Freezing Fresh Vegetables in August

Adair Hoover
Home & Garden Information Center

Freezing is one of the most common forms of food preservation and with good reason. It’s fast, relatively easy and cost effective. In South Carolina there are a variety of vegetables ready for harvest in August. If you are lucky enough to have extra produce, the following vegetables are well suited for freezing:

Beans (snap, Italian, variety)
Beets
Butter beans
Mixed leafy greens (Collard, Kale, Mustard, Turnips)
Okra
Peas
Peppers
Yellow squash
Sweet corn (nearing the end of harvest but still available)
Sweet potatoes

Incorporating the following steps will help ensure that you produce a high quality frozen product:

  • Select firm, ripe produce - Vegetables harvested in the morning will result in the best quality. Additionally, it’s best to work with amounts that you can handle within 3-4 hours.
  • Blanch vegetables - Blanching is a process where the vegetable is immersed in boiling water or steamed for a short period of time and then cooled rapidly in ice water. This process destroys microorganisms on the surface of the vegetables, brightens the color and helps retard loss of vitamins. While most vegetables call for blanching, some root vegetables including beets and sweet potatoes require a different preparation. For details on preparing root vegetables for freezing see HGIC 3260, Preserving Root Vegetables.
  • Use proper storage containers - Containers designated for freezing will help keep moisture in and air out of the vegetables. For best quality look for moisture and vapor--resistant wraps, plastic film bags combined with collapsible cardboard freezer boxes or “freeze and cook” bags.
  • Check freezer temperatures - Keep freezer temperatures at or below 0° F. A thermometer placed in your freezer will help ensure that you are maintaining the required temperature.

Plan to use the frozen vegetables within in one year for highest quality. Most vegetables will maintain quality for 12 – 18 months when stored at 0 ° F or below.

Detailed information on freezing vegetables can be found at HGIC 3063, Freezing Fruits & Vegetables.

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This information is supplied with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement by the Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service is implied. All recommendations are for South Carolina conditions and may not apply to other areas. Use pesticides only according to the directions on the label. All recommendations for pesticide use are for South Carolina only and were legal at the time of publication, but the status of registration and use patterns are subject to change by action of state and federal regulatory agencies. Follow all directions, precautions and restrictions that are listed.