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Freezing With or Without Blanching or Cooking?

Posted by shekanahh (My Page) on
Wed, Aug 5, 09 at 15:53

I have been searching on the Harvest forum, and other canning, freezing and preserving forums, including the US Gov's. I can't seem to get a definitive answer from any of them. Some say blanch first, some say no, just clean and toss in the freezer, and then again, some say cook completely and then freeze! I would like to hear some of the ways our friends here process their garden produce. Right now, for me, it's green beans and summer squash. I have NEVER liked the strange rubbery taste of frozen green beans that are usually sold in stores.

PS: Soon it will be okra to freeze.

Thanks for any tips :)

Barbara


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Freezing With or Without Blanching or Cooking?

I do okra the easy way. I wash it, let it dry, and put it in the freezer. I take it out of the freezer and slice while still just slightly frozen. I use mine mostly for a dish that includes okra, tomatoes, onion, a little garlic and a little chili powder and cumin. Usually I add a little cooked, crumbled bacon at the end.

I am sure Dawn will answer and explain how she cuts and breads her. I don't usually have enough for this so I buy a breaded one at the supermarket. LOL As you can see, I am not half the gardener that Dawn is. I am promising myself to do better next year.


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RE: Freezing With or Without Blanching or Cooking?

Barbara,

Generally, I blanch just about everything, except onions and peppers.

Blanching is important because it deactivates enzymes in fresh produce that continue the ripening process even after the food is put into the freezer. So, to me, putting veggies in the freezer without blanching first is the same as picking food over-ripe and then freezing it.

You can blanch most veggies in boiling water at the rate of 1 gallon of water per 1 lb. of veggies. With most, you plunge them into a bowl or pot of ice water to chill them fast and stop the blanching process. Then you drain them well, seal them into a container and put the in the freezer. It is better to steam blanch some veggies, like shredded zucchini and some people prefer to dry-blanch their okra on a cookie sheet in the oven if they are going to eventually fry it when they use it.

The amount of time required for blanching varies from veggie to veggie, so I've linked the National Center for Home Preservation's website, which is my food preservation bible. I generally try to abide by its recommendations. (I don't blanch sliced or chopped onions though, or sweet peppers.)

If you want to bread the okra first, you can water blanch it, dry it, slice it, dredge it in corn meal or a corn meal/flour mixture--your preference and then freeze it just enough to hold its shape on a cookie sheet in the freezer. Once it is firm, you can remove it from the cookie sheet and put it into a container for the freezer.

Now, a funny blanching story. When I was a kid in the 1960s and 1970s, I always thought my grandmother made the best green beans in the world. They were, of course, always the beans my grandparents raised in their garden and she cooked them up with either lard or bacon fat and lots of salt and pepper. They were so tasty and had a very soft, almost mushy, texture that I adored. They were completely different from the canned green beans my mom fed us. Of course, my grandmother passed away long before I had a large enough garden to freeze green beans, so I never thought to ask her how she froze them. After I began growing a large garden and raising (and freezing) green beans, I wondered why I couldn't get mine the same texture as hers. So, finally, I asked my uncle (who is himself a very accomplished gardener and food preserver) what I was doing wrong because I could get the flavor of Mamaw's green beans but not the texture. He had me describe my freezing process, and as soon as I said I blanched them, he stopped me and said that she never blanched them and that's why they had that mushy texture! So, one of these days I need to freeze some without blanching and see if I get the mushy texture I remember so well from so many years ago.

And, in the way that one story leads to another....now you have to endure a story about my uncle. About 25 years ago, my uncle, his son-in-laws, my brother and my husband built my aunt and uncle's retirement home--a gorgeous log cabin kit home--at a lake in east Texas. We'd go there for Thanksgiving or Christmas every so often as our children were growing up. At first he had 2 lots, then 3, then 4. What was he doing on those lots? Raising an ever-increasing in size garden. Every time we went there, it seemed like he'd bought a new lake lot and started another new garden plot. Eventually, he built a metal barn. Inside that barn? A special rack for storing potatoes and sweet potatoes and SEVERAL deep freezes. I remember he had one deep freeze just for blueberries and blackberries! So, when I keep enlarging my garden, and keep buying another freezer every couple of years to hold the increasingly large harvests.....I am just carrying on a family tradition. By the way, back then I thought he was getting a bit carried away with all the gardening/food preserving. Ha! I am just like him.

