Many Iowans are now harvesting vegetables from their gardens and while our moms or grandmothers may have used pressure cookers to can them in jars, today, preserving the bounty is much easier.
Food safety specialist Barbara Ingham says chopping and stewing your tomatoes before freezing them is the quickest and simplest way to store your harvest. “They come out of the crockpot kind of looking like what I would find in the grocery store in those nice 15-ounce cans,” Ingham says, “and then I freeze them in freezer bags once they’re cooled in those roughly two cup, 15-ounce quantities.”
Ingham says if you blanch and then freeze your corn, squash, and tomatoes before popping them in the freezer, they’ll last you for a good long while. “In the freezer, they’re safe indefinitely but we generally say about a year,” Ingham says. “This time of year, we’re looking to refill our freezer, so we hope that what was placed in the freezer last year is out of there.”
Ingham says when it comes to corn, you’ll just need a sharp knife. “It’s actually going to be a lot quicker if you can take the corn off the cob,” she says, “and just take those kernels and cook them, blanch them relatively quickly a couple of minutes in boiling water.”
Don’t stack up freshly blanched food in the freezer. Instead, she says to spread the packages around on the freezer racks so the food can freeze quickly to lock in the flavors.