producer blanchers

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producer blanchers

Postby TJG » Tue Feb 23, 2010 2:23 pm

anyone have a good blancher that you can recommend I buy to use before freezing green beans and sweet corn (on the cob)?

or better tips to freeze the garden produce (peas, bean, sweet corn, pumpkin, beets...)?

thanks,

Todd
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Re: producer blanchers

Postby SONNY » Tue Feb 23, 2010 7:11 pm

To blanch. you only need a pot of boiling water and big bowl of ice water!---Virginia says blanching kills the flavor and we NEVER use that method because our produce comes out fresh just like it came off the plant!----That is the way it goes into the freezer,--just had a big ole bag of peas from the freezer today, nice green color GARDEN FRESH flavor!
The blanch(partial cook) makes veggies taste horrible (stale) when you get them out of the freezer!(no color/they are tough/and no flavor!)
We know people who do this and complain that their frozen stuff is no good!
The biggest mistake that they make is in not getting the fresh veggies directly form the garden and get it processed within an hour after harvesting!(farmers market produce is not good enough quality either!---get it DIRECTLY from a real garden,(yours or a neighbor/friend/ect. close by) and NOT getting the air out of the bags.---also make sure that you use FREEZER bags,--NOT food storage bags! thanks; sonny and virginia
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Re: producer blanchers

Postby TJG » Tue Feb 23, 2010 10:14 pm

Sonny, how do you freeze sweet corn, on and off of the cob?

Todd
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Re: producer blanchers

Postby dirtyred » Tue Feb 23, 2010 10:58 pm

we tried it bothe ways ()blanched and unblanched) with the corn i couldnt really tell the difference. now with the peas i like blanched but not to long or they will taste bland like Sonny said. i will not freeze snap beans. always will put them in jars and i think i like tomatoes from a jar better than freezing. but freezing is quicker and easier just my opinion
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Re: producer blanchers

Postby Virginia » Wed Feb 24, 2010 6:38 am

We use several methods of preserving our produce. Freezing is one of them. (Now that we have the storage space for the jars, Canning is our preferred method for the majority.)

Process all produce promptly after harvesting.

Freezing: If you have a food saver sealer use it, if not ziploc freezer bags work just fine. It is a good practice to label and date the bags. Make sure you get as much air out as possible. (Tip: I have heard that you can use a straw to help by zipping the top of the Ziploc around the tip of the straw, and sucking the air out of the bag. then pinch the straw closed and quickly remove it while pressing the seal.) Once sealed Quickly put them in the freezer. We usually put stuff in the freezer compartment of the refrigerator and freeze; once frozen transfer bags to the chest freezer.

you can blanch or not blanch (some people swear by blanching others swear by not) I prefer not, but ...

For blanching you’ll need a large kettle with a lid, and a wire basket that fits inside (not required but it helps otherwise you have to fish the vegetables out with a slotted spoon.) The kettle should be large enough to hold a gallon of water for a pound of fresh vegetables. You will also need a large bowl or another kettle of the same size (that will hold the basket) filled with Ice Water.

Begin counting your blanching time when you put your vegetables in the water. rule of thumb: Cool for the same amount of time as you blanch.

Green Beans:
Harvest the green beans at their peak maturity (firm, straight, not lumpy). You begin by heating a gallon of water to boiling , while the water is heating, prepare the green beans by cleaning, snapping, and removing blemishes and strings if necessary. After the water comes to a full rolling boil, place the green beans in the wire basket, and lower them into the boiling water. Cover the kettle, and allow the green beans to remain in the boiling water for three minutes. Immediately immerse the green beans in ice water to stop the cooking process, and leave them in the cold water for three minutes before draining. Put beans in a single layer on a tray and freeze for 30 minutes. Transfer to bags, get air out, seal and return to freezer.

We just clean, pack tightly in freezer bags, press air out and seal. Been working for us for 30 years. Retains color and flavor and texture.

Corn on the Cob:
Harvest the corn at its peak maturity (milky fluid in the kernels, kernels tender, (easily punctured with your fingernail) and not bloated). Immature corn is watery when cooked and overripe corn is chewy and doughy. Husk the corn and pick off as much of the silk as you can. A soft vegetable brush is the fastest and easiest way to get the remaining silk off - just don't be too rough with it. You will need a Large pot of boiling water, a big bowl or another large pot and Plenty of ice - about 1 tray per ear and cold water. Minutes to blanch per Ear size: 7 minutes for small ears (1 1/4 inches or less in diameter), 9 minutes for medium ears, and 11 minutes for large ears (over 1 1/2 inches in diameter). NOTE: super sweet varieties require 2 minutes less. Cool in ice water and drain and pat dry. Tip: Wrap each ear individually with saran wrap and place the wrapped ears in the freezer bag. You still need to get as much air out of the bag as you can. (When you want to use it just put it into boiling water straight from the freezer. You'll want to cook it for the least amount of time it takes to get it hot (normally about 5 minutes). Any overcooking, either before freezing or when you are ready to eat it, will make it mushy.