Carol, I bread okra up front while I am doing a whole lot at one time because I think it is easier than breading smaller batches as I remove them from the freezer and cook them. Everyone in my family prefers it breaded instead of stewed, so I just bread all I freeze.

You are a very good gardener so give yourself some credit. You stay a lot busier with other stuff--like the house--than I do.

Dawn

Here is a link that might be useful: National Center for Home Preservation


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RE: Freezing With or Without Blanching or Cooking?

Carol
That's just the kind of info I'm looking for! And your recipe sounds absolutely delish. I love any kind of okra and tomato combo, but this one sounds especially good!

And I want to tell you I really appreciated that story you told on the Cost of Growing thread. I've thought about it many times and passed it on to my grown sons for them to think about. When we are able to grow our own food, process it and store it, it's like money in the bank, plus sustainable living and you never know what may happen in the future the way things are shaping up and there could conceivably be food shortages, and as we've seen the last couple of years, food prices increasing exponentially. You are a very wise lady :)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dawn
I remember you saying something about your granny's green beans. My parents and grandparents were from the "old school" as well, and they all cooked their green beans practically to pieces with some bacon or a small piece of ham and a little onion added, and I've always done the same. Only in years past, in years when I gardened, I always grew lots and lots of green beans, but I've always canned them rather than freezing. So, with my bumper crops of green beans coming on now, I'm going to experiment with your granny's method, and perhaps even cook some practically to pieces and then freeze them and see how they come out. It's kind of like if they don't taste the way I grew up with, I'd just as soon not bother growing them.
As for the okra, I like most of mine breaded and fried, even though I like to have some unbreaded for cajun dishes, gumbo and the like. Soooo glad that things are really coming on and producing in the garden. Looks like a lot of us are going to be pretty busy this fall.
I really envy your uncle for all that storage space. That's one thing I'm going to be short on and I don't have a solution worked out for it. Surely not a barn, lol!
Tommorrows my day for canning Bread and Butter Pickles. There was a good recipe on the link you provided.

Thanks so much for the great info as usual!

