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Freezing Fruits and Vegetables: From Apples to Zucchini

It’s happened again. Filled with good intentions of eating healthier, you bought more produce than your family could possibly eat in a week, even if you could fit it in the crisper. What to do now? I’ve faced this quandary more than once, especially when I go grocery shopping forgetting that I’m about to go on a mini-trip. My solution? Freeze ‘em! Why waste perfectly good produce when freezing it for future use is quick and easy? That’s why I was glad to find this guide to freezing fruits and vegetables at the Yummy Mummy Club web site:

http://www.yummymummyclub.ca/blogs/nicole-macpherson-meatless-mummy-con-carne/20141104/a-guide-to-freezing-fruits-and-vegetables

Guac on Demand

I knew you could freeze the obvious fruits and veggies…peaches, papayas, blueberries, raspberries, broccoli, carrots, and dark leafy greens. But the idea that blew me away was freezing avocado. Since they’re delicious, versatile and full of healthy fat, I like to have avocados on hand. But if they’re ready for you before you’re ready for them, avocados go from perfectly ripe to mushy and brown in a flash. Luckily, mashed or pureed avocado can be mixed with a little lemon or lime juice and frozen for up to six months. What could be more convenient when you get a hankering for guacamole?

Handle with Care

Some vegetables need special treatment before freezing. For best results, try blanching leafy greens such as spinach and kale in boiling water before freezing. Corn should be cut off the cob and zucchini can be grated for easy inclusion in soup, sauces, or baked goods. All of these vegetables can be kept frozen for up to eight months. (Be sure to label all frozen produce with the date you froze them.)

Smoothie-Ready

Fruit smoothies are one of the healthiest snacks around, so I like to have a ready supply of frozen fruit at all times. You can also use frozen fruit in baked goods or to make healthy desserts. Here are some tips on how to freeze specific fruits:

· Bananas. Since bananas form the base of all my smoothies, I purposely buy extra and when I’m putting away the groceries, I peel a couple, slice them, pop them in a zippable bag, and drop them into the freezer. Frozen bananas stay good for up to eight months.

· Berries are another wonderful fruit to freeze because they’re much more inexpensive (not to mention tastier) in season. If you’ve ever gone berry-picking, you know how easy it is to come home with more fruit than you can eat before it rots. For successful freezing, lay the berries in a single layer on a cookie sheet so they won’t clump together. Once they’re frozen, you can transfer them to a freezer bag and keep them for up to six months. If you bought extra fresh cranberries for Thanksgiving, now is a great time to freeze them for later. Because they have a hard outer shell, you can skip the tray method and pop them right into a freezer bag.  

· Apples stay good for a long time in the refrigerator so I’ve never given much thought to freezing them, but I can see how this method would be useful if you need to save space or if you simply don’t get to the grocery store as often as you’d like. Core, slice, and drizzle apples with lemon juice to prevent browning and freeze on a cookie sheet, as with berries. You can keep them in the freezer for up to four months.

Fruits and vegetables are full of so much health-giving nutrition, you never want to waste them. So the next time you see you’ve bought more than your family can chew, take 10 minutes to freeze them. You’ll thank yourself later!

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