Tuesday 28 February 2012

Tuesday Tasters......Preserving the roots.

Okay so today's taster is preserving some vegetables which I harvested off my allotment at the weekend.

My chosen method of preservation this time round if freezing. I have mostly root veg and I like to freeze them so that they are handy for when I am short on time and want to make a casserole or stew. I think freezing can sometimes change the consistency of the vegetables but for the purposes of stews and soups I don't think it matters that much and makes the whole process of making them a lot quicker.

As a personal preference I don't cook up frozen root vegetables to be put on a plate individually as I prefer them fresh.

root veg straight from the allotment

Firstly prepare all of your veg by cleaning and peeling it.

root vegetables prepared for blanchingwater boiling rapidly for blanching

Chop your veg to your desired size, as mine are intended for soups/stews etc I always dice them quite small. Then rapidly boil a pan of water and chuck the veg in for the desired blanching time.

blanched vegetables in ice water coolingblanched vegetables bagged and ready for the freezer

Once you have reached the desired blanching time strain the veg and then plunge into ice cold water to rapidly cool, package and freeze.

What is Blanching???

Blanching is rapidly boiling in water and then plunging quickly into ice water before drying off.

Why Blanch food??

Blanching is a process which conserves flavour, colour, vitamin C and the nutritional value of the vegetables as it inhibits the enzymes which would otherwise affect these.

It has been proven that deteriorate a lot quicker even when frozen if they are not blanched first.

A few tips for blanching.

Make sure your water is boiling rapidly before you add your veg.

Remember, timing starts when the water comes back to the boil again, not form the minute you put the veg in.

Timing is key in this process but if you are un-sure then 'over-blanching' is better than 'under-blanching'.

Personal preferences.

It is recommended to use salted water but I never cook my vegetables with salt and don't add it when blanching either.

I think freezing root veg, (whether blanched or not) changes it's texture so I only use it for soups and stews or casseroles and never as an individual vegetable on a plate.

Some texts will tell you that freezing swede is not recommended, I can't find a reason why and I have froze it in the past both on it's own (blanched for two minutes) and as a swede and potato mash (cooked fully and then mashed) ready
for a quick shepherds pie topping with great success.

Vegetables blanched today with blanching times were,

leeks..........2 mins
Parsnip.....2 mins
turnip.......2 mins
Swede.......2 mins.
carrots......5 mins.

You may have noticed that there was also beetroot in my first picture. This can also be blanched...same method but blanching time is 20 minutes and then the skins should be rubbed off before being frozen. I didn't freeze this though as I wanted to cook it up to eat!!

I will do another blanching post later in the year on legumes.....and maybe a look at brassicas too. In the meantime if there is anything you want to know specifically don't hesitate to ask!!



  1. some good information here to know. I haven't frozen any vegetable in a long time but years ago when we had a garden I used to. I had forgotten all about the blanching.

    1. I like to do my research well and also learn for myself as I go along!!

  2. I cannot wait to get my freezer back. This year all my neighbours were treated to fresh produce that I cannot store. This year hopefully they will have to go without!!!! xxx

    1. With getting more land on the allotment last year I struggled to store my produce...this year I am hoping to get another freezer so I can store more so i know how you feel about having no freezer Fran...lets hope we both get it sorted!!

  3. Must admit I don't blanch before freezing as it was this process that put me off freezing in the past. It may reduce vitamins etc but not as much as if I didn't freeze vegetables at all!

    1. This is true Sue and I have to admit that I don't blanch everything....blanching makes the frozen product last longer so if it is something that is going to get eaten pretty quick then I tend not to bother!!

      It's not essential...just a guideline!

      Lets face it...our picked un-blanched food is still A LOT fresher then anything you buy in a supermarket!!

  4. I'm going to get my parsnips dug up at the weekend to freeze, I don't want to waste any as they're one of my favourite veg.

    1. I love parsnips too Jo. I have diced, blanched and frozen some for stews and such and then some left in the ground to dig up as I want to roast them!!

  5. Dear Tanya, Great advice. The veggies are already to put into the stew or soup.
    Blessings, Catherine

    1. There are many ways to prepare and store your veg, none is right or wrong...but it's always good to know your choices.

  6. thanks for this explanation...I just freeze..I read stuff about blanching before and couldn't convince myself if it was worth the time and effort...I bet the veggies do taste better if you do it right!

    1. Just freezing is not so bad. There are paople woho don't like to blanch...it just depends what suits the individual...after all freezing alone is better than not at all!!

  7. I've been wondering what blanching did. Thanks for the timely tip.

    1. Glad that I could give you a reason behind the process Ratty.


keep it clean...keep it relevant...I look forward to reading your comments!!