5 Tips for Keeping Vegetables Fresh

You’re frozen now, vegetables, but you’ll be warm and ready to eat by dinnertime.
You’re frozen now, vegetables, but you’ll be warm and ready to eat by dinnertime.
© iStockphoto.com/DGM007

The field of cryonics is concerned with freezing humans in the hopes that one day, all ailments will be curable. While it's currently not possible for people, the principle can be applied to vegetables. By freezing fresh vegetables, you can save them for later without sacrificing any of the nutrients, texture or taste.

You can't just throw a bunch of vegetables in the freezer, though. First you must blanch them, which is key to retaining the nutrients and flavor. To blanch vegetables, boil a gallon (3.8 liters) of water per pound (454 grams) of vegetable [source: Magee]. Using a wire basket or cheesecloth, submerge the vegetables into the hot water for one to two minutes. Then, immediately put the vegetables in ice water for a minute before draining, drying and arranging the vegetables in a single layer on a tray. Put the tray in the freezer; once the vegetables are frozen, you can wrap them in plastic or put them in an airtight container. When you're ready to use them, you'll only need to cook them for about half as long as you would have otherwise. Vegetables that do particularly well in the freezer include asparagus, broccoli, peppers, spinach, sweet corn and squash, while vegetables that contain a lot of water, like cucumbers and lettuce, will do poorly in the extreme cold.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles


  • Bender, Michele. "Avoid Premature Spoiling of Fruits and Vegetables." Real Simple. (Oct. 20, 2009)http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/avoid-premature-spoiling-fruits-vegetables-10000000681591/index.html#
  • Bittman, Mark. "Freeze That Thought." New York Times. May 6, 2009. (Oct. 20, 2009)http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/06/dining/06mini.html
  • Breakstone, Stephanie. "Keep Produce Fresh Longer." Prevention. July 2009.
  • Cavagnaro, David. "How to Store Fresh Vegetables." Mother Earth News. December/January 2005.
  • Erdosh, George. "How to win the battle to keep your food fresh." Christian Science Monitor. Nov. 7, 2007.
  • Levitt, Shelley. "Spoiled Rotten." Vegetarian Times. April 2006.
  • Magee, Elaine. "Home Freezing and Food Preservation Ideas: Fruits and Veggies." WebMD. (Oct. 20, 2009)http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/home-freezing-and-food-preservation-ideas-fruits-and-veggies
  • Martin, Andrew. "One Country's Table Scraps, Another Country's Meal." New York Times. May 18, 2008. (Oct. 20, 2009)http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/18/weekinreview/18martin.html
  • McGee, Harold. "Harold McGee on Food Freshness, Emulsions, Cloudy Ice and more." New York Times. Aug. 11, 2008. (Oct. 20, 2009)http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/08/11/harold-mcgee-on-food-freshness-emulsions-cloudy-ice-and-more/
  • McKeough, Tim. "Avoiding Frozen Lettuce." New York Times. March 19, 2009. (Oct. 20, 2009)http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/19/garden/19fixx.html
  • Pleasant, Barbara. "Easy Ways to Preserve Fresh Food." Mother Earth News. July 2009.
  • Sullivan, Dan. "Freeze with Ease." Organic Gardening. September/October 2003.


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