Barbara
~~~~~~~~~~~~


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RE: Freezing With or Without Blanching or Cooking?

I just spent about 30 minutes writing a message and it disappeared before I posted.

Anyway, Barbara, you are very welcome. Carol


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RE: Freezing With or Without Blanching or Cooking?

I have had friends tell me not to blanche my sweet corn, not even to shuck it, just pack it and put it in the freezer so last year I did an experiment, put in six pks and opened one every 2 months for a year. What I leaned is that unblanched corn is only good for about four months. After that it tastes like cardboard. So I shuck and blanch mine thank you and then cut a lot of it off the cob because I freeze a lot of corn. Okra I also blanch let cool and bread and then freeze it the way the processing plant does. Spread out on a cookie sheet. As soon as frozen bagged into quart bags. Young tender green beans are blanched and frozen whole because I'm too lazy to snap and then sauteed oriental style in a nonstick skillet with butter and chopped garlic and just a touch of red pepper flake. Beans that get a little older are snapped or shelled and blanched and then frozen. These are stewed on thawing in a little water.


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RE: Freezing With or Without Blanching or Cooking?

Barbara,

Hope pickle-making day is going well.

One of the things we did right when we built the barn-style garage in 2004 was that we built it much larger than we really needed it to be. It is 60' long and 20' deep. The garage part has a parking area for 3 vehicles, and the barn part has tons of space, including a storage loft, for all the tools and equipment, mowers, tillers, the deep freeze, two extra refrigerators, etc. My old stove is out there so I can preserve food on it if I want, since you aren't supposed to use a pressure canner on a ceramic top stove. I love this building. It really is a multi-purpose building and we use it for so many different things.

Carol, I hate it when that happens. It is so frustrating.

Dorothy, When I read the first few words of your post, I thought to myself "I am going to be mad if I find out I've been spending all this time blanching corn all these years and I really didn't have to!" So, when I got to the part where you said it only lasted 4 months, I felt better. LOL

I'm going to file this info away in my memory, though, so if I get tired of 'putting up' corn one day, I'll know that I can put 'the rest of the corn' in the freezer unblanched, as long as we eat it within 4 months.

Dawn


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RE: Freezing With or Without Blanching or Cooking?

Ladies,

I enjoy reading the post, It brought back some wonderful childhood memories. We never had a freezer, or a pressure cooker when I was at home, I even remember the first electric refrigerator. For years we hung that square sign on the screen door with the size of ice block we wanted up so the Ice Man would know what size of block to bring in and put in our ice box.

The story about the green beens reminded me about mom's green beens. They taste a little sour. When I think back I figure it must have been because we had no pressure cooker and mom put vinegar in them to raise the acid content so she could hot bath them. I was grown before I knew that green beens were not supposed to taste a lot like pickles.

I also thought about the cabbage. My grandmother and mother cooked cabbage untill it turned pink, and stunk to high heaven. That was the way they were taught and did not know any better. After I left home mom got a job with the nutrition program and was sent to the rural homes to show
low income people more nutritious ways to use commodities, of course she had to learn before she could teach anyone else. It sure was good to learn that cabbage taste good and you did not have to smell it a block away.

Mom has not cooked anything in a long time and there is not much left of her memory, but she still talk about the cabbage.

Thanks again ladies for the momories. Larry


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RE: Freezing With or Without Blanching or Cooking?

I do blanch corn before I freeze it. I don't grow corn but a friend of my husband grows a big field of Peaches and Cream. His grandchildren had a stand and sold it, but there was a lot left in the field. My DH went over twice and picked a large bag. We ate it fresh several times and froze the other. I soon ran out of freezer space. I have one freezer and two refrigerators and I don't have room for another freezer.


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RE: Freezing With or Without Blanching or Cooking?

Ladies, and Larry too..
I've really been enjoying these antecdotal stories as well as the tid bits on processing and storage.

Dawn, I would love to have a set up like your garage barn. However, without a DH, I am at a place where I don't have the help to accomplish such a feat. I'll have to figure out some pretty creative ways to store all the stuff I'm growing. Most of it is going to have to be canned rather than frozen. I know freezing is easier, but then I think about the electricity it's going to take to store that food for just one person. I do have two fridges with freezers so I'm going to try to limit my frozen stuff to those two.

