Matt and I are going away for two weeks to Australia to visit one of my besties Michelle. She is the coolest! Who has the guts moves across the world. This girl!
So since we are going to be away for two weeks, I would like to come home to a bare fridge and not have to throw out much food. I wanted to can this year, but have not gotten around to it yet, so I have resorted to freezing.
At the market this week I got a lot of kale, green beans, eggplant and onions that I knew we were not going to eat. I am not going to give up the opportunity for local organic produce, so I decided to freeze it. Kale is a hearty green leafy vegetable that is easier to freeze than spinach.
So first for the eggplant I prepared and froze an eggplant Parmesan dish. I cooked the eggplant Parmesan how I normally would, but I did not put the final product in the oven. I breaded and baked the eggplant, layered it with marinara sauce, ricotta cheese mixture of ricotta cheese, egg and lots of oregano (mom’s amazing recipe) and Parmesan cheese. I made the eggplant dish in a frozen pyrex that is safe for freezing and the oven.
The rest of the items, I froze raw.
For the onions, I just peeled, chopped and placed them in a freezer friendly bag.
For the kale and green beans, I blanched them before they were frozen. Blanching is when you place food in boiling water for several minutes depending on the food item. The point of blanching is to stop enzymes. Enzymes in food cause foods to ripen and grow. If the enzymes are not stopped, foods will spoil and go bad.
To prepare to blanch the kale, I separated the leaves from the steps and washed and chopped the leaves.
Once the water was boiling (you have to wait until the water is fully boiled), I added the kale leaves for 2 minutes.
Then I immediately submerged them in an ice bath.
The purpose of the ice bath is to stop the blanching process. Just like baking food, when you take it out of the oven, it does not stop cooking. When cooling in the ice bath, you may have to keep on adding ice to keep the bath cold. After the kale was cold, I transferred to a colander to get rid of as much water as possible.
After majority of the water was gone, I transferred them into a freezer friendly bag. I put them into multiple bags instead of one bag so when I want to use them, I do not have to use all the kale.
Then I did the same process for the green beans. Look how vibrant and green they are after blanching!