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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Freezing Greens

I grow a lot of greens year round but this time of the year some of them produce better than others.  Ideally I would like to can a few jars but greens cook down so much there is no way I am going to run the canner for a couple of jars of greens.  I tend to freeze excess greens as I get them.  The method is quick and easy suitable for low levels of preserving greens as they come in.

swiss chard
A few days of go I picked excess Swiss chard.  We have extra this year even though we eat a lot of in season chard.  I decided rather than let the extra go to waste it was time to preserve some.  The problem is canning the greens while quite doable, there were not enough greens to can.  Well there were but unless I can run a full or at the least a half canner load in the pressure canner I prefer not to.  If I had enough of the Swiss chard to run at least 7 - 500 ml jars then I likely would have canned it.

As it stands this beautiful Swiss chard ended up being frozen.  While it was a lovely amount it just wasn't enough to can much more than one 500 ml jar, definitely not worth running the canner for!

blanched swiss chardI steamed blanched the Swiss chard for 2 minutes.  Blanching deactivates enzymes that can cause food spoilage when freezing foods.  Once the chard was blanched I placed it into a strainer for draining. As you can see like most greens a large amount of greens reduces down to a small amount of greens for preserving.

Greens in general tend to hold a bit of water even with just a light steam blanching.  Once the greens are cooled I like to squeeze out a bit of any remaining liquid to give a bit drier frozen product.  If you are canning them you would definitely want to squeeze out the extra liquid. 

packaged swiss chard for freezer
I packaged the drained, squeezed Swiss chard into a 500 ml (2 c) screw top, Ziploc® container.  I like these containers for the freezer specifically for the air tight closing mechanism.  They keep glass out of my freezers while performing much like mason jars.

It doesn't look like a lot of greens that I put up today but it is enough greens for at least one meal.  It eliminates the problem of extra greens going to waste.  Essentially this is small batch freezing.  By freezing foods from the garden as you harvest them rather than waiting  for enough produce to do a larger you prevent wastage from the garden for smaller yielding crops.  Essentially preserve as you go.

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