And Carol, I'm sorry we missed that post you lost. I would have loved to have seen it, and learned from it. Maybe next time you do a lengthy post like that you could start it on a word doc, or an email and then paste it onto the garden forum. We need to know this stuff!!!!!! Seriously! Some of the newbies, not just on GW, but out in the cold cruel world, have never seen need, as in some of the third world countries. Maybe they assume things will go on as they always have but that's just not apt to be the case.
Anyways, your comments are very much appreciated. Seems like people on this forum are like neighbors, and each has wonderful experiences to share and wisdom to pass on to others, as well as the kindness to do it.

Barbara


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RE: Freezing With or Without Blanching or Cooking?

I love reading your Oklahoma Forum! You all seem like 'home folks' to me.

Okra is the only thing I don't blanch. I wash and dry it; cut in 1 inch long pieces, roll in cornmeal, flash freeze on cookie sheet. Put in zip lock bags. I mostly fry mine in cornmeal just like mom did. I think I will try Carol's recipe soon. I have about a 15 foot row and it is producing well.

I just made a batch of Bread and Butter pickles. I haven't done them in years, but have cucs coming out my ears this year. I had almost a pint left from canning 8 pints so just put it in the fridge. I have finished the entire jar today! I do love them.

Mom cooked her green beans almost all day until they got very dark, with bacon grease, of course! I must say they were delicious. I could make a meal out of a bowl of them with a good, sweet onion.

I don't really like a tomato frozen in any way shape or form. I do blanch all green beans and freeze them. Same for broccoli and spinach. I cooked the cabbage without salt or seasoning and froze. Never done that before, but my Aunt told me she does (84 years old). Kind of worried because she is the one who told me she just freezes her tomatoes!

I dice and slice and freeze peppers and onions.


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RE: Freezing With or Without Blanching or Cooking?

I have to be careful with blanching. Some of the information that I read says to blanch it too long to suit me. By the time it is blanched to that point, it is cooked enough for me. I like most things just "fork tender" and not cooked to death. Of course, I like it fresh best of all and a lot of things raw better than cooked. We just steam a lot of veggies, or stir fry them until they are barely cooked. Tonight I took whole small yellow patty pan type squash and put them on the grill where I was cooking steak. Once they got grill marks and a nice smokey taste, I removed them and put them in the microwave for one minute. Just right for me. My DH said he had trouble picking the corn out of the field the other day because he wanted to stop right there and eat it. I think they sat in the office and ate it raw that afternoon.

Thanks Barbara, maybe I won't worry so much when I jump on my soapbox in the future. LOL


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RE: Freezing With or Without Blanching or Cooking?

Barbara,

I gave an up-right freezer to my neighbor about a year ago. It is very rough looking but he says it still works good. He also said he would like to find a home for it and if I knew of one he would give it away. He is in his late 70's and has no need for it. If you live in the Ft.Smith, Talihina or Gentry area I will haul it to you (if he still wants to get rid of it).

I go to the Indian Hospital in Talahina every 3 mo's. I go to Gentry (northwest Ak.) a few times a year, DW has kids there.

The freezer looks very, very rough. I paid $35.00 for it a few years ago and used it for 3 or 4 years with no problems other than needing to defrost about every year.

Larry


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RE: Freezing With or Without Blanching or Cooking?

Larry, my great-grandfather is buried in Gentry. We were there on a genealogy trip a few years ago, and, even never having been there before, I went straight to his grave, as if he was "helping" me to find him. Aaron Filmore Peabody wrote poems, mostly about local happenings, and they were published in the Gentry newspaper during the 1930's. I have a collection of about 15 or 20 of his poems. My favorite is "Only a Dollar Down":

A well-dressed guy with a pleasant way,
Drove up to my front door;
For a dollar down he sold me a rug
To cover the parlor floor.

He sold me a nifty bedroom set,
And my daughter a fancy gown;
And all the cash I had to get
Was only a dollar down.

The old cook stove wont bake of late,
My wife remarked with a frown;
He sold us a range right up-to-date,
For only a dollar down.

An instrument of wide renown,
He gave us to understand;
For five a month and a dollar down,
He sold us an upright grand.

The biggest bargains we were shown,
You bet we fell for that;
And so we bought for a dollar down,
A kitchen cabinet.

We all enjoy a hearty laugh,
And the silly jokes of a clown;
He sold us a dandy phonograph,
For only a dollar down.

You ask me how I got in dutch;
Why, Im hunting a job in town.
