New This Month

How to Freeze Your Favorite Summer Fruits and Vegetables

 This is the easiest way to preserve peak produce.

freezing peaches
Photography by: Petrina Tinslay

Right now the markets are full of the most delicious berries and peaches, the ripest tomatoes, the sweetest corn. You're savoring summer's bounty every day and we're sure you'd like to save some for later -- months later. You can pickle and preserve to your heart's content, we totally endorse that, but we're also advocates of the easiest way to preserve fruit and vegetables -- freezing. Here's how to freeze the best of summer:

 

Berries

Choose firm berries. They should be dry and left whole. Freeze in a single layer (not touching) on a lined baking sheet. Once frozen, transfer to a zip-top freezer bag and freeze for up to 6 months.

 

Stone Fruit 

Halve and cut peaches, plums, nectarines, or apricots into eighths. To prevent browning, toss with 1,000 milligrams ascorbic acid (or a crushed vitamin C tablet) for every pound of fruit. Freeze in a single layer (not touching) on a lined baking sheet. Once frozen, transfer to a zip-top freezer bag and freeze for up to 6 months.

 

Tomatoes 

If you want to freeze as is, choose firm tomatoes. Score a small X on bottom of each. Boil until skins begin to split. Transfer tomatoes to a plate. When cool enough to handle, peel, then freeze in a zip-top freezer bag. Once frozen, transfer to a zip-top freezer bag and freeze for up to 6 months. 

 

You can also transform tomatoes into something delicious that will last all year long in the freezer. Mill them for Tomato Puree (the base for Martha’s Simple Marinara!), then use the leftover pulp, seeds, and juice to make Tomato Water. Feeling fancy? Cook tomatoes low and slow with basil, garlic, and olive oil to make Tomato Confit.

 

Green Beans 

Cook trimmed beans in salted boiling water, 3 minutes. Let cool in ice water, then drain, pat dry, and cut in half if desired. Freeze in a single layer (not touching) on a lined baking sheet. Once frozen, transfer to a zip-top freezer bag and freeze for up to 6 months.

 

Corn 

Choose very fresh, young, tender corn. Remove husks and silks, then cut kernels from cobs. Freeze in a single layer (not touching) on a lined baking sheet. Once frozen, transfer to a zip-top freezer bag and freeze for up to 6 months.

 

Okra 

Cook trimmed okra in salted boiling water, 3 minutes. Let cool in ice water, then drain, pat dry, and cut into 1-inch pieces if desired. Freeze in a single layer (not touching) on a lined baking sheet. Once frozen, transfer to a zip-top freezer bag and freeze for up to 6 months.

 

Into Canning, Jamming, and Pickling? Get the Other Delicious Ways to Extend the Season
freezing herbs
Photography by: Marcus Nilsson

Herbs

Start with the freshest, brightest herbs -- with unwilted and evenly colored leaves -- you can find. For mint and basil, use only the leaves, but for cilantro, it’s okay to include the more tender stems. Remove the leaves from the stems, chop finely, and place into a bowl. Add just enough vegetable or olive oil to cover, then pour the mixture into an ice-cube tray and freeze. Once solid, place the cubes in a resealable plastic bag. Store in the freezer up to 3 months. For a burst of taste, add a frozen cube or two to simmering soups, sauces, and stews. Or, defrost first, strain out the herbs, and let the seasoned oil give zip to salad dressings and steamed vegetables. You can also turn herbs into pesto before freezing.

 

Watch how to make Healthy Berry Banana Muffins, just one way to enjoy the berries you freeze: