We have a friend that makes part of his living by picking and selling berries. He told my husband that we should try spreading berries out on a sheet to freeze them. I was skeptical; I figured the berries would still just freeze together into a block that would be even harder to deal with than a bag of berries frozen all together.
I thought it would work great for the blueberries though and I figured I should at least try it with some blackberries.
I was tickled pink by how nicely all the berries froze. When you fill a bag with blackberries they squish together letting a lot of juice out and freezing into a solid block. When you freeze them spread out they stay intact and freeze much faster. Since the berries keep their shape and juices inside they don’t freezer burn as quickly and you can use fewer larger containers but still get as many or as few berries as you need since they aren’t all froze together.
You can consider this a form of home flash freezing. AJ doesn’t like that I call this flash freezing because the food doesn’t freeze instantly and there isn’t any liquid nitrogen involved. He is just going to have to get over it. This is the next best thing and this method is useful for freezing all sorts of food. It’s especially useful for freezing fruit and veggies that are fragile or usually turn to mush when frozen.
Spreading the food out on a tray allows it to freeze quickly which results in small ice crystals that break fewer of the cell membranes in the plant. When those membranes break its like pooping a balloon; the cells deflate making the food mushy as well as mixing the different cellular contents. Besides texture being negatively affected those mixing cellular juices interact to lower the nutrient quality of the food.
You only need to freeze for a few hours, just until the food is solid, before you transfer to containers. I have forgotten trays overnight and I could still get the food off the tray and bagged without too much extra difficulty.
I chop and flash freeze greens for birdie bread and to add on top of the tiels’ chop when I don’t have fresh greens on hand. They would also work for smoothies or when you plan to cook with the greens. The texture of thawed flash frozen greens is about the same a lightly wilted kale.
I also tried this with my last batch of chop, it worked beautifully. I have the chop in gallon bags and I can just scoop out a daily portion with absolutely no fuss.
I blanch peas (1 minute) and green beans (3 minutes) before freezing them but really you should theoretically be able to flash freeze either without blanching, I have yet to try it though.
I’ve done this with sliced bananas, berries, greens, chop, peas and beans. I’m confident this would also work perfectly with lots of other things such as peppers, onions, cooked beans, homemade tater-tots and leeks. The possibilities are endless!!!You can find a flash freezing update and a video of flash freezing chop now, just follow the link.
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