Store and Cook Vegetables to Survive in Crisis Time

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frozen-vegetables_cInformation about freezing and storing such vegetables: artichokes, asparagus, aubergines, bamboo shoots, beans, beetroot, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chestnuts, corn, cucumber, fennel, herbs, kale, kohlrabi, marrow, mushrooms, onions, parsnips, peas, peppers, potatoes, pumpkin, spinach, tomatoes, turnips.


Artichokes (globe)

Preparation and packing Remove outer leaves and wash artichokes very thoroughly, trimming stalks and removing 'chokes'. Blanch six at a time in 4 quarts boiling water with 1 tablespoon lemon juice added, for 7 minutes. Cool in chilled water and drain upside down on absorbent paper. Pack in boxes, as polythene will tear.

Artishoke bottoms may be frozen for special dishes by removing all green leaves and centre flower, allowing 5 minutes for blanching.

Thawing and serving Plunge frozen artichokes in boiling water and boil for 5 minutes until leaves are tender and easily removed.

Storage time 12 months.

Asparagus

Preparation and packing Remove woody portions and small scales and wash well. Sort and blanch each size separately. Cut into 6 inch lengths, and allow 2 minutes for small spears, 3 minutes for medium spears and 4 minutes for large spears. Cool and drain well. Pack, graded in sizes, in boxes lined with moisture-vapour-proof paper; or make up bundles with half the asparagus heads at each end, and wrap in freezer paper or foil.

Thawing and serving Put frozen asparagus into boiling water and cook 5 minutes.

Storage time 9-12 months.

Aubergines (egg plants)

Preparation and packing Peel and cut into 1 inch slices, blanch 4 minutes, chill and dry in absorbent paper. Pack in cartons in layers separated by cellophane.

Cooked aubergines may well be frozen; they should be fried in deep fat after coating with thin batter, or egg and breadcrumbs, well drained and cooled before packing in layers, in cartons.

Thawing and serving Cook frozen aubergines in boiling water for 5 minutes. Heat frozen ready-cooked aubergines in a slow oven, or part-thaw and deep-fry.

Storage time Uncooked 12 months; cooked 1 month.

Special notes Aubergines will be rubbery unless they are frozen when mature and medium-sized, with tender seeds.

Bamboo shoots

Preparation and packing Portions of canned bamboo shoots can be put in small containers covered with liquid from the can, and frozen.

Thawing and serving Thaw at room temperature for 1 hour, drain and add to dishes.

Storage time 2 months.

Beans (broad)

Preparation and packing Remove beans from shell, blanch for 1 1/2 minutes, cool and pack in cartons or polythene bags.

Thawing and serving Put frozen beans in boiling salted water and cook for 8 minutes.

Storage time 12 months.

Special notes Use small young beans with tender outer skins.

Beans (french)

Preparation and packing Remove tops and tails, leaving small beans whole, and cutting bigger ones into 1 inch pieces. Blanch whole beans 3 minutes, cut beans 2 minutes. Cool and pack in polythene bags.

Thawing and serving Cook whole beans for 7 minutes in boiling salted water; cook cut beans for 5 minutes.

Storage time 12 months.

Beans (runner)

Preparation and packing Cut beans in pieces and blanch 2 minutes, cool and pack in polythene bags.

Thawing and serving Cook 7 minutes in boiling salted water.

Storage time 12 months.

Special notes If runner beans are shredded finely before freezing, the cooked result will be pulpy and taste-less.

Beetroot

Preparation and packing Only very young beetroot, under 3 inches in diameter are suitable for freezing. Cook in boiling water until tender, putting larger beetroot in water first and adding the remainder in graduated sizes at ten-minute intervals. Cool quickly in running water, rub off skins and pack in cartons. Beetroot under 1 inch diameter may be frozen whole; large ones should be sliced or diced.

Thawing and serving Thaw in cartons in refrigerator for 2 hours, drain and add dressing.

Storage time 6-8 months.

Special notes Short blanching and long storage makes beetroot rubbery, so complete cooking is essential.

Broccoli

Preparation and packing Compact heads with tender stalks not more than 1 inch thick should be used, and these heads should be uniformly green. Trim woody stems and take off outer leaves. Wash well and soak in salt water (2 teaspoons salt to 8 pints water) to clear out insects, for 30 minutes. Wash in fresh water. Cut into sprigs and blanch 3 minutes for thin stems, 4 minutes for medium stems, 5 minutes for thick stems. Pack into bags or boxes, with half the heads at each end.

