Whether you get your produce from your own back yard or from the local Farmers Market, freezing can be a great way for you to enjoy high quality produce all year round. But, remember, for high quality frozen foods; start with high quality fresh food. Freezing will retain quality, but cannot improve it. That is why spending a little time freezing in the summer can give you the quality you want come winter.
As with any food preparation, work under sanitary conditions. Have all necessary equipment and packaging materials ready before you begin to work with the food.
Choose packaging materials that will prevent air contact with the food and moisture loss from it. For semi-fluid foods, use rigid plastic or wide-mouth glass containers you can close tightly. For more solid foods, you can use freezer bags, heat-sealable bags, coated freezer paper or heavy-duty aluminum foil. You can reuse plastic containers originally used for frozen foods if you can clean them thoroughly. However, not all plastic containers or plastic bags are made for freezing. Do not reuse paper or plastic cartons that originally held milk, cottage cheese or similar products.
Blanch or steam all vegetables and cool them quickly in ice water before freezing. This step inactivates enzymes that will damage flavor, nutrients and texture during freezer storage.
You can freeze fruits with or without sugar. Those you freeze with some sugar however, will have better texture and color. Use an antioxidant like ascorbic acid or citric acid to keep light-colored fruits like apples, peaches, or red cherries from discoloring.
Freeze foods as quickly as possible. This helps form tiny ice crystals that will not damage the food as much when it is thawed.
Be sure to keep the freezer at 0 degrees F or lower to protect food quality.
Use all products within a reasonable time. Keep an inventory of food in the freezer to help you determine this. As long as food is kept solidly frozen, it will not become unsafe to eat. But, it will lose quality during extended storage--nutrients, flavors and appearance will decline.