Summer harvest season is in full bloom! If you are producing more food than you could possibly consume all at once, don't fear, you can keep your fruits and veggies fresh for 5 times longer by vacuum packaging them!
Preparing Vegetables for freezing
For larger vegetables it’s preferable to cut them into smaller portions after they have been processed. The best way to store all vegetables is to blanch them first, then cool, dry, vacuum pack and freeze.
Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts, turnips and other cruciferous vegetables emit a gas when refrigerated, but not when frozen. You can use vacuum sealing to preserve these vegetables in the freezer, but not in the refrigerator.
1. Have ready a large bowl of ice water (known as an ice bath), a slotted spoon and a plate lined with cloth or paper towel.
2. Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat.
3. Prepare the vegetables.
4. Add the vegetables to the pot in small batches so that the water continues to boil. Make sure you blanch one type of vegetable at a time.
5. After about 30 seconds, test for doneness. Remove one piece, dip it into the bowl of ice water and taste. Keep tasting 30-60 seconds until the vegetables are cooked to your liking. Most vegetables take between 2-5 minutes.
6. When the vegetables are done, quickly remove them from the boiling water with a slotted spoon and plunge them into the ice bath to stop the cooking process. (This is called "shocking.")
7. When the vegetables are completely cool, remove them from the ice bath and drain on the towel-lined plate
How to vacuum package fruits without crushing them
While fruits don't require blanching, some of them are too delicate to packaged with a vacuum sealer in their fresh state. For larger fruits it’s preferable to cut them into smaller portions after they have been peeled. Smaller items like berries or plums may be left whole but need to be cleaned thoroughly with fresh water.
- Wash the fruit and dry thoroughly.
- Pre-freeze the fruit by placing them on a cookie sheet and put them in the freezer for about 2 hours.
- Vacuum package once frozen with any VacMaster vacuum sealer.
Looking longer term storage? Try Flash Freezing!
If you have a bumper crop of zucchini or happen to be preparing for the Zombie apocalypse and desperately need to store your fruits and vegetables for longer periods like 2 years or more a great technique is a simplified home version of commercial flash freezing.
1. Prepare your fruits or vegetables.
2. Spread the prepared vegetables or fruits evenly on a large baking sheets to form a single layer making sure the fruits or vegetables aren’t touching.
3. Sprinkle the tray with cracked ice (this helps speed up the freezing process).
4. Place the tray into the freezer unwrapped until the fruits or vegetables are frozen solid.
5. Once frozen, place the fruits or vegetables in a vacuum sealing pouch.
6. Now simply vacuum pack your flash frozen fruits and vegetables in your VacMaster machine.
7. When you're ready to eat simply remove from the bag and add them to any of our favorite recipes.
Foods you should not vacuum package
1. Soft Cheese