Thawing and serving Plunge frozen heads into boiling water and cook for 8 minutes.

Storage time 12 months.

Brussels sprouts

Preparation and packing Use small compact heads and grade before blanching. Clean and wash well. Blanch 3 minutes for small sprouts, 4 minutes for medium sprouts; cool and pack in cartons or bags.

Thawing and serving Cook frozen sprouts for 8 minutes in boiling water.

Storage time 12 months.

Cabbage (green and red)

Preparation and packing Use young crisp cabbage. Wash thoroughly and shred finely. Blanch 1 1/2 minutes, and pack in polythene bags.

Thawing and serving Cook for 8 minutes in boiling salted water.

Storage time 6 months.

Special notes Frozen cabbage should not be used raw for salads.

Carrots

Preparation and packing Use very young carrots, wash thoroughly and scrape. They may be packed whole, sliced or diced. Blanch whole small carrots or cut carrots for 3 minutes. Pack in cartons or polythene bags, leaving 1/2 inch headspace in cartons.

Thawing and serving Cook frozen carrots for 8 minutes in boiling water.

Storage time 1 year.

Cauliflower

Preparation and packing Heads should be firm and compact with close white flowecs. Wash and break into small sprigs. Add the juice of a lemon to blanching water to keep cauliflower white. Blanch 3 minutes, cool, and pack in lined boxes or polythene bags.

Thawing and serving Cook for 10 minutes in boiling water.

Storage time 6 months.

Celery

Preparation and packing Use crisp young stalks, removing any strings. Scrub well and remove dirt under running water. Cut in 1 inch lengths and blanch for 3 minutes. Drain, cool, and pack in polythene bags. Celery may also be packed in rigid containers covered with flavoured water used for blanching, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.

Thawing and serving Add to stews or soups, or cook as a vegetable, using its own liquid if frozen by this method.

Storage time 6 months.

Special notes Since celery must be blanched for freezing, it cannot then be used for raw salads and snacks, but it is useful for cooked dishes.

Chestnuts

Preparation and packing Cover chestnuts in shells with water and bring to the boil. Drain and peel off shell and pack in containers or polythene bags. It is possible to pack the chestnuts in shells, but it becomes extremely difficult to shell them after thawing.

Thawing and serving Plunge frozen chestnuts into boiling water or milk to cook, according to recipe being followed.

Storage time 6 months.

Corn on the cob

Preparation and packing Corn must be fresh and tender. It may be frozen as cobs or kernels. Cobs should be graded when leaves and silk threads are removed, and stems cut short. They should not be starchy or over-ripe, nor have shrunken or under-sized kernels. Blanch 4 minutes for small cobs, 6 minutes for medium cobs, and 8 minutes for large cobs. Cool and dry, and pack individually in freezer paper or foil. Freeze immediately in coldest part of freezer, then pack in bags. Kernels can be scraped from blanched cobs and packed in cartons leaving 1/2 inch headspace.

Thawing and serving Correct cooking after freezing is particularly important with corn.

  1. Put frozen corn in enough cold water to cover it completely. Put on high heat, bring to a fast boil and simmer 5 minutes.
  2. Thaw in wrappings in refrigerator, plunge in boiling water and cook 10 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F (Gas Mark 4) and roast for 20 minutes, or wrap in foil to roast on a barbecue, turning frequently.

Storage time 12 months.

Cucumber

Preparation and packing Mix equal quantities of white vinegar and water, and season with 1/2 teaspoon sugar and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper to each pint of liquid. Fill rigid plastic containers with liquid, and slice in the cucumber thinly, leaving 1 inch space.

Thawing and serving Thaw in covered container in the refrigerator; drain and season with salt.

Storage time 2 months.

Special notes Frozen cucumber is not usually considered very satisfactory, but this method is good for those who like cucumber dressed with vinegar.

Fennel

Preparation and packing Prepare as celery, retaining blanching liquid for packing. Blanch 3 minutes.

Thawing and serving Simmer frozen fennel in blanching water or stock for 30 minutes. Slip hard cores from centres of roots when cooked.

