You've Been Freezing Raw Vegetables Wrong This Whole Time

If you have ever bought a ton of fresh, raw vegetables and realized many of them might go bad before you can cook and eat them, then freezing sounds like a pretty logical way to go. It's also easy to think that lining them up in a single layer on a sheet pan and flash freezing them before storing them in a resealable, freezer-friendly plastic bag or container is the proper way to freeze your veggies. As it turns out, though, this is actually the wrong way to do it (via Taste of Home).

While we would love for everything to be easy, freezing raw veggies does call for a little extra leg work. However, the added labor will ensure your produce will keep as fresh as possible. So, to properly store fresh vegetables, you need to blanch them first. That means you should quickly cook the veggies in boiling water until they are cooked just a bit, but they're still crisp and bright in color — usually one to five minutes depending on the vegetable. After they're cooked, soak the veggies in ice water to shock them and stop the cooking process. Next, simply drain the water away, pat them dry, and store in freezer bags in the freezer (via The Spruce Eats).

Why you should freeze raw vegetables this way instead

If you're wondering why this seemingly simple step is so important, there's a good reason behind it. Blanching most vegetables before freezing them helps the produce to keep its bright, vibrant color as well as retain the good nutrients it packs. The way blanching achieves this is by stopping certain enzymes from working. These enzymes are what makes vegetables spoil. When vegetables are not blanched before being frozen, they often lose some color and can turn dull, and it can sometimes change the texture as well (via The Kitchn).

Though blanching is certainly a good idea before freezing many different vegetables, it isn't a blanket rule for all. For example, leafy greens like kale, spinach, and chard don't have to be blanched. You also wouldn't want to blanch veggies like potatoes, squash, or tomatoes.

The vegetables you really should blanch before freezing include Brussels sprouts, carrots, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, beans, and peas. With a little extra time to care for these veggies before freezing them, you can store and enjoy fresh-tasting produce all year long.