ready to use at a moments notice! Flash freezing works well on many types of foods, but is especially convenient for small food items you wish to freeze and have access to in individual portion sizes. Flash freezing food keeps it from sticking together and locks in food flavors. I’m using strawberries as an example.
- Wash your berries. Add a splash of vinegar to the water to eliminate any mold spores or bacteria on them. I like to soak/rinse them in a bowl so that I can swish the water around them thoroughly.
- Slice berries however your family likes them (an egg slicer is an easy way to make uniform slices).
- Lay berries in a single layer on cookie sheet lined with parchment.
- Layer berries between sheets of parchment paper (I do 3 layers per cookie sheet).
- Put in the freezer until solidly frozen — four to six hours is usually adequate. Larger items (like meatballs) may need to stay on sheets overnight. Just be sure to remove them first thing in the morning to avoid freezer burn.
- Remove the cookie sheets and place the frozen items into a large plastic bags. Vacuum sealed bags will last longer in the freezer. We always eat our items too soon for the extended freeze. If you do not own a vacuum sealer, just use plastic bags or freezer bags and remove as much air as possible after filling the bag.
- Label the bag with the date.
- That’s it! Keep in the freezer and just grab out the portion you want to use! Easy!
You can do this with all sorts of foods you want to prepare ahead of time…fruits (berries, bananas, sliced pineapple), veggies (peppers, onions), meats (meatballs, cut up chicken breasts). It is especially convenient for small food items you wish to freeze and have access to in individual portion sizes.
Want to learn more about Freezing stuff? Download our handy Freezer Guide to see how long it is safe to store stuff in your freezer!
Flash freezing food keeps it from sticking together and locks in food flavors. Now we’re ready… just in time too… Blueberry season is coming up for me next!
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