Storage time 6 months.

Herbs

Preparation and packing Wash herbs thoroughly, trim from stems, and cut very finely. Put into ice-cube trays, topping up with water and freeze. Wrap frozen cubes in foil and pack in polythene bags for easy storage. Parsley, mint and chives freeze most successfully.

Thawing and serving Thaw at room temperature for use in sandwich fillings; add frozen cubes to sauces, soups or stews.

Storage time 6 months.

Special notes Sprigs of herbs become limp on thawing, so are not suitable for freezing as garnishes. The flavour of frozen herbs is good but not strong; colour retention is good.

Kale

Preparation and packing Use young, tender, tightly curled kale, discarding dry or tough leaves.

Remove leaves from stems and blanch 1 minute. Cool, drain, and chop if liked. Pack tightly into bags or containers leaving 1/2 inch headspace.

Thawing and serving Cook frozen kale in boiling water for 8 minutes.

Storage time 6 months.

Kohlrabi

Preparation and packing Use mild-flavoured kohlrabi which is not too large but is young and tender. Trim, wash and peel, leaving small ones whole, and dicing large ones. Blanch whole vegetables for 3 minutes; diced for 2 minutes. Cool and pack in polythene bags or containers, leaving 1/2 inch headspace for diced vegetables.

Thawing and serving Cook frozen kohlrabi for 10 minutes in boiling water.

Storage time 12 months.

Marrow

Preparation and packing Young marrows or courgettes can be frozen unpeeled, cut in 1/2 inch slices and blanched for 3 minutes before packing in cartons with 1/2 inch headspace. Older vegetables should be peeled and seeded, cooked until soft, then mashed and packed.

Thawing and serving Cook sliced marrows by frying in oil and seasoning well with salt and pepper. Reheat cooked mashed marrow in a double boiler with butter and plenty of seasoning.

Storage time 6 months.

Mushrooms

Preparation and packing Use only very fresh mushrooms, wiping clean but not peeling. Mushrooms larger than 1 inch diameter should be sliced. The stems should be trimmed off, and can then be frozen separately.

Blanch 1 1/2 minutes in water, adding 1 tablespoon lemon juice to 6 pints water. Blanch stems separately for 1 1/2 minutes. Pack cups down in containers, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Cooked mushrooms freeze excellently if graded into sizes and cooked gently for 5 minutes, allowing 6 tablespoons butter to 1 lb mushrooms. Cool quickly, and take off excess fat before packing.

Thawing and serving Thaw uncooked mushrooms in a covered container in the refrigerator, then cook in butter. Add frozen cooked mushrooms to soups, stews or other dishes as required by recipe.

Storage time 3 months.

Onions

Preparation and packing Onions may be frozen raw for use in salads, or cooked.

Raw onions can be peeled, chopped and packed in small containers for later cooking. They may also be cut in 1/4 inch slices and wrapped in freezer paper or foil, with slices divided by cellophane. Packages should be overwrapped to prevent the onions flavouring other foods in the freezer. Prepared onions may be chopped or sliced, blanched 2 minutes, then chilled, drained and packed, with over-wrapping. Small whole onions should be blanched 4 minutes.

Thawing and serving Thaw raw onions on absorbent paper in the refrigerator, and serve while still frosty in salads. Add raw or prepared onions to cooked dishes according to recipe followed.

Storage time 2 months.

Parsnips

Preparation and packing Trim and peel young parsnips and cut into narrow strips or dice about 1/2 inch thickness. Blanch 2 minutes and pack in containers or polythene bags.

Thawing and serving Cook frozen parsnips in boiling water for 15 minutes.

Storage time 12 months.

Peas

Preparation and packing Use young sweet peas which are not old or starchy. Shell, and blanch 1 min-ute, lifting blanching basket in and out of water to distribute heat evenly through layers of peas. Chill quickly and pack in polythene bags or rigid containers.

Edible pod peas should be flat and tender. Wash well, and remove both ends and any strings. Blanch 1/2 minute in small quantities so peas remain crisp.

Thawing and serving Cook frozen shelled peas or frozen edible pods for 7 minutes in boiling water.

Storage time 12 months.

