Weeknight food preservation: Put up food for winter without canning


What I miss most in the winter is greens. So I’ve started to put up a few cups of greens here and there during the week. Right now I’m focusing on pea shoots, but later in the growing season I’ll start preserving cool-weather greens like spinach, kale, and Swiss chard. Frozen greens can be thrown into stews and casseroles during the winter.

1. Wash: Wash greens thoroughly and, if necessary, trim leaves from stalks.

2. Blanch: Place small quantities of greens into boiling water for about a minute. Remove greens from boiling water and chill in ice water for one minute.

3. Drain: Drain greens in a colander. Gently press down on greens to remove any excess water.

4. Pre-freeze: Place greens on a tray or cookie sheet in a single layer. Freeze for 30 minutes.

5. Store: Transfer greens to freezer bags, remove air, and seal. Store in freezer.

For more information on food preservation, visit Five Ways to Preserve the Summer Harvest.

Image courtesy of thebittenword via a Creative Commons license.

  1. Martha Marshall

    A friend told me that she pops them in the freezer whole and unpeeled. Then when they’re thawed the skins slide right off! I haven’t tried it yet but plan to.

    I’ve been canning like a madwoman this summer. It’s fun to see all the colors and shapes in those jars.


    1. Rachel Shulman

      I’ll have to try that tomato trick and see if it works! I suspect it might work better for slicing tomatoes than sauce tomatoes…

  2. Heather

    Canning is great, but I agree – it takes a lot of time!! We just finished making a massive batch of pesto that was put in jars, but is heading for the freezer. Great idea on the tomatoes, those are up next! Thanks for the post!

    1. Rachel Shulman

      I really like these shortcuts because I can put away smaller quantities of food bit by bit during the week. Freezing makes sense when you have a pound of basil that’s starting to turn a little black on the edges or some tomatoes that you know you aren’t going to get to in time. Taking 20 minutes to put up excess food as it becomes available really adds up over the course of the summer – you’ll be thankful come wintertime that you did!

      Canning makes more sense to me when all of a sudden I have 20 pounds of extra tomatoes and I have the weekend off – then I’ll make a day of it.

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