Say, boy! I was dollin up too much
On only a dollar down!

But anyway, back to the topic at hand.

There are many things I don't blanch: okra, tomatoes, green beans, onions, summer squash & zucchini. It's funny how everyone's tastes are different. We're still eating okra and zucchini out of the freezer from prior summers and they're still good.

I only freeze tomatoes till fall, and no, they're not good for anything but cooking with or canning after having been frozen. When we stop air-conditioning the house then I get the tomatoes out, thaw them, slip off their skins (I core them before freezing), pack them hot into quart jars and water bath them like I would if they had come straight out of the garden. We don't taste any difference.

Last fall, I had so many bags of green beans and yard-long beans in the freezer that I decided to can them to make room in the freezer. That didn't turn out well. I thought at the time it was because I used the new canning guidelines and so many people are saying that these new guidelines make you cook the life out of things. But in retrospect, maybe it had more to do with the fact that they had been frozen. They're mushy and I don't like the flavor -- ESPECIALLY the yard long beans. Now, yard long beans are great cooked just till heated through, IMHO. But the freezing and/or the long cooking time made them a little bitter. So if I freeze beans again, I'll just use them out of the freezer till they're gone.

I also freeze bell peppers without blanching -- IF they're fully ripe and have changed color from green to whatever color they're supposed to be. If bell peppers are still green and are frozen without blanching, they are bitter.

Okra, I just wash, cut up and spread on a cookie sheet and then dump them all in a zip-lock bag. I only make them two ways: One's in a soup that has plenty of tomato in it as I find the acid of the tomato cuts the slime, and the other way is the old Oklahoma favorite: fried in corn meal.

When I process zucchini or summer squash, I cut them in shoestrings or match sticks and put them in zip-lock bags. These I use in soups, in spaghetti (heated up in the sauce), in zucchini bread, or mixed with crackers and fried. I do not discard the liquid that separates from the zucchini when it thaws. I add it to the recipe and cut back on some other liquid called for. If the liquid is milk, I use dry milk powder instead. I think next time I grow zucchini, I will use my dehydrator and make dried zucchini chips to snack on.

I haven't had any corn to freeze since my kids were young (my youngest turns 40 in Sept) and we lived in northern Indiana where I had access to U-Pick farms. At that time, I felt like blanching corn to store in the freezer in "corn on the cob" form made the corn taste like the cob. So we would shuck and clean the corn, put it all in a bag and freeze it. I only had the one freezer and lots of other things in it, so I never had the room to freeze a lot of corn. Certainly not enough to last a family of four for four months, so I can't speak to that. Most of the corn I put up, I did steam blanch in a spaghetti cooker and then cut the corn off the cob, then froze the corn in freezer containers.

I feel like blanching makes things taste watery. So if I freeze any green peppers while they are still green, I will roast them for a little while in my biggest iron skillet. Like Carol, I do prefer raw, steamed or stir-fried, in that order.

I do love canned green beans. But so far I just haven't gotten enough for a canner load in one or two pickings. Plus it heats up the house right when the air-conditioner is already working hard to keep us comfortable. How I wish I had a "canning kitchen" that could be closed off from the rest of the house. I was lurking on the Harvest forum for awhile a couple of years ago and this one woman said she just worked in her hot kitchen till she couldn't stand it any more and then she'd go out the back door and jump into the wading pool! LOL The mental picture comes up every time I wish for a canning kitchen.

My childhood was not a very happy one, but I do have some memories that make me smile. And one is that when we were sick with that 24-hour throw-uppy virus, the first thing Mom would offer us would be what we called "Green Bean Juice" -- some of the liquid from a jar of home-canned green beans, heated and salted, with a slice of bread broken into it. If we thought we felt ALL better, we could have butter on the bread.

Larry, I was in Jamesport MO during a Mennonite festival and we ate at their local restaurant. Oh, my, those Mennonite women do know how to cook! Anyway, they made sweet and sour green beans with onion that was TO DIE FOR. I had never had it that way.

Barbara and Gldno (are you Glenda? Sorry I don't have your name in my memory), one of the things I just love about this forum is that we have become friends, and we welcome everyone. We are not snobbish, we respect everyone's opinion or try to bully people into doing things "our way", we don't fight, and we don't have cliques here or ignore people. True Oklahoma hospitality. I post on a couple of other forums from time to time and none of them are quite as congenial as this one. I have lurked on a few where there is a lot of fighting, confrontation and insulting going on. I won't post there. I have been to the Ozark Region GW and there seem to be nice people there.


