Following on the same train as last week’s applesauce post, today we’re talking about freezing carrots. When you have fresh, local produce, I think the best thing you can do besides eating it fresh, is preserving it so you have it in the winter when there’s nothing fresh. A key aspect of food security is the ability to have healthy, local food year round. That means that even people who have access to food can be considered food-insecure. Programs like good food boxes and community kitchens that help with preserving can help make everyone more food secure. Doing all this stuff at home makes it more accessible and is really not nearly as difficult as anyone (i.e. me) thinks it is.
The other day someone came into work and asked if we wanted any extra cherry tomatoes he had. Apparently normal people don’t have excessive produce as a problem they face on an ongoing basis. Freezing and preserving food in other ways really cuts down in food waste, which can save you money and help the environment. While food you’ve grown yourself is awesome, using anything local is great. Suppoting local farmers is great, and making use of local Ontario produce at the grocery store serves the same purpose. Use what you’ve got.
So, while I used carrots and parsnips, this method can be used for pretty much any vegetable, just alter the blanching times. Some veggies cook more quickly. Since you’ll probably cook the frozen veggies later, overcooking them just turns into mush later. Last week I also froze some tomatoes. Anything with skins and cores like tomatoes needs to be peeled and cored before being frozen. For tomatoes, score an x shape in the bottom, then blanch them in boiling water for 2-3 minutes and the skins will come right off. After that, core them and cut into whatever size pieces, put them in freezer proof containers, and chuck them in the freezer to use in soup, stew, and pasta sauce all winter.
- Carrots or parsnips (as much as you have)
- Freezer bags
- Wash the carrots and parsnips. Cut off the ends and anything that might not look edible and then peel them. Cut them into bite size pieces.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil.
- Put the carrot and parsnips pieces in the boiling water and let them blanch for 3-4 minutes, depending on how much you’re freezing and how big the pieces are.
- In the meantime, get a bowl of ice water handy and ready to go.
- Use a slotted spoon or sieve with a handle to transfer the veggies from the boiling water to the ice water to stop the cooking process.
- Drain the veggies and put them in freezer bags. Portion them based on whatever amount you think you’ll need to use.
- Label and date the bags and place them in the freezer.
- Thank your future self in 6 months when it’s cold and there’s no fresh produce to be found.