A big part of this garden project is to get us out of the grocery stores and gain some more choice in our food selection. Since us humans require year-round food, one needs to plan ahead to survive the winter grocery store free…this planning started last winter when ordering seeds and plotting out the garden beds. If you want a bumper crop to freeze, you need to plant it first, right?
The big learning i gained from last year is to write down what you do: all of it! How much of each veggie you froze, how long you blanched it, size it was cut, when you ran out etc. This way, you won’t end up eating frozen cabbage for the second half of winter year after year- sounds yummy? Not so much: trust me! For 2 of us, we froze nearly 70 pounds of veggies in late november last year, and that is what we’re shooting for this year, just more variety! It’s really simple if you pace yourself and freeze things when they’re in season, and try to do it all at once like i did last year. This amount was plenty for 2 of us plus a few dinner parties.
There are tons of resources out there for freezing veggies and different ideas. i went to the library and got a few books out which were very helpful. I recommend doing some research since all veggies, herbs, and fruits have different requirements: some need to be blanched, sugared, or treated with vitamin C and so on. Save the scraps from chopping and boil them up for stock and freeze that too.
We have an 8.3 cubic foot freezer, which is plenty of room for a winter’s worth of veggies, fruit and the random mass freezing of stock, soup, and meat (and room for the ice cream maker). It’s simple: when you get tired of eating veggies from the garden, let them grow for a week or two then harvest and freeze. I just did 2 pounds of kale since we couldn’t keep up with eating what the garden produced.
If you’re not growing yourself, you can always do the same with farmer’s markets veggies. That’s where i got this year’s shelled peas to freeze, and we’re not growing any corn, but we’re surely going to roast and freeze a ton of it!
I’ve also started saving seeds for next year: here are my snow peas. They really shrink down once they dry. Again, write down what you planted this year so you know how many seeds to save for next year!