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Ooooops

That last paragraph should say, "and DON'T try to bully people into..." Sorry, didn't proofread very well, did I?


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RE: Freezing With or Without Blanching or Cooking?

Ilene, Loved your grandfather's poem. My great Uncle John Davis who was Judge Parker's one-armed court reporter in Ft Smith wrote one that I have a copy of about his childhood home in Horse Hollow over by Blackburn Ark.

Way down in Arkansas where I spent my childhood,
Happy was I when roaming in the wildwood
Down there among the lovely hills
Sweet memories of my childhood linger still
Down there where the Pawpaw trees grew tall
Where the coons and possums got fat in the fall
Happy was I when helping Daddy shear the sheep
At night the katydids would sing me to sleep.
My mother carded the wool and spun the yarn
and made our clothes that kept us warm
Hogs ran outside and got fat on acorns
filling the smokehouse with good old bacon.
Down in the fields where the wheat was falling
You could hear the bobwhites a calling...

Such things are to be treasured.


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Cobby tasting frozen corn

GW in its wisdom rejected this message unless I changed the subject line. Sooo.

In response to Ilene's observation that blanched corn frozen on the cob tasted like the cob, it could be that the blanching time wasn't long enough to heat the cob through. If it isn't the enzymes in the cob keep working and alter the corn's flavor. For cutting off the cob only the kernals need to heat thoroughtly so a shorter time can be used.

I grow and freeze enough corn to last a full year so I am careful how I do it.


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RE: Freezing With or Without Blanching or Cooking?

Wow, Dorothy! Thanks for sharing that. Your Great Uncle and my Great Grandpa must've thought along the same lines! Here's one I have:

Down in Arkansas
__________

The mistletoe hangs from the tree--
In Arkansas
And plenty of holly you will see--
In Arkansas;
In this land of Paradise
The people will always treat you nice--
The state you came from cuts no ice--
In Arkansas.

In ease and wealth the natives roll--
In Arkansas;
The tourist here will find his goal--
In Arkansas.
The forests in wild game abound,
And fishing good the whole year round,
The grandest scenery can be found--
In Arkansas.

The sweet potato grows on the vine--
In Arkansas
And great big possums fat and fine--
In Arkansas.
The rainbow chaser here will find
The spot just suited to his mind,
Treasure galore of every kind--
In Arkansas.

The turkeys run all roasted here--
In Arkansas.
While cranberry sauce drips from each ear--
In Arkansas;
With strawberries and Jersey cream
To tickle your palate it would seem
Life is one long and happy scream--
In Arkansas.

The honey bee puts by his store--
In Arkansas
The gums are filled from roof to floor--
In Arkansas;
With eggs and bacon and plenty of ham
Hot biscuits smothered in butter and jam,
They crown their feasts with fat spring lamb--
In Arkansas.

The latch-string hangs outside the door--
In Arkansas
And all are welcome to our store--
In Arkansas.
If you live in a less-favored state
Let these lines soak into your pate
Get in the game while not too late--
In Arkansas. A. F. PEABODY.

December 22, 1922
The Journal Advance and Gentry Index
Gentry, AR.


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RE: Freezing With or Without Blanching or Cooking?

Larry
I hope you see this.....it's getting to be quite a long thread. I just wanted to tell you thanks for your very kind offer of the freezer, but I'm afraid the great distance between thee and me would make the trip to get it impracticle. It was very sweet of you to offer, but I'll just bet there's someone over there in your neck of the woods that would be needing just such a freezer and be tickled to get it. You might try Craig's list in your area.

Thanks again to all for all the wonderful tips and suggestions. It's going to make my job of "putting by" my harvest a whole lot easier.

Barbara


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RE: Freezing With or Without Blanching or Cooking?

Ilene, wonderful. Our ancestors were quite talented, weren't they?


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RE: Freezing With or Without Blanching or Cooking?

Barbara,

You are very welcome, this is the type of freezer you would want to put on the back porch or in the gararge anyway. It needs a coat of paint. I had it in my house but I was single then and did not care if anyone like the looks of it. I also had my canning operation out side on a camping stove and a fish/turkey frier. I thought it was great, althought it took a lot of B.T.U. sometimes. I did not care if I had to crank the flame to a foot tall ( I sure hope that was not what caused global warming). If it was, every thing should be ok now. After getting married my wife is trying to put a little class in me. I expect it will be, very, very, little.

Larry


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RE: Freezing With or Without Blanching or Cooking?

