Freezing Fresh Herbs, Garden Tomatoes, and Vegetables
I’ve been gardening for years and Freezing Fresh Herbs, Garden Tomatoes, and Vegetables, and this post has all my tips for saving the garden produce!
Here are my tips for Freezing Fresh Herbs, Garden Tomatoes, and Vegetables, for everyone who’s growing vegetables and herbs and starting to feel that longing to keep the garden produce around a bit longer. My favorite way to preserve garden goodness is by freezing things like tomato sauce, fresh herbs, pesto, and other garden sauces to use during the winter.
I’ve written a lot of posts about freezing things from the garden, and since it’s a big holiday weekend when folks have extra time I’m collecting them all here into a round-up of freezing tips for garden produce. I hope if you have a garden you’ll find one of my tips useful, and after I finish this I’m taking the rest of the weekend off to have fun!
I know there are other vegetables or herbs that can be frozen that I haven’t tried yet, so if you’re a blogger with different tips than mine about freezing garden produce, please feel free to share share those links in the comments. See Cooking Tips for Gardeners for more recipes and tips using garden veggies and herbs.
Tips for Freezing: Fresh Tomato Sauce and Pasta Sauce
Let’s start with How to Make and Freeze Fresh Tomato Sauce. My method doesn’t require a food mill, although you can strain the sauce if you want to. I love to use this plain tomato sauce in soups and stews during the winter.
If you have fresh tomatoes and basil in your garden, I recommend making Sausage and Basil Marinara Sauce with Fresh Tomatoes and freezing it in containers to eat over pasta or use to make lasagna when it gets cold outside. Or if you really have a lot of tomatoes you might prefer my Roasted Tomato, Italian Sausage, and Basil Sauce that doesn’t use any canned tomatoes.
Tips for Freezing: Slow Roasted Tomatoes
If you’re growing Roma tomatoes, you’ll want to read How to Make Slow Roasted Tomatoes. This is something I love to have in the freezer and your house smells amazing while you’re making them.
Tips for Freezing: How to Freeze Fresh Basil
One of the most popular posts on my blog is How to Freeze Fresh Basil. I use this chopped frozen basil that’s coated with olive oil all winter long in soups, stews, and pasta sauce. (I bought these little containers at a store that’s no longer in business, but any small container with a snap-tight lid will work.)
Tips for Freezing: Making and Freezing Pesto or Pistou
If you have an abundance of basil you might also want to make Basil Pesto with Lemon for the freezer. (That post also has Ten Ideas for Using Basil Pesto, so make a double batch so you can eat some right away!) I also love to freeze Spinach and Basil Pesto, Kale and Basil Pesto, and Chard and Garlic Scape Pesto.
Another sauce made with fresh basil that freezes beautifully is Julia Child’s French Pistou Sauce. This doesn’t contain nuts or cheese, and it’s often used as a topping on vegetable or bean soups in France.
If you have an abundance of fresh sage, you can make Sage-Pecan Pesto, which is nice for serving over roasted vegetables or stuffing chicken breasts. (Sage is a pretty strong flavor, so be sure to taste the pesto at the end and decide if you want to add more cheese.)
Something new that I made for the first time this year and loved is this Chard and Garlic Scape Pesto, shown here in mini-muffin tins ready for the freezer. This is good on pasta, but I also like it stirred into rice or scrambled eggs. (If you have chard but no garlic scapes, the recipe has a suggestion for making it with minced fresh garlic.)
Tips for Freezing: Rosemary and Thyme
Another popular post (despite some pretty horrible old photos) is the one on How to Freeze Fresh Herbs: Rosemary and Thyme. I never have to buy fresh rosemary or thyme in the winter, because I always have it in the freezer!
Tips for Freezing: Sage, Tarragon, and Mint
I also have a post about Freezing Sage, Tarragon, and Mint. (All froze very successfully, but I didn’t find the frozen mint to be something I used nearly as much as the frozen sage or frozen tarragon.)
Tips for Freezing: Roasted Red Peppers
If you’re lucky enough to have an abundance of green, red, or yellow bell peppers in your garden, read my post about How to Roast Red Bell Peppers on a Barbecue Grill, and then chop up the roasted peppers and freeze them. (I’m not that great at growing bell peppers, so if anyone has pepper-growing tips lay them on me in the comments, please!)
Tips for Freezing: Anaheim Chiles
And if you’re growing any kind of spicy chile pepper just follow the instructions for How to Roast Anaheim Green Chiles on a Barbecue Grill, and they can be frozen once they’re roasted. I didn’t grow any hot chiles this year, but I think Poblanos are on my list for next year’s garden!
My Favorite Freezing Tool:
Finally, one of my best freezing tips no matter what you’re freezing is to seal the food inside a plastic bag using a FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer (affiliate link) before you put it in the freezer. I’ve had a FoodSaver for more than 20 years and couldn’t imagine how I would get by without it; read more here about why I love the FoodSaver. (FoodSaver probably doesn’t even know I’m alive, and the company has certainly never paid me or given me free merchandise to mention their products on my blog. I’m now on my second FoodSaver, a standing model that holds the bags inside, and I like it even more than the original one I had for many years.)
More Gardening Info on Kalyn’s Kitchen:
I’ve been growing a garden for more years than I can remember, although the last few years I haven’t been reporting on my garden as much as I did in the early days of the blog! If you’d like to see more of my posts about gardening, you can find them all collected together in Garden Updates. And happy gardening everyone!