I put everything I want to preserve in the freezer. Yes that is correct. I have two 5 gallon freezer bags full of tomatoes left in the freezer from last year. Many Earth minded friends are unsure how to take that. It is a small horizontal, maybe 3 x 3 x 2 ft. freezer in my basement. It uses energy, not a lot but more than it would take to dry them or maybe even can them. Though the jury is out on green beans, corn and other sweet starchy vegetables. You have to cook them a loooong time to get them to keep. Yes it is true that canned goods last a much longer time and can be much more easily transported. It is true that we even have a pressure canner that we use periodically, mostly for fruit and quick jams :} :} UMMMM good. Our winters are only 6 months long at the most. Global warming will make that even shorter so I am back out in the garden before we run out. Frankly there are enough squash to drowned in and yes I end up throwing some out. I am just not in survivalist mode right now. Freezing is easy. So to cook before or not? Everything should be thoroughly washed and dry as possible. Anthrax and botulism occur naturally and in most locals so this is really important.
But what happens next is well up to you. Thousands of people have their own opinions too. This lady is a cooker:
|Artichoke, Globe||Remove outer leaves. Wash and trim stalks. Remove “chokes” and blanch, a few at a time, for 7 minutes. Cool in iced water for 7 minutes. Drain. Pack in freezer bags, seal and label. Keeps up to 6 months.|
|Artichoke, Jerusalem||Peel and slice. Place in cold water with the juice of a lemon to prevent discoloration. Blanch for 2 minutes in boiling water. Cool in iced water for 2 minutes. Drain and place on tray in a single layer. Freeze for 30 minutes. Transfer to freezer bags, remove air, label and seal. Keeps for 6 months.|
|Asparagus||Wash and remove woody portions and scales of spears. Cut into 6 inch lengths and blanch in boiling water for 3 minutes. Cool in iced water for 3 minutes. Drain. Place on trays in a single layer and freeze for 30 minutes. Pack into suitable containers, seal and label. Keeps up to 6 months.|
|Beans, Broad||Shell and wash. Blanch in boiling water for 1½ minutes. Cool in iced water for 1-2 minutes. Place on tray in a single layer and freeze for 30 minutes. Pack into freezer bags, remove air, seal and label. Keeps up to 6 months.|
This site lists 46 different vegetables and some herbs. No green beans though. Much as everyone loves them. Preserving them is not for the faint of heart. For one thing they are going to be mushy. Cook them with green unions and bell peppers and then freeze them. They are going to be mushy. Tasty but mushy. Can them with small unions (and a big nonono a tiny little bit of bacon) mild banana peppers and delicate slices of pimento or tomato. They will be tasty. But they will be mushy. I just used about a quart of them in a green bean casserole and they were not bad. I personally think that finding green bean recipes that cook the heck out of them are best like for stews and hearty soups. This the only real solution cause the only way to have crisp sweet green beans, unfortunately, is to pick them and eat them. If you are in survival mode that ain’t even a question. This lady is a cooker too:
Blanching and packing vegetables for the freezer
If you’re lucky enough to have freezer space, most vegetables freeze quite well. Some vegetable varieties do freeze better than others, and it’s almost always best to use the youngest and most tender of your crop. Here are some basic instructions, along with preparation and freezing instructions for individual vegetables. Blanching
Blanching is an important step. The enzymes which cause vegetables to lose color and flavor will continue even after the vegetables are frozen. Blanching stops these enzymes. Most vegetables are blanched in boiling water, but steam works well with a few. There are exceptions; some vegetables must be fully cooked and a few can be frozen raw and unblanched.
Blanching in Boiling Water
Fill a large kettle with 1 gallon of water or more; bring water to a brisk boil. Blanch no more than 1 pound of vegetables per 1 gallon of water at a time. Use a basket, strainer or cheesecloth (bundle a pound or less of vegetables in the cheesecloth) to submerge vegetables in the boiling water. If the water doesn’t return to a boil in about 1 minute, use a smaller amount the next batch. Cover the pot and boil for the specified time (see individual vegetables, below) then remove quickly and submerge a large bowl or deep pot of water and ice to cool quickly and stop the cooking. When vegetables are thoroughly chilled, remove, drain and pat dry. Keep chilled in the refrigerator if they will not be packed immediately.
Blanching in Steam
Use a large kettle with a rack. It should hold the vegetables over about 1 1/2 to 2 inches of water. Bring the water to a boil, put vegetables in the basket in a single layer. Cover the kettle and keep the heat high for the specified amount of time. Remove to ice water immediately; chill thoroughly, drain and pat dry. Keep chilled in the refrigerator if they will not be packed immediately.
You can pack the chilled vegetables right in the containers, but dry packing will help to prevent clumping and make it easier to use small amounts from containers. Arrange blanched, chilled vegetables on a baking sheet or tray in a single layer. Freeze at -20° F., or as quickly as your freezer will allow. Once frozen, pack in freezer containers or bags.
Finally this lady is pretty complete too:
But you know me. I love the equipment. So what does a really efficient horizontal stand alone freezer look like?
Green Product Sub-category:
Residential Refrigerators and Freezers
The energy efficiency of refrigerators has improved dramatically in the last several decades. National standards have helped reduce the energy use of refrigerators to less than one-third that of pre-1973 models; and since 2001, the energy use of conventional refrigerators has dropped by 40%. Developments in refrigerator design, including increased insulation, tighter door seals, and more efficient compressors, are continuing that trend. Different options and freezer compartment configurations affect energy use. A side-by-side refrigerator-freezer with such amenities as through-the-door ice service and automatic defrost may use nearly 40% more energy than a top-freezer, manual-defrost, basic model. On a per-volume basis (cubic feet of interior space), compact refrigerators typically use significantly more energy than their larger counterparts. Energy Star qualified refrigerators and freezers exceed the current federal minimum standard by at least 20% and 10%, respectively, but the minimum standard varies by size and feature, so two Energy Star-qualified refrigerators can have dramatically different energy consumption and per-volume efficiency. Because models change rapidly, the best way to find a top-efficiency product is to (1) figure out how large a model and which features are really needed, (2) look for the Energy Star logo on models that satisfy user needs, and (3) use the yellow EnergyGuide label to compare the kWh per year consumption of models meeting user needs and choose the model with the lowest energy use. One large appliance is almost always more efficient than two smaller ones, and if getting a new larger refrigerator leads to unplugging a partly full old refrigerator or freezer, the benefit is even greater.
Product lines listed here are from companies with numerous models that exceed Energy Star requirements by at least a few percentage points; these brands are a good place to start when seeking out efficient products from retail outlets. Also included are super-efficient refrigerators that are usually sold for use in off-grid houses; these generally haven’t qualified for Energy Star because the companies are too small or their markets too small to justify their submitting products for testing.
It may not be the Sears Tower anymore but they still make great stuff:
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