The Big Sandy Mountaineer -

Getting By


June 3, 2020

Maybe canning is not for you, but do you have extra produce you want to preserve and have available for later? Freezing is a convenient option for preserving food while maintaining a large portion of its nutritional value and flavor. Freezing will cause texture changes due to the water inside vegetables. You will find some produce freeze better than others. Depending on personal preference and what you are using the frozen food for, you may find you prefer some over others.

Select produce at peak flavor, maturity and texture. If possible, freeze fresh produce withing two hours of harvesting. Purchased produce, which will not be used up right away, can also be froze but may not have the same quality as fresh harvested produce. Wash produce well under cool running water. Do not let vegetables soak.

Select containers labelled for food use. These may include glass, ceramic, plastic freezer bags, plastic freezer containers with tight lids and freezer wraps of plastic, paper or foil. In addition, containers should also be waterproof, straight or flared sides so food can be removed easily while froze and should not become brittle or crack at low temperatures. Square or rectangular, flat-sided containers organize space more efficiently.

Before packaging produce for the freezer, you will need to blanch (scald) the vegetables for a short period of time. This slows enzyme action which will extend the overall quality of the produce. It also destroys bacteria which can cause spoilage and remove additional dirt.

For specific times for vegetables, we have a MontGuide available at Some additional information regarding fruits is available at Contact our office for printed copies.

To learn more, contact Janell at the Chouteau County Extension Office at 622-3036, or in the green building next to the Chouteau County Courthouse at 1308 Franklin St in Fort Benton.

Follow us on Facebook @ChouteauCountyExtension to keep up to date on what is happening in Chouteau County Extension and 4-H.

Montana State University, US Department of Agriculture and Montana Counties Cooperating. MSU Extension is an equal opportunity/affirmative action provider of educational outreach.


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