Can I freeze whole okra? Thats basicly how I eat it.I will season it and steam it, you realy have to love okra to eat it this way,I guess I do.


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RE: Freezing With or Without Blanching or Cooking?

I'm going to try freezing without blanching...we'll see..just did breaded fresh green beans, deep fried....oh are they good with Ranch dressing!!


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Freezing With or Without Blanching or Cooking?

I am learning so much from you all. I did not blanch my green beans because I only have about 4 pounds, and they are going to be for our Thanksgiving dinner, so I don't have to worry about long storage.

The okra is my current project. I just have a few pounds, and wanted to use them fried with corn meal, (of course). I am going to try the cut, cover in cornmeal, and freeze. I guess we can talk about our "successes" and "not" this winter.

Thank you all, you have really encouraged this new gardener and I am loving it.

Stephanie


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RE: Freezing With or Without Blanching or Cooking?

Stephanie, Well, to me the time between now and Thanksgiving would be considered long-storage. Since you didn't blanch the green beans, you might want to try cooking a small portion of them as a test run about a week before Thanksgiving so you can see if they'll have the taste and texture you want. That way, if they are too mushy or whatever, you'll know not to use them for Thanksgiving.

I have become extremely spoiled and am so used to raising and preserving our own food that I hate it when I have to buy any sort of produce at all at the store.

This week's food-preservation focus at our house has been on hot peppers, sweet peppers, okra and 5 or 6 kinds of southern peas.

After that, about the only food I'll need to put up in fall will be green beans and winter squash. Well, winter squash isn't hard to preserve, I just pile them up in the tornado shelter or garage and they last for many months. That is my favorite kind of produce--produce that preserves itself with no help from me.

I spend far too much time on food preservation in the summer. This week I've spent 4-6 hours per day on food preservation. It really cuts into my gardening time. However, it is worth it when I spend the next few months doing most of my "grocery shopping" by merely going to a freezer, the pantry or the tornado shelter to get the produce I need for a meal.

Dawn


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RE: Freezing With or Without Blanching or Cooking?

Re: Okra. This year we had a bumper crop and even after giving it away at work still a surplus. My coworker, who used to garden a lot, said not to blanch okra, but the web said to blanch it.

Being a "by the book" kind of guy (well sometimes) I blanched it, for 3 minutes just like all the university web pages said. The okra turned into a slimy practically cooked mess.

I have sense decided to listen to my coworker. She said just cut it up, roll it in cornmeal and freeze it in ziplocs. I did. I did a lot of it :) And soon I will cook some and see!


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RE: Freezing With or Without Blanching or Cooking?

I have taken to roasting my okra instead of blanching it. I roast it whole on the grill outside, watching carefully, turning to get both sides, then cutting and coating in seasoned cornmeal and flour. I freeze it spread out on a cookie sheet and when frozen scrape it loose and bag it.


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RE: Freezing With or Without Blanching or Cooking?

I put my okra up in a vinegar salt brine. Then rinse it before I use it in the winter. You can still taste a little of the vinegar but I like it much better than the texture of frozen. About the only way I cook it in the winter is with tomatoes or with cornmeal in the skillet. I think you taste the vinegar more if you batter and deep fry for some reason. If anyone is interested I will look up the recipe and post. I should remember it by heart but I either dont have heart or memory left. Not sure which. Sheila


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RE: Freezing With or Without Blanching or Cooking?

Of all the trips to Gardenweb, this has been my favorite trip, because this one little page "Freezing With or Without Blanching or Cooking?" didn't just instruct, but it inspired too. Thanks to all of you for a trip down memory lane, my proverbial hat, goes off to you all.


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RE: Freezing With or Without Blanching or Cooking?

Ilene_in_neok, you were so very correct when you said "one of the things I just love about this forum is that we have become friends, and we welcome everyone. We are not snobbish, we respect everyone's opinion or don't try to bully people into doing things "our way", we don't fight, and we don't have cliques here or ignore people. True Oklahoma hospitality." (I put in your correction) This old Texas gal feels more at home on this site and The Garden Party than anywhere else. Seems to me as though there are at least 3 of us Texans that post here. Just love all you people on this forum.

Mary


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