5

We do eat a lot of capsicums and courgettes, but during the winter, the prices for those tend to shoot through the roof. So we typically buy them in summer while they're cheap and then chop them up and freeze them. However, after thawing, they end up extremely soft due to the high water content turning to ice and destroying the cells during freezing.

However, I have noted that if I buy pre-frozen veggies in the supermarket they end up a lot less soft than my own. I suspect that's got to do with shock-freezing them. Is there a practical way of achieving something similar at home?

  • Something in the back of my head tells me that freezing quickly will reduce the size of the ice crystals and therefore how much damage they cause, reducing the problem. (If I can find a reference, I'll answer instead of comment) – James Webster Oct 27 '15 at 8:29
  • Well it seems this is the case, but I don't expect you have any liquid nitrogen to hand. :D – James Webster Oct 27 '15 at 8:30
  • Did you ever get a good answer? If so, please mark it as accepted. – Daniel Nov 15 '15 at 3:13
2

From my personal experience, if you boil the vegetables when they are still frozen, they turn out to be good and not soggy. Even the store bought frozen vegetables go soft after thawing them. I think the trick here is to cook them frozen instead of thawing it first, and not to over-cook it.

2

Grocery store frozen vegetables thaw better because they're flash frozen with a process that creates smaller ice crystals that cause less damage. Since there's no practical way to reproduce this in house, you have two options:

  1. Accept the veggies as-is and use them in ways in which the texture won't be a liability. Soups, sauces, and rice dishes come to mind.
  2. Can the veggies, instead. This is more work, but you'll end up with a better end result and a longer shelf life.
1

I've never tried this with veggies, but I do it all the time with fish that I catch. Put the food in a water tight container, e.g. zip lock bag, and fill the remaining space with ice, water, and salt. The ice helps it freeze faster and the salt will draw some water out of the food. Both help prevent the cellular structure from breaking down.

1

I'm not speaking from personal experience here, but I have heard that if you put a bag of dry ice next to them in the freezer they will come out no problem. I assume that it's the flash freezing that makes that work. This is the same trick, I believe, that game hunters use to keep venison.

  • Yeah, I've been looking into dry ice - it's not that expensive over here - about $7/kg, unfortunately the minimum order quantity is 20kg. – ChrisWue Nov 2 '15 at 18:57
  • Where on earth are you where you have to order 50lb of dry ice minimum??? – Daniel Nov 2 '15 at 22:31
  • Well, it was just one supplier in NZ I quickly found via Google and haven't spent a lot of time on it. So it's possible there are alternatives. But dry ice is a rarer private requirement so most are probably commercially oriented – ChrisWue Nov 2 '15 at 23:21
  • Ah, New Zealand. OK, well you can always try Amazon... – Daniel Nov 3 '15 at 4:02

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