Homesteading For The Inept: Fake Flash-Freezing

My talented sister Elin over at TravelFoodCool is an amazing urban homesteader, and lately has been writing about hot water bath canning the season’s harvest for a little taste of summer in the dead of winter.  She’s also been preparing and canning salsas and other yummy things for the bleaker months ahead.

That’s WAY to much work for me. Remember, I am a lazy-ass. Everything’s gotta be Fisher-Price for me, or I lose interest.

So Elin suggested a while ago that I “freezer can”, which is basically making stuff and freezing it in Ziploc bags. Much better. But what about all that “preserving the flavors of the season?” I want that.  I just don’t want the work. Never fear, my lazy brethren! There is an easy solution:  Fake flash-freezing.

As you probably know, real flash-freezing is taking veggies and getting them from fresh to frozen in a fancy industrial freezer that freezes them in, well, a flash.  That’s how the freshness is locked in.  Now, we mere non-commercial mortals can’t do *exactly* the same thing, but having tasted my results, I can tell you that we can get pretty damn close.

We had a fabulous harvest of Garden of Eden Romano Beans (along with tomatoes, cucumbers, and snow pears earlier) in the urban organic microfarm (hit up my same-name Instagram account for more pics).  Garden of Eden beans have a rich, creamy flavor, and meaty texture. Naturally, I want to enjoy them when it’s dark, bitterly cold, and grim with grey snow outside.  Now I can.

You can use this method with beans, peas, peppers, pretty much any veggie that’s got a firmer skin or casing.  It’s simple, and the results are terrific.


Ingredients and Equipment

– Your veggies

– A pan of boiling water

– A bowl of ice water in the sink

–  Paper or microfiber towel

–  A cookie baking sheet lined with…

–  Parchment paper


1. Prep your veggies. (In my case, I had to cut the stems and tails from my beans)

2. Place them in your pan of boiling water for ONE MINUTE ONLY. They will suddenly intensity their color. You’re NOT cooking the veggies, just stopping their aging enzymes in their tracks.

3.  Plunge them into the ice water. You want them to stop their cooking immediately.

3. Dry them off on the towels.   You don’t want them sticking together in the freezer.

4. Spread them out on the parchment-lined cookie sheet.

5. Freeze for a few hours until they’re solid.

6. Ziploc bag’em and toss them in the freezer for later.

It’s really that easy. And it’s not season-dependent:  got a great deal on sugar snap peas in February in bulk?  No problem, fake flash freeze them and enjoy later. And feel like you’re a modern-day pioneer woman. Without the wagon and bonnet.

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