on July 22, 2022
Genres: Non Fiction
Amazon, Barnes & Noble
The Ultimate Guide to Preserving 55 Fruits and Vegetables for Maximum Flavor and Versatility
Capturing the peak flavor of freshly harvested produce and preserving it for year-round eating is easier than ever with Freeze Fresh, the ultimate guide to freezing and enjoying more than 55 popular fruits and vegetables. Author Crystal Schmidt shares her time-tested preparation techniques that ensure color, texture, and flavor are retained in the freezer. From familiar favorites like apples, corn, potatoes, and peas to surprises like lettuce, avocado, and citrus fruit, Schmidt details the best ways to prepare each food for the freezer, including pre-cooking, slicing, blanching, and more.
She offers more than 100 recipes that freeze well, such as Blueberry Maple Pancake Sauce, Pickled Sliced Beets, Mango Chutney, and Honey Butter Carrot Mash--as well as delicious ways to cook the frozen food after thawing, including Creamy Parmesan Confetti Corn, Tart Cherry Oatmeal Bars, Broccoli Cheese Soup, and Blueberry-Matcha Latte Smoothie. Home cooks and gardeners alike will love discovering how easy and economical it can be to fill your freezer with produce customized to your own tastes and needs.
I enjoy growing fresh food, but invariably, I grow more than I need or I come across a bulk sale and have to pass it by because I couldn’t possibly use it in time before it went bad. Preserving the extras to have for later makes sense, but I am not one for canning in a heated kitchen. I’ve tried freezing our produce, but with poor results when it comes out. Then I spotted Freeze Fresh and got excited that it might be a good resource to show me where I went wrong and give me even more ideas for what, how, and later what to make with it.
Freeze Fresh begins with an intro to the author and then the advantages of freezing as a method of preservation. She goes into the history and science behind freezing (no worries, this section is short). Then the essential techniques and what supplies are needed. Right away, I realized that I would not be able to go whole hog like the author because, at the present, I only have a small freezer attached to my refrigerator and she speaks of having a separate one dedicated to freezer preservation (in fact she has three). A chest freezer is on my ‘someday’ wish list so I was still very much interested in learning what she had to say.
Then there were good tips for freezing like how to cut up the veggies and fruits, how to array them on pans to have them freeze evenly, how to defrost properly, and even how to get frozen foods back to the consistency needed for some cooking projects like the filling for pies. I was startled to learn that one can freeze in glass containers provided safety precautions are taken. I liked the frugal tips like saving the vegetable scraps, like tips, skins, etc. leftover from cutting them up in a freezer bag to later use in veggie broth rather than tossing or composting them.
The majority of the book is details about the freezing of individual fruits and veggies. I liked being able to flip to the ones I personally grow and chose to read those rather than straight through the sections.
I should mention that the very first section talks about general uses for large groups of fruits and veggies before getting into the individual ones. Her first example is using fruits to make jam that is frozen which is a different method to typical freezer jam which has more added sugar. Now, we’re talking! Healthier and easier. This is where she gives the prepping and freezing technique and shares her recipes that correspond. She then moves on to creating veggie combo packages like cauliflower, broccoli and carrots or making up green juice cubes for smoothies.
The individual fruit and veggie sections not only share about how to prep and freeze the raw produce, but freezing things like juice, sauce, or butters derived from them. I should also mention that these sections include fresh grown herbs and spices including herbal blends ready to go into certain cooking projects to save time later. My eyebrow went up about freezing lettuce, but apparently it’s great in smoothies and soups later. Each section there are her recipes for using the frozen produce. Yum!
In summary, Crystal Schmidt’s Freeze Fresh book gave me confidence to try this preservation method again for better results and made me realize there were more products that could be frozen than I had even imagined. Her tips and recipes are the bonus that just made it even better. Definitely a food resource I can recommend.
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