Putting Up Food -raw frozen foods

Here is something I forgot to mention about cabbage: you can freeze whole heads (also works with radicchio) with no blanching and no fuss.   Just pop a whole cabbage (small is best) into the freezer and when you want to eat it, take it out and let it float around in a tub of cold water until it is unfrozen.  Peel off and discard the outer leaves.

Other things you can thaw raw:
Kale: especially hardy dinosaur kale.  You can add it frozen to soups, or thaw it before cooking.  Be sure to chop it up before freezing.  Be warned that if you add it frozen it will darken the soup color considerably.  I usually thaw and rinse the kale first to avoid the weird coloring.

Peppers: All varieties.  Hot peppers can go straight into the freezer, just take them out and slice them frozen when you are ready to use them. 
To save space, slice bell peppers before freezing them.  Add them frozen or thawed to whatever you are cooking.

Herbs: chop and freeze with a little olive oil (in an ice cube tray or other small container).  But beware, fats take on the taste of the freezer so be sure to move the olive oil cubes to a freezer bag as soon as they are frozen.  

Summer Squash: Slice and wrap them up in freezer wrap.  Keep zip top bag of squash packages in the freezer. 

Whole tomatoes -The skin will peel right off them when you cook them later.  

We blanch pretty much every other vegetable we freeze.  Blanching generally helps the vegetables keep brighter colors.  It also kills microbes and helps the vegetables keep longer.

Let’s face it though, if you are a lazy cook like I am, then you will want to know a few things that freeze well without blanching.  If you get kale and chard and arugula and lettuce and mixed salad greens every week then you will want to know that you should just freeze the kale on day one and eat the softer greens fresh so that you can avoid the hassle of having to prep them for freezing.  

And after you spend many lazy weeks freezing all that kale you will want to know that I have a winter kale recipe that will use up every package of frozen kale that you put up.  But, that is a recipe for another post.


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