It is no secret that whenever I buy my groceries or vegetables, I am always on the lookout for cheap deals and bulk savings. I am always scouting the internet, social media, and newspapers for discounts offered at my local supermarkets. My shopping list is always done in a spreadsheet format, according to store and price.
Knowing the prices of items I will buy in advance makes it easier for me to draw and stick to my budget. At times you get to the store and the price you saw online or leaflet is not the same but that can always be disputed with store management to get clarity and in most cases, I always get the items at a discounted price.
When it comes to vegetables I always prefer to buy fresh and then freeze them myself instead of buying already frozen. Some are not even available in frozen form but am still able to buy in bulk, freeze and use for a longer period of time.
Vegetables that you should not freeze
I have tried this and failed dismally. I had bought more than I needed because they were cheap and ended up losing money because I had to throw them away. Cucumbers are 95% water, so unless you will use them to make your green smoothie, they are not good for freezing.
This should actually be number one on the list of vegetables to never freeze. I am not even sure what you would do with lettuce after you have frozen it. Lettuce becomes limp, soggy and turns into an oxidized color after thawing, and has an unpleasant flavor.
Parsley and other leafy herbs
It is never a good idea to freeze leafy herbs because they become limp when frozen and can also develop an unpleasant flavor. To preserve your herbs, it is better to turn them into herb butter or pesto. You can also just buy them dried or dry them yourself in the oven.
Even though we buy frozen french fries, fresh potatoes when they are frozen, the water separates from the starch causing them to become watery when reheated. It might work maybe if you will use them to make baby food.
I have mixed feelings with this one. Avocado loses its silky smooth original texture once frozen and thawed. It is absolutely fine to cut it in cubes and use while frozen to make your smoothie, or hair mask though.
Vegetables great for bulk purchase and freezing
Broccoli and Cauliflower
This is the most common and easiest one to take care of. Just chop them in chunks, rinse and put them in a resealable plastic bag.
Carrots and cabbage
Peel and chop your carrots into small chunks or thin fingers. Shred your cabbage or chop in thin slices and freeze together with carrots that way it will be easy for when making stirfry or soup.
Onions and bell peppers
I just cut in small cubes and store them together in the same plastic bag because I use them together in 98 percent of my meals. Do not use them in salads though.
Clean well, making sure to remove all the silk. Using a knife to cut the kernels off and freeze. Some boil the corn on the cob for a few minutes and let it cool before cutting and freezing but I don’t.
I always freeze green beans immediately after purchase because I usually buy them and forget that there are in the fridge and end up getting spoiled. You just cut off the ends and chop them in small bite sizes and freeze. You can blanch them first before freezing. Blanching in boiling water before freezing them ensures that they retain their original texture and color when you get around to cooking with them.
Spinach or Kale
Most people don’t like frozen spinach because it becomes a bit soggy or watery. I enjoy it though when making an omelette, green smoothie,e or creamy spinach. If you decide to freeze spinach, remove the thick stems and roughly chop the leaves and then freeze.
Wash and cut into halves, quarters, or leave whole. Dry and pack into freezer bags and freeze. I don’t thaw them before cooking, I just grate them frozen and use them in stews instead of tomato paste/puree.
The part that I dislike the most with pumpkin is peeling it. It is always better peeling with a potato peeler or blunt knife though. Once you are done peeling your pumpkin, thoroughly scoop out the seeds, and cut the flesh into 2 to 3cm chunks. Fill it in your plastic or freezer bags. Frozen pumpkin is best cooked in the oven to remove the access water created by freezing it.
Vegetables always taste best when freshly picked from your garden. Check out how to start your own garden here. Even though sometimes our gardens yield too many veggies, it is best to just prolong them by freezing them or sharing with your neighbors.