10 Ways to Keep Farm Fresh Fruits and Vegetables for the Winter Months

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Frozen Peas. (Photo by: Hermes Images/AGF/UIG via Getty Images)

Just Freeze It

The easiest way to put away your farm stand bounty for the winter months is to simply freeze it. You just use them for the same things as the frozen fruits and veggies you buy in the store. Imagine how great Thanksgiving will be with a green bean casserole made with beans picked at the peak of freshness.

The basic process is simple: wash, dry, and peel and cut into pieces (unless it’s, like, blueberries or something small, obvs). Place in a single layer on a baking sheet and put the baking sheet in the freezer. Then just put your frozen produce in a plastic bag and keep frozen until you’re ready to use.

If you’re freezing green vegetables, you want them to be VERY GREEN. Blanching is a process used to make green veggies bright and tender-crisp. Ever wondered how Chinese restaurants get that super-green broccoli? It isn’t the wok; they blanch it first.

Traditionally, blanching is done by boiling the green vegetable for a very short time and then plunging it into ice water (that’s called shocking) to immediately stop the cooking process. To do this, boil a very large pot of salty water. Dump in the washed veggies. Watch and stir them for a minute or two and they will turn an almost neon shade of green. Then, remove the veg from the boiling water and plunge into a big bowl of ice water. That stops them from cooking any more past that perfect shocking green.

Recently, I learned about an even simpler blanching process from The Food Lab by J. Kenji López-Alt. All you need to do to blanch vegetables for freezing is… freeze them. Because SCIENCE! But sorry, you’ll have to buy the book to find out how this works.