How to freeze for the winter?
The low temperature makes it possible to preserve all the useful vitamins, trace elements in vegetables, fruits and mushrooms, as well as to preserve the excellent taste and aroma of the preparations. This means that you can enjoy your favorite products throughout the winter.
Preparation for freezing
Before freezing vegetables, fruits, mushrooms for the winter, do the following:
- Choose the healthiest, dense, high-quality fruits. In no case rotten, not wormy, not broken. This will ensure their best preservation. In addition, such fruits are ideal ingredients for desserts, first and second courses. You should not choose overripe vegetables or fruits, otherwise they may simply lose their shape during storage. As for which mushrooms, fruits or vegetables to choose for storage at low temperatures, here you should be guided solely by your taste - you can freeze anything you want.
- Rinse the fruit thoroughly. Count on the fact that you will immediately use the defrosted products for their intended purpose - that is, to use for soups, desserts, baking, etc.
- Be sure to dry the products. The easiest way to do this, putting them on paper towels. Dry fruits will provide better, proper freezing.
- Sort the fruits by size so that larger ones do not injure smaller fruits. Very large vegetables and fruits should be cut into several pieces - this will save space in the freezer.
The choice of storage containers
You will need to choose what exactly to freeze products.
- Packages. In supermarkets, very convenient plastic bags are sold for freezing a wide variety of sizes. You can use them many times, their shelf life is unlimited. Often these bags come with practical zippers. The advantage of the package is that it takes up little space, and therefore will be an ideal choice for refrigerators with a small freezer.
- Plastic containers. They also suggest long reuse. This is an excellent solution for delicate vegetables or fruits, mushrooms - such containers will reliably protect them from damage. It is also convenient to store sauces, fruit puree in containers. Forms of containers are very different, but we would recommend using square and rectangular containers, since they will be easier to place in the freezer than round or oval.
- Plastic bottles. These containers are designed specifically for the storage of fruit grated in mashed potatoes. They can be stored both in pure form and with the addition of sugar, honey. In the size of the bottles, be guided by the dimensions of the freezer. Usually the most convenient are the containers of 0.5-1 l.
You can sort well-dried fruits in two ways - either according to their variety, or mixtures. The second option will be very convenient for making compotes, soups, sweet delicacies, salads. You just need to get one or another package with a ready-made set of fruits and add it to the dish. In a container with mixtures, place notes with the indication of the date of freezing and what ingredients are collected in it - this will relieve confusion.
As for how to freeze fruits for the winter, there are two options here:
- Arrange the fruit in bags / containers and immediately put in the freezer.
- Put the fruits in a single layer on a pallet, plate or cutting board so that they do not touch each other, put in the freezer for a preliminary intensive, "piece" freeze. After that, carefully remove and transfer into containers or packages.With such freezing, both berries, mushrooms, and fruits will preserve their integrity to the maximum. Also, the fruit will be easy to separate from each other.
The optimal freezing temperature is -18 to -23 degrees. If you use the method of pre-freezing, you can first cool the fruit at a temperature of -23 degrees, and after moving through containers put in the freezer -18 degrees. This will be quite enough for your reserves to be preserved in excellent condition until the next season.
If the capacity of the refrigerator is not too large, and the freezer works only at temperatures from 0 to -8 degrees, then you can store vegetables, fruits, mushrooms and mashed potatoes in them for no more than 3 months.
- Berries, peaches, apricots and some other “soft” fruits, as well as mushrooms, are very delicate, and therefore deteriorate rather quickly. Therefore, it is better to freeze them immediately after collection. In extreme cases, demanding fruits can be sent to the freezer after a day of storage at room temperature.
- To prevent berries or mushrooms from being crushed in bags when frozen, as well as for more convenient storage, put the packaged fruits first in plastic containers and place them in the freezer.After they are frozen, taking a neat shape, take out the bags and place them in the chamber.
- After defrosting, mushrooms intensively attack various microorganisms that can quickly spoil the product. To prevent this from happening, defrost the mushrooms by moving them from the freezer to a regular refrigerator.
- You can stack fruits, vegetables, and mushrooms with whole fruits, or by cutting them into slices. The last option is good because you can completely eliminate the freezing of substandard fruits (wormy, rotten), which are attractive in appearance, but have a damaged middle.
- Try not to put too many fruits in a container / bag - they will be worse frozen due to excessive layer thickness, which means they will be stored worse. Better to lay them out in a couple of layers.
- If you have a fridge of a new generation, deep-frozen, then vegetables and mushrooms can be put into soups, salads and main dishes without defrosting.
- Please note that it is impossible to re-freeze any fruits, vegetables, berries, mushrooms, or mash-mix! Thawed out, they become the object of exposure to microorganisms, which means that further effective savings in the freezer will be impossible.Calculate the portion of the fruit in the package / container so that then you do not have to throw out the excess.