Freezing Vegetables

Now that my website is back up and for the most part functioning correctly and my oldest children are back in school, I have a little more time to spend on other things such as this blog.
I love to garden and would spend all day outside if I could. I have a small garden but I use a modified version of the square foot gardening technique. I have 2 raised gardening beds where I am able to grow tomatoes, peppers, basil, parsley, cilantro, peas, carrots, several kinds of lettuce, spinach, zucchini, and of course marigolds. My cantalope and cucumbers plants are not in the planter boxes but grow up the fence. I also have several watermelon plants that are growing just outside the garden fence and they are cascading down one of our retaining walls. My garden is fenced off from the rest of our back yard. This is very necessary as our 3 dogs love vegetables. One of them is know to pull peas plants out of the ground and eat not only the pods but the entire plant! In the past they have also eaten tomatoes right off the vine. Last year I had zucchini plants scattered among my flower beds. While watering one day, I found a zucchini that had a huge chunk eaten out of it..obviously from one of the dogs. I took it in the house and told my husband, 'we must have some big bugs.' He looked up in surprise. I showed him the zucchini and we both just laughed. This spring I moved my garden to another part of the yard. I am now able to keep most of my plants in the fencing which has helped keep those 'nasty bugs' at bay.

Freezing Vegetables
Everyone loves to grow zucchini but by the end of summer they have more than they know what to do with. I love zucchini bread but I can only eat so much of it. Mike's aunt loves zuchini bread as well and she uses her zucchini to make bread and then she freezes the bread. I am kind of funny about frozen bread. I dont like the texture of bread that has been frozen.
I have heard that you are able to grate zucchini and then freeze it, but I am also curious about freezing it in slices. This afternoon I did some research online and I found several websites that have wonderful info on freezing tomatoes, zucchini and other vegetables.

Freezing Zucchinis
I found 3 different ways to freeze zucchini.
1-Grate, drain liquid and freeze. I am going to divide mine into 2 cup portions which is what I use in zucchini bread.
2-Cut off ends and then slice into 1/2 in slices. Blanch in a pot of boiling water for 3 minutes, transfer to a bowl of ice water to cool, drain, bag and freeze. If you need help, click here for step by step instructions with pictures.
3-Try slicing, breading and freezing in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Place in a freezer bag for frying, like you would okra.

Freezing Beans
Leave ends on, wash to clean, air dry and place in freezer bags.

Freezing Tomatoes
1-Freeze whole as is or core and then place in freezer bag.
2-Chop or dice and then freeze. Thaw and use in chilis or sauces.
3-Process in a food processor and freeze to use in tomato sauces
4-Season and dry to make sun dried tomatoes. You can dry them in the oven at a very low temperature for several hours.
5-One person recommends chopping big tomatos and halving the smaller ones. Sprinkle with Italian herbs and a splash of olive oil. Slow low roast forabout 2 hours, stir once, blend and then freeze. Has very concentrated flavor that is excellent in soups and sauces.
*My mom has a really good tomato soup recipe that #4 or #5 would work well in. I will have to post it soon.

I am going to try some of these methods. I will let you know how they work.

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