One of the pleasures of your own garden is the tasty flavor of fresh vegetables. Some of that goodness can be preserved by freezing such vegetables as brussels sprouts, snap beans, peppers and squash.
In many gardens, surplus vegetables are on hand at this time of the year, and it may be a good idea to freeze some of them before frost comes.
To freeze brussels sprouts, select firm, compact, medium-size sprouts that are bright green, according to Dr. Robert Joseph, Ohio State University food specialist. Remove sprouts from the main stem and handle individually. Wash thoroughly.
If there is any sign of insect life or damage, let them stand in salted water for half an hour. If the sprouts are not uniform in size, sort them into two or three sizes. Scald and cool.
Scald small sprouts with steam for three minutes and large ones for five minutes. Or scald small ones in boiling water three minutes and larges ones for 4 1/2 minutes. Cool quickly in ice water and drain.
Package in moisture and vapor-proof containers. Seal, label, and freeze packages immediately. Ten pounds of sprouts will make about ten 12-ounce packages.
When freezing green or wax beans, select only tender, crisp, stringless pods with small to medium-size seeds (seeds less than half an inch long), says Joseph, Discard brusied, discolored or insect - and disease-damaged pods. Process snap beans promptly, as they wilt within a few hours after harvest and may spoil and lose their quality.
Wash thoroughly in cold water, snip off ends, and sort into two or three sizes. The smallest size may be packed as whole beans. The next size may be sliced lengthwide (French style), and the largest size snapped or cut into one-inch lengths.
Scald in water at 170 degree F, 1 1/2 minutes for young, tender French style; 2 1/2 minutes for young tender cut or whole beans; and 3 1/2 minutes for more mature cut or whole beans. Cool at once in ice water, then drain.
Package in moisture - and vapor-proof containers; seal and label the pachages and freeze immediately. A bushel of beans will make about 35 12-ounce packages.
Green peppers frozen without heating are best for use in uncooked foods. Heated peppers are easier to pack and good for use in cooking. Select firm, crisp, thick-walled peppers.
Wash, cut out stems, cut in half and remove seeds. If desired, cut into half-inch strips or rings. Heat in boiling water if desired; three minutes for halves or two minutes for slices. Cool promptly in cold water and drain.
If peppers have not been heated, pack in containers, leaving no head space. Seal and freeze. If heated, leave half an inch of head space.
To freeze hot peppers, wash and stem. Then pack into small containers, leaving no head space. Seal and freeze.
Select young summer squash with small seeds and tender rind. Wash, cut in half-inch slices and heat in boiling water for three minutes. Cool squash promptly in cold water and drain.
Pack into containers, leaving half an inch of head space, seal and freeze.
Select only fully mature richly colored winter squash or pumpkins that have a smooth consistency when cooked. Wash and cut into three-to four-inch pieces. Remove seeds and fiber.
Scald by cooking in steam, or bake in the oven until tender. Scoop squash or pumpkin from the rind or put it throughh a food press, ricer or puree strainer. Cool it by putting it in a pan and floating the pan in ice water.
Pack in moisture-proof containers, seal and label. If desired, those spices that would be used in making pies may be added to the puree before it's packaged. Freeze immediately. Ten pounds of pumpkin or squash will make five 16-ounce packages.