As of today, my garden has rendered a great harvest, more than enough for my husband and I. I have been doing research and I am trying several methods to “preserve” my summer harvest.
All fruits and vegetables have enzymes and bacteria that can destroy the nutrients, change the color and texture of the food. Blanching is a heat treatment that will destroy these enzymes.
My first harvest I tried the blanch then freeze method. Although not difficult, it did take most of an evening to complete the process for all my squash and peppers. Do not allow the vegetables to sit on the counter more than 24 hours before blanching them.
I have an abundance of banana peppers! When picked at the peak of ripeness, they are at their height of sweetness. Banana peppers AND bell peppers can be frozen WITHOUT blanching, according to the farmer’s almanac. Banana peppers are great in salads, on hamburgers or any recipe that calls for bell peppers.
Place the exposed skins flat on a paper towel lined sheet pan and place in the freezer. Once frozen, place peppers in an air tight zip lock bag or a vacuumed sealed bag.
It is possible to freeze tomatoes without having to par cook them, peel them or slice them; however, it is recommended these tomatoes only be used in sauces, soups and stews as they will be mushy when removed from the freezer.
To use the frozen tomatoes, remove them from the freezer a few at a time or all at once. To peel, just run a frozen tomato under warm water in the kitchen sink. Its skin will slip off easily. I plan to use my when make tomato based pasta sauces.