Peppers (green and red)

Preparation and packing Freeze green and red peppers separately or in mixed packages. They may be frozen in halves for stuffing, or in slices for use in stews or sauces. Wash well, cut on stems and caps, remove seeds and membranes. Blanch halves 3 minutes, slices 2 minutes. Pack in rigid containers or polythene bags.

Roast red peppers may be prepared by grilling under a high heat until skin is charred, then plunging into cold water and rubbing off skins. Remove caps and seeds, and pack tightly in rigid containers in salt solution (1 tablespoon salt to 1 pint water) leaving 1 inch headspace. Canned peppers which are left unused may be frozen in small containers in liquid from the can.

Thawing and serving Thaw uncooked peppers for 1 1/2 hours at room temperature before using. Roasted peppers should be thawed in their containers, in the salt solution, then drained and dressed with olive oil and seasoning. Canned peppers should be thawed in their containers at room temperature and should be used immediately after thawing.

Storage time 12 months; canned peppers 2 months.

Potatoes

Preparation and packing Potatoes are best frozen when small and new, or in cooked form as chips, croquettes, Baked Potatoes or Duchesse Potatoes. New potatoes should be scraped and washed, blanched 4 minutes, cooled and packed in polythene bags. They may also be slightly undercooked, drained, tossed in butter, cooled quickly and packed. Mashed potatoes can be made with butter and hot milk, and frozen in bags or waxed cartons. The same mixture can be used for Croquettes to be fried, drained and cooled before packing.

Chips should be cooked in clean odour-free fat, drained on paper, cooled and packed in polythene bags.

Thawing and serving Cook new potatoes in boiling water for 15 minutes; buttered new potatoes can be reheated by plunging the freezing bag in boiling water, removing from heat and leaving for about 10 minutes.

Mashed potatoes should be reheated in a double boiler, or can be slightly thawed, then spread on meat or fish cooked in the oven. Cro-quettes should be thawed for 2 hours at room temperature before heating at 350°F (Gas Mark 4) for 20 minutes.

Chips may be heated in a frying pan with a little hot fat, or on a baking tray at 300°F (Gas Mark 2) for 12 minutes.

Storage time New potatoes 12 months; cooked potatoes 3 months.

Pumpkin

Preparation and packing Treat as cooked Marrow.

Thawing and serving Reheat in double boiler with butter and seasoning as a vegetable; or thaw at room temperature for 2 hours to use as pie filling.

Storage time 6 months.

Spinach

Preparation and packing Use young tender spinach, remove stems and discoloured or bruised leaves. Wash very well and blanch 2 minutes, shaking blanching basket so that leaves separate. Cool quickly and press out excess moisture. Pack in rigid containers, leaving 1/2 inch headspace, or in polythene bags.

Thawing and serving Melt a little butter in heavy pan, and cook frozen spinach for 7 minutes. Storage time 12 months.

Tomatoes

Preparation and packing Tomatoes should not be frozen for salad use, but are good for cooking. They are most usefully frozen in the form of pulp, but can also be frozen whole or as juice. Whole tomatoes should be wiped clean, the stems removed, and the tomatoes packed in useable quantities in polythene bags.

Tomato pulp is best prepared by skinning and coring tomatoes, then simmering tomatoes in their own juice for 5 minutes until soft. Sieve, cool and pack in small containers. Tomato juice is made from cored and quartered ripe tomatoes simmered with a lid on for 10 minutes. Put through muslin, cool and pack into cartons leaving 1 inch headspace.

Thawing and serving Thaw whole tomatoes at room temperature for 2 hours before cooking. Thaw puree in container at room temperature for 2 hours before using, or turn frozen puree into soup or stew as required in recipe being followed. Thaw juice in its container in the refrigerator and serve a little frosty, seasoned to taste.

Storage time Whole tomatoes 10-12 months; puree 12 months; juice 12 months.

Turnips

Preparation and packing small, young, mild turnips. Trim and peel and cut into 1/2 inch dice. Blanch 2 1/2 minutes, cool, and pack in rigid containers.

Mashed turnips can be made by cooking turnips until tender, draining and mashing, then freezing in rigid containers leaving 1/2 inch headspace.

Thawing and serving Cook frozen turnips in boiling water for 10 minutes. Heat mashed turnips in a double boiler with butter and seasoning.

Storage time 12 months; mashed turnips 3 months.

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