Facebook LinkedIn Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram YouTube Icon Navigation Search Icon Main Search Icon Video Play Icon Audio Play Icon Headphones Icon Plus Icon Minus Icon Check Icon Print Icon Note Icon Heart Icon Filled Heart Icon Single Arrow Icon Double Arrow Icon Hamburger Icon TV Icon Close Icon Sorted Hamburger/Search Icon
Kitchen Gardening

Freezer Tips for Fresh Produce

Instead of canning, here are some easy methods for freezing some of your end-of-the season fruits and vegetables.

Fresh tomatoes can be preserved by freezing instead of canning. Wash, peel, core and place in freezer bags. Be sure to add a label.
Photo/Illustration: Jodi Torpey

When the weather threatens to dip below freezing, it’s time to clear out the vegetable garden. Most seasons that means I have an abundance of tomatoes, peppers, summer squash and eggplants I need to preserve.

I’ve found my fridge’s freezer offers a time-saving solution to other preserving methods, such as canning. The freezer allows for small-batch freezing, it’s easy to do and many fruits and vegetables can be preserved with just a little preparation.

Besides reducing food waste, freezing maintains the color, flavor and texture of garden-grown produce. Freezing also retains important nutrients.

However, freezing doesn’t sterilize foods, like canning does. Keep food safety at top of mind and freeze only the freshest produce using approved best practices. The National Center for Home Food Preservation is an excellent resource 

Here are some creative options for freezing tomatoes, peppers. summer squash, and eggplant:

Tomatoes

Tomatoes need to be prepared before freezing. For fresh tomatoes, wash, peel, and place whole tomatoes in bags or containers. Another option is to cook tomatoes into sauce, roast or bake them into a savory tomato-cheese quickbread for freezing. For green tomatoes, saute, stew, roast, bake or shred before freezing.

Peppers

For fresh, whole peppers (like jalapenos), put them in a freezer bag. When ready to use, remove the number of peppers you want, wash, thaw slightly and chop to use. For fresh sweet peppers, wash, stem, remove seeds, slice and quick steam 1-2 minutes before freezing. Another alternative is to roast peppers on a grill or under the oven broiler until the skin blisters; cool and remove seeds and stems before placing in freezer bags or containers. CAUTION-wear gloves and protective eyewear when working with chile peppers.

Summer Squash

Fresh squash freezing options include slicing and placing on a cookie sheet, freezing and using frozen in soups, frittatas, etc. Preserve squash by baking into quick breads and cakes; stuff squash, clean, stuff, bake, freeze.

Eggplant

Bake eggplant into a cake or make into batches of ratatouille and freeze for a quick meal on busy weeknights.

Please add your ideas for freezing small-batches of fresh produce from your garden.

View Comments

Comments

Log in or create an account to post a comment.

Related Articles

The Latest

Magazine Cover

Take your passion for plants to the next level

Subscribe today and save up to 44%

"As a recently identified gardening nut I have tried all the magazines and this one is head and shoulders above the pack."

Video

View All

We hope you’ve enjoyed your free articles. To keep reading, become a member today.

Get complete site access to decades of expert advice, regional content, and more, plus the print magazine.

Start your FREE trial