As September arrives, many summer crops start dying off in northern regions. All of those excess vegetables don’t have to go to waste if the refrigerator is overflowing. You can freeze excess produce and stock your parents’ freezer.
If your parents didn’t have a garden, they can still stock up on produce at farm stands. It’s going to be less expensive. And, all the extra produce they purchase can go into the freezer to last the winter.
Blanching is an Important Step
When you’re freezing many vegetables, you must blanch them first. This helps them hold their shape later when you cook them for meals. If you don’t blanch them, you may end up with mushy vegetables when they’re cooked.
Blanching is a process where you quickly immerse the vegetables in boiling water for a few minutes and then immediately plunge into ice water. There are charts online that help you determine exactly how much time is needed in the boiling water and ice water. Once you’ve done that, pat the items dry with paper towels and move to freezer bags.
The type of vegetable determines how long you immerse the vegetables in the boiling water. Broccoli florets, green beans, and zucchini should be immersed for 3 minutes. Brussels sprouts, carrots, and potatoes can take up to 5 minutes. Cabbage and peas take just over 1 minute. Full cobs of corn take the longest at 9 to 11 minutes depending on the size.
Some Vegetables and Fruit Don’t Require Much Prep Work
If you’re grating carrots or zucchini for cakes, bread, and muffins, there’s no need to blanch it first. Berries can be frozen on a baking sheet and then transferred to freezer bags.
Frozen fruit doesn’t have to be blanched. Cut them into cubes and freeze them for use in smoothies. Pineapple, berries, mango, and bananas freeze easily and make excellent smoothies.
Apples can be blanched if desired, but there’s another option. If you’re making pies with them, you can make the pie filling with the sugar, spices, flour or tapioca, and apple slices and have them in bags ready to be added to a pie shell.
With a stocked freezer, your parents are well on their way to healthy, hot meals all winter long. If cooking has become a challenge, call a home care agency and arrange grocery shopping and meal preparation services from a caregiver. Home care helps your parents live at home independently without daily struggles to complete self-care tasks.
If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring a professional Senior Care in Trussville, AL, call and talk to the staff at Lipford Home Care (205) 623-5700.