Example of freezer stockpile

During the summer months, it’s easy to find fresh, in-season produce around town. Roadside stands, farmer’s markets, flea markets, friends on Facebook who sell from their garden. I buy as much as I can handle and spend a few hours peeling, cutting, and packaging to save for the winter months.

I try to break down the vegetables into the form that they’ll be used – peeled if necessary, cubed, sliced, diced, etc. I also try to combine the vegetables that are commonly used together so that it will be ready for a meal. I frequently do stir-frys with some combination of vegetables, so as I do the processing, I’ll have about eight quart-sized bags open on the counter and load up the vegetables one at a time into each bag. That way, I don’t have a huge quart bag of onions and another full of squash, but I have a bag that has the combination all ready to go.

Fresh farmer's market vegetables prepared for meals

Buy them fresh, do as much prep work ahead of time and freeze to save time when you need them.

Most of the time, I leave them unseasoned. For some, I’ll add some herbs, sea salt, or a squeeze of lime/lemon if I have a particular combination that I use often. Labeling is important. You might think you could tell just by looking at a bag, but you’ll forget over time. I label and that’s extra important if you add herbs or seasoning.

freezer1

Our side-by-side fridge/freezer can hold dozens of bags of prepared vegetables on the freezer side.

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