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Freezing Fall Vegetables
To freeze as a plain vegetable, blanch in boiling water. Start counting blanching time when the water returns to a boil after the vegetable is added. Let’s Preserve Freezing Vegetables has specific blanching times for vegetables
Use these guidelines for success in freezing fall vegetables.
- Blanch vegetables to stop the action of enzymes.
- Cool the vegetable completely to remove all heat from the product before it is placed in the freezer. Cool the blanched product in ice water or cold water, changing the water as necessary to remove all residual heat.
- Drain completely to remove moisture that can form ice crystals that break down cell walls and cause pieces of product to stick together.
- Vegetables may be frozen in a single layer on a tray before being packaged if desired. Tray freezing prevents individual pieces from sticking together and will cook more quickly than vegetables frozen in mass.
- Adjust headspace according to the product. Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower do not need any headspace. Allow ½ inch headspace for cabbage, carrots, kohlrabi, and turnips.
- Check that the freezer is at 0°F or lower for best keeping quality.
Canning Fall Vegetables
Unless pickled, fall vegetables must be pressured canned. Directions for canning common root vegetables are found in Let’s Preserve Root Vegetables .
Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kohlrabi, and Brussels sprouts are not suitable for pressure canning. However, shredded cabbage is an ingredient in several pickled products such as hot dog relish. Cauliflower, carrots, and Brussels sprouts are frequently pickled—sometimes by themselves and other times combined with other vegetables for an end of the garden relish. The large amount of vinegar in relishes and pickles allows these low acid foods to be processed safely in a boiling water bath. Remember - use a research based tested recipe for the best results.
Some older homes had a root cellar that preserved fall vegetables through the winter. If you have a cold damp area in your basement or garage, you can create a root cellar. You want the area as cold as you can get it without freezing. Bury carrots, parsnips, beets, turnips, rutabagas, and leeks in damp sand to keep them moist. You may be able to create these conditions by placing vegetables in buckets of sand on basement steps leading to the outside.
If you are interested in learning more about root cellars or building your own, University of Alaska Cooperative Extension’s publication Vegetable Storage in Root Cellars may be of help.