Terra’s Kitchen Food Blog | Terra’s Kitchen

How To Freeze Fresh Ingredients

Written by Terra's Kitchen | Thu, Aug 24, '17
 
We hate to see good food go to waste, so if you can’t get around to cooking all your Terra’s Kitchen meal kits this week, don't worry, you can freeze fresh ingredients to use when you're ready. 
Meats
You should always freeze any meat you aren't planning to eat right away for best results. When properly packaged, meat can be kept frozen for up to three months. 
 
To freeze:
  • Remove meat from packaging
  • Wrap meat tightly in plastic wrap or freezer paper. Be sure to press the wrapping smoothly against the surface of the meat. 
  • Wrap another layer of aluminum foil around the meat and seal it inside a freezer bag. 
 
To defrost:
  • Place frozen package in the refrigerator to thaw slowly. Small cuts will thaw in about 24-hours while larger cuts can take a few days. 
  • If you don’t have that much time, place frozen package in a bowl of lukewarm water under a cool dripping faucet in the sink. This usually takes about 20 minutes for small cuts and up to an hour for larger cuts. Don't leave the meat out for more than four hours.

*Do not thaw frozen meats on the counter! The outside of the meat will thaw — creating an environment for bacteria to grow — long before the middle is thawed.

 

 
Vegetables
There are two methods for freezing fresh vegetables: blanching (then cooling, drying and freezing) or freezing the fresh veggies directly. 
 
Blanching vegetables will give them a much longer shelf life in the freezer (8-12 months) but is a bit more time consuming. If you’re freezing ingredients from your meal kit, you're likely doing so because you don’t have time to cook them- so why add more work?
 
When freezing fresh vegetables without blanching, they should be used within 6 to 8 weeks and are best served stir-fried, steamed, in soups or even in smoothies (no need to thaw!) 
 
To freeze:
  • Prep your vegetables and lay to dry on a clean dish towel. If they're from your order and they're already prepped, all you need to do is remove the prepared veggies from their packaging and let them dry if needed. (Ensuring that the veggies are dry before storing will prevent freezer burn.)
  • Pack veggies in freezer bags, expelling as much air as possible (You can use a straw to suction air out of the bag!). Label with name and date.
  • Once packed, try to spread veggies in a single layer inside the bag (so they don’t clump together) and lay flat in the coldest part of your freezer.
 
The following ingredients are used in a variety of TK meals and will survive well in the freezer.  
  • Kale (remove stalks and freeze separately to use in soups. Frozen leaves are great for added fiber in smoothies.) 
  • Spinach (also a favorite for smoothies)
  • Beets (add these to your smoothies too!) 
  • Asparagus
  • Beans
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Corn (husked and on the cob or kernels removed from cob)
  • Eggplant
  • Peas
  • Peppers 
  • Squash & Zucchini 
  • Onions
  • Fruits and Berries

 

Fruit

You can also store many of your favorite summer fruits for up to three months in the freezer. 
 
To freeze:
  • Wash fruit and lay in a single layer on a clean dish towel to dry. *Fruit needs to be completely dry before freezing or it will quickly develop freezer burn.
  • Slice the fruit into chunks or wedges. Core and remove rinds, seeds/pits when necessary. Peels can be left on or removed as preferred. 
  • Arrange fruit in single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze until solid (about 2 hours) Avoid layering or overlapping the fruits- this will keep them from clumping together and make it easier to grab just a handful as needed.
  • Pack frozen fruits into freezer containers (freezer bags, plastic or glass containers). Seal tightly, pressing out as much air as possible, and return to freezer.
 
Fruits will keep for at least 3 months before starting to develop ice crystals and freezer burn. No need to thaw the fruit before using - just grab a handful for your morning smoothie, or use like you would fresh fruit for pie and cobbler recipes. 
 
These fruits freeze well and are very versatile
  • Apples and Pears
  • Peaches, Nectarines, Plums and other Stone Fruit
  • Cherries
  • Blueberries, Raspberries, Blackberries, Strawberries
  • Melons
  • Bananas
 
Prepped ingredients are way easier to freeze if you can't cook them right away. At Terra's Kitchen we send high-quality fruits and vegetables that are already washed, peeled and chopped so you can start cooking... or freezing right away. Click here to learn more about how meal kit delivery with Terra's Kitchen works.