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Make Your Own Healthy Frozen Vegetable Packages
If you are like many of us, you are trying your best to cook homemade meals using fresh ingredients. However, the facts of our everyday busy lives often mean that we need to use frozen vegetables. Or, if you are lucky enough to have a super productive vegetable garden, you might have more than you can use at one time. Wouldn’t it be great to freeze vegetables when they are at their peak of flavor? How would you like it if you could pull bags of organic frozen vegetables from your own freezer and know that they were frozen when they were at their best and that they contain no salt, no MSG, no preservatives, and no artificial anything?
You can when you do it yourself! It’s nowhere near as difficult as you might think, but it does require a bit effort and planning than washing some veggies and putting them in a Ziploc baggie. Well, don’t worry, just crank up your freezer and we will tell you step by step what you need to do to make your own healthy frozen vegetable packages.
First let’s talk about the freezer. The type of freezer you need will depend on how many vegetables you wish to freeze and how big of a family you need to provide for. If you have plenty of space in your regular freezer and don’t have a large family or a large garden, it might work out well for you. However, if you have a lot more veggies (or family) than freezer space, you might want to invest in a freezer. For most people, a 19 cubic foot or larger freezer works well. You can keep the costs low (as well as keeping your carbon footprint to a minimum) by purchasing used. If you can, purchase an upright freezer. These take up less space and are much more chef friendly when it comes to finding the foods you want. Digging through a chest type freezer for your last bag of frozen spinach when you are tired and hungry is not fun. However, chest type freezers are easier to find, so if you end up buying one of those, just be sure that you try to keep it organized with plastic stackable bins.
Now that you have your freezer space ready, you can start thinking about how you would like to store your veggies. For example, would you like to separate them individually, or would you rather make some mixes (such as peas and carrots combined or zucchini and tomatoes)? Once you have made that decision, now you can think about quantity. You can store your veggies by the cup, by recipe size (for example, if your vegetable lasagna uses two cups of tomatoes and three large sliced zucchini, you could put all those items in one bag) or in whatever type of measurement you wish. Here are some simple measurements you might want to think about:
- One medium sized bell pepper (seeded) = one cup of chopped bell pepper
- One medium sized white onion = one cup of chopped onions
- One large rib of celery (minus leaves) = a half cup of sliced celery
- Two large or three medium carrots (minus tops) = one cup of chopped carrots
Perhaps last on our list of preparations are supplies. You will need to have a sufficient amount of Ziploc type freezer bags on hand, as well as a marker to label your items. You should also have a few baking sheets, cookie sheets, and/or muffin tins for freezing purposes.
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