Here are 5 of my tried-and-true, favorite, freezable summer goodies! I hope your freezer is filling up with in-season deliciousness :)
The low-prep method: freeze the whole cob, still in the husk. When you’re ready to eat it, throw it on the grill with whatever else you’re grilling. It’s always been delicious for us! These Ziploc Bags are actually big enough to hold an entire cob. (Yes, that’s an Amazon link. Yes, I might get a teeny percentage if you buy them there. You can also get them at Kroger or Publix. :) )
The higher-prep method: Husk corn. Blanch cobs like this: cook for 3 minutes in boiling water, then plunge into ice water to cool. Using a sharp knife, cut kernels from cob, then use the back of the knife to scrape out the “milk” from the cob. Place into freezer bags in serving-size portions. For more information, see my previous post on freezing creamed corn.)
2. Whole tomatoes
I’ve been putting our tomatoes into the freezer as they ripen. When I have a bag full, I can peel them under warm running water (the skins of frozen tomatoes slip right off that way), then process them how I want to.
You can put whole tomatoes into veggie soup, make tomato soup, or blend them right into pizza sauce or marinara. I imagine they would even work for salsa, if you were planning on using canned tomatoes anyway.
Strawberries, peaches, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, cherries, watermelon; you name it, it probably freezes well! Some fruits lose their color (peaches especially) when frozen, so look into a citric acid color preserver if that’s important to you. But if you’re just going to use them in smoothies or make them into jam later, then don’t worry about it.
- Peaches tend to form rock-hard clumps when frozen, so don’t pack those bags too full–you’ll be able to break the clumps apart better if only a few pieces are stuck together.
- Watermelon gives a lovely slushie-like texture to smoothies on a hot summer day.
- You can make jam with frozen fruit just the same as with fresh. Save the jam party for a winter day and your stove will help to keep your house warm.
- Frozen blueberries are fabulous in muffins, pancakes, and yogurt.
- Put frozen fruit, a little water, and a little sugar in a saucepan. Simmer till the fruit breaks down and you have a delicious pancake topping!
4. Freezer pickles
These were a first for me last year. This cabbage slaw is delicious on sandwiches, but you can also use cucumbers for freezer dill pickles and freezer bread-and-butter pickles. You can substitute yellow squash (or zucchini, I’m sure) for the cucumber for some variety. The cucumbers soften in the freezer of course, but the flavor is great for adding to tuna or egg salad, tartar sauce, or anyplace you don’t mind a softer pickle.
Freezer Dill Pickles
Combine 3 1/2 cups thinly sliced cucumbers or yellow squash with 2 garlic cloves, also thinly sliced. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon pickling salt. Cover with water and set aside at least 3 hours. Drain, rinse, and drain again. Combine 1 cup white vinegar with 2 tablespoons sugar. Add cucumbers, 1 sprig fresh dill (or 1 tablespoon dried dill weed), 1 teaspoon dill seeds, and 1 bay leaf. Cover and freeze, leaving headspace appropriate for your jar.
5. Field peas
Purple hull peas are a specialty around these parts in the summer. You can put freshly shelled purple hull peas straight into the freezer. When you’re ready to cook, saute a little onion and garlic. Add peas, cover with water, and cook for around 1 hour, until they are as soft as you want them. They cook much faster than dried field peas and are deliciously fresh-tasting!