I think it’s finally fall, everyone! For the longest time, I wanted to live somewhere where it’s hot all season but in the last few years, I have found such joy in the changing seasons. Summer is full of fun and is super busy for us, while fall boasts crisp air and coziness, winter is a time for relaxation and planning, and then spring is just super exciting anticipating the season ahead.
Now that fall is here, our summer gardens are probably coming to an end, (even though it’s the end of September and I still have zucchini and red tomatoes), and we don’t want it to stop. We want to keep getting lettuce, and harvesting kale… So apart from planting a fall and winter garden, preserving your summer abundance is the best way to enjoy it all winter!
I usually do a big day in September, and I will pick all the beans, pick all the greens, tomatoes, and pretty much clean out everything that will stop growing soon and bring it all into the kitchen for a day of preserving! So let’s get into more detail as to what I do…
It’s not a complicated, crazy secret. It’s actually pretty simple…
It’s called, wait for it… FREEZING!
See told you it was easy! I know that canning is probably the second most popular way to preserve, but if you have the freezer space, freezing is just so quick and so easy. I do it for all sorts of veggies, and it makes it super quick to pull out for weeknight meals.
What I Freeze
I cut them two ways – one in small pieces that are easy to saute for soups and stir-fry, and the other in slices or larger pieces that can easily be roasted. Drizzle a little balsamic or garlic honey on them – so good!
Kale & Swiss Chard
“The greens take a little longer, just because you have to wash them so carefully and chop finer. But I definitely consider it worth it because it’s so easy to just grab a bag of greens and dump it into any meal to add a little healthy. You can also keep the stems for juicing!
Most of our tomatoes go straight into our homemade tomato sauce – they best you’ll ever try. But if you have too many and are tired of making sauce, dump your tomatoes in a freezer bag. When it’s time to use them, pop them out of the freezer and run under hot water, and the skin will just slip right off, and then you can do as you please! You can also scold the tomatoes and then dip in cold water to remove peel, chop up for chilli and stews, and then freeze. Almost like a can of diced tomatoes.
I’m new to freezing zucchini, in fear it would go mushy. But it doesn’t! I cut some into small chunks for soups, some I spiralize for pasta, and some cut into disks for roasting (or BQQ if you’re brave over the winter).
Another easy one and much better than their popular store-bought counterparts. Simply wash, cut, and freeze – and put in everything!
If you want to preserve your herbs, you can freeze some… but check out this post for the 7 best ways to preserve your herbs!
Tips for Freezing
How Long Does Stuff Last in the Freezer
I would say no longer than a year. I still have kale from last year and it’s fresh!
Use high-quality zip lock bags that are meant for the freezer, especially if you plan on keeping them in there for a while. You definitely don’t want freezer burn to ruin that fresh taste. You can also use those silicone reusable bags – either the Stasher ones or there are some great options on Amazon.
Label, Label, Label
Sometimes it’s helpful to label what is it, I know its obvious, but sometimes your freeze will have so many things in it, that having a label is a game-changer. The date is especially important to know how long they should keep.
Slice & Dice
It’s always fun to slice and dice into many different shapes (like I said above), so you can enjoy your veggies in a variety of ways.
I’d love to hear your suggestions too. Let me know what you think in the comments below!