I'm trying to cook more often, but I"m really new at this, so I need some advice on which vegetables I can best freeze. Or maybe I just need advice on how to keep them fresh longer.
I'm only cooking for two (and usually with veggies just for one, as my husband is still 5yrs old). I want to use veggies, but I find when I buy them fresh, they go bad before I can use more than a small portion of them.
For example, I'll buy celery and make tuna fish salad for our lunches. This uses maybe one/two stalks. Last night I diced all the celery and froze it in tupperware. Will I be able to pull out a scoop of celery pieces, defrost and use the next time I want tuna salad?
Because otherwise, the rest goes bad in the fridge before I use it again. We live in Arizona, and wilting and becoming dried out is a big issue. I do store the veggies uncovered on the shelf in the fridge, I stopped putting them in the drawers because once they were out of sight, they went out of mind. Maybe I just need tips on how to store them?
Also, any hints on veggie dishes that I can make, individually portion, freeze and microwave when I want a healthy side would be great. As mentioned before, I'm a new cook so the easier the better. I love bell peppers in all colors, squashes, eggplant, greens and am open to trying most anything.
CS...many good folks here on this board wrap their celery in foil upon bringing it home from the store...I believe you remove it from the wrapper first, hoping someone will jump in if I'm wrong. It supposedly keeps the celery fresh for weeks. I don't think I've ever frozen raw celery so not sure how it freezes.
i freeze greens in season quite often. blanch and bag. ditto summer squash. winter squash lasts forever without freezing. can't say about eggplant or peppers. think they might take a hit on texture. but, you can get extra time by roasting and tossing in balsamic and refrigerating.
a couple of years ago i bought a vacuum bagger and have been very happy with the results both in terms of freezing and just storing in general.
celery is not a good candidate for freezing & reuse simply thawed, because its water content is so high that it just turns to mush. However, it can be plunked into soups & stews & casseroles for a tasty addition. If you want fresh raw celery and don't want waste, just get what you need from the salad bar at your grocery.
Most veggies will freeze best if blanched with a bit of salt first (steam or dump into boiling water only until they turn bright, then dump into ice water to stop cooking) and then freeze in preferred portion sizes.
I've had good luck with chopping celery and storing it in the fridge in airtight plastic for a few weeks. Onions too, if diced; larger cuts wilt quickly. Bell peppers, diced, freeze very nicely; I just dumped mine in a quart storage bag and crumbled them up when I needed some.
Seems like I've read that vegetables stored in the fridge should have a paper towel added to the container to keep the moisture in check, but I don't know the particulars on that. It might be worth looking into as well.