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blanching and freezing

September 9th, 2007 at 08:15 pm

I'm taking some time to prepare some of my garden goodies for winter...or a few weeks from now if my garden doesn't produce anymore.

I made the spaghetti squash in the microwave, like always. Just split in half lengthwise, scrape out the seeds with a fork, put cut side up in a microwave save dish (duh), add water to the bottom for steam. Add some butter and spice (I use a cajun spice on almost everything I cook) and microwave for 12 minutes. When it is done, pull it out and scrape the flesh away from the hard outer skin with a fork. It comes out like spaghetti...hence the name. I'll put it in some ziploc freezer bags in meal sized portions and freeze. Then, when I need to use them, I can just microwave for a few minutes and it is ready to go!

I've never blanched anything before last night, but it turns out it is pretty easy. I read that you are supposed to blanch the zucchini and the summer or crook-neck squash before freezing to stop the enzymes from making the vegetable more and more ripe, even when frozen. I cut the zucchini into slices and then quarters. Boiled the water. I used a saucepan and a steamer thingy so I could keep the pan of water boiling but still get the vegetables out when the were done. I dropped the vegetables into the water, waited 3 minutes, then took them out and put in cold ice water for about 3 minutes...then drained very well before putting in ziploc bags to freeze.

Hope this works. I've read that after freezing, the vegetables can come out a bit squishy, not so crisp, but I always saute them or put them on the grill in aluminum foil, so once they are done cooking they aren't that crisp anyway.

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