Vegetables to be frozen must be blanched. Blanching at high heat stops the enzymes from affecting quality, flavour, colour and nutritive value during storage.
All vegetables must first be washed thoroughly in cold water, then cut or sorted into similar sizes. If more are picked than can be dealt with, they should be put into polythene bags in a refrigerator until they can be processed.
Blanch 1lb/450g vegetables at a time to ensure thoroughness and to prevent a quick change in the water temperature. Use a saucepan holding at least 8 pints/4.5 litres water. Completely immerse the vegetables in the saucepan of fast-boiling water; cover tightly and keep the heat high under the saucepan until blanching is completed. Check carefully the time needed for each vegetable and time the blanching from when water returns to boiling point. As soon as the full blanching time has elapsed, remove vegetables and drain at once.
Cooling must be done immediately after blanching, and must be very thorough. The time taken is generally equal to the blanching time if a large quantity of cold water is used. Vegetables which are not cooled quickly become mushy. After cooling in the water, the vegetables should be thoroughly drained. Pack the cooled vegetables in usable quantities in bags or boxes.
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