No Blanch--With Husks: cut the corn off the stalk really close to the corn....Peel back the husks leaving them attached to the ear....remove as much of the silks as possible (you can use a wet paper towel to help with this). Pull the husks back up around the ear in layers overlapping and covering all the corn. twist the husks at the top to help keep it in place and put in ziplok bags or use the vaccume bags. Can stay frozen up to a year like this. To cook: bring water to boil (can add a little sugar to water and salt if you wish) put in the corn and boil about 3-5 minutes....Drain immediately.

No Blanch--Remove the husks, and put the corn in Freezer Ziplok bags, (DO NOT WASH OR GET WET) when ready to cook, bring water to a rapid boil, drop in the frozen ears, return the water to boil, turn down the heat and let the corn simmer about 15 to 20 minutes.

You will use less freezer space with the corn OFF the cob.
If you are going to cut it off the cob blanch only 4 minutes.

Whole Kernel Corn:
After blanching, Cut kernels from cob about 2/3 the depth of the kernels. hold the ear by the small end, and slide the knife down the ear.

Not blanched but Cooked and Frozen:
16 cups (1/2 a bushel) whole kernel corn
5 cups water
1/2 cup margarine or butter
8 teaspoons sugar (can be left out if the corn is sweet)
1 teaspoon salt

Combine corn, water, margarine, sugar and salt in a large saucepan or dutch oven. Bring to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool by setting pan in a sinkfull of cold water and stirring occasionally. When cool, spoon into freezer containers or plastic freezer bags and freeze. We use freezer bags and lay them flat to freeze so they stack nicely.This yields 4 quarts.

Cream Style Corn:
After blanching, Cut kernel tips about 1/2 deep and scrape the cobs with the back of a knife to remove the juice and the heart of the kernel.

Another way to prepare cream style corn for freezing is to cut and scrape the corn from the cob without blanching. Place the cut corn in a double boiler, and heat with constant stirring for about 10 minutes or until it thickens; allow to cool by placing the pan in ice water.

PEAS:
Shell, wash and blanch 1 minute. Chill in iced water 1 minute. Drain and place on tray or baking sheet in a single layer. Freeze for 30 minutes. Transfer to freezer bags, remove air, label and seal. Return to freezer.

We don't let the peas get wet in any way. Just shell, put in bag, get air out, seal and freeze.

BEETS:
Only freeze young tender beets, not more than 2-3 inches across. Cook until tender, peel and slice. Cool and transfer to plastic containers.

PUMPKIN:
Peel and cook in boiling salted water until tender. Mash, cool and pack into plastic containers leaving head space. Alternatively, peel and cut into pieces. Bake until almost done. When cool pack into freezer bags, remove the air, seal and label.

Hope this helps. Thanks; Virginia
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Re: producer blanchers

Postby DanR » Wed Feb 24, 2010 7:40 am

You're making me hungry! Don't confuse blanching with cooking. Blanching is to set the natural sugar from becoming carbohydrate. Over blanching can make the veggies taste starchy. We blanch sweet corn for 60 seconds because it has a lot of sugar. Peas and beans have less sugar so cut down the time maybe 30 seconds. Instead of starting a long post why don't we all get together next fall and let the taste guide science. :D
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Re: producer blanchers

Postby TJG » Wed Feb 24, 2010 11:52 am

thanks for the step-by-step process. last year I did not do a good job with what I froze so I appreciate the help.

Todd
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Re: producer blanchers

Postby vdeal » Wed Feb 24, 2010 12:20 pm

From the National Center for Home Food Preservation:
Is it recommended to blanch vegetables before freezing?

Yes. Blanching slows or stops the action of enzymes which cause loss of flavor, color and texture. Blanching cleanses the surface of dirt and organisms, brightens the color and helps retard loss of vitamins. Blanching also wilts or softens vegetables and makes them easier to pack.



I blanch just about all vegetables that I freeze. As others here have said, it is imperative that you do not over-blanch. You want to destroy the enzymes, not cook the produce. Larger items take longer to blanch so try to pick smaller vegetables or break large items like broccoli into small parts. I have done both blanched and unblanched an in taste tests at home we have preferred the blanched.

Here is the pot that I use. It could be a bit larger though.
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Re: producer blanchers

Postby johnny j » Wed Feb 24, 2010 2:46 pm

MY WIFE FREEZES hers on the cob with some of the shuck left on :)
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Re: producer blanchers

Postby SONNY » Wed Feb 24, 2010 10:48 pm

TJG!!!-- You will have to adjust the actual time to your taste, these blanching times stated were from SEVERAL STATES UNIVERSITY EXTENSION SERVICES, and all seem to say the same.
We NEVER blanch our produce due to the fact that we have found(from personal trials) that it kills the flavor and texture.
Everyone will have to decide what method they want to use.

We also have a steam do-all that can (according to manufacturer , be used for blanching IF you wanted, but it would take much longer in it )---also cost prohibitive and NOT recommended for all veggies. ---we got it many years ago to do apples in and make sauce from the steamed pulp and jelly and syrup from the juice. So we didnt include it in the other post.

If the long post offended anybody, FILE AN OFFICIAL COMPLAINT AGAINST VIRGINIA AND ME WITH FARMALL CUB. COM ADMIN!!!! I asked Virginia to help me make a FACTUAL post and the original question was NOT a yes or no type question, it required research and made a little longer post.---We were only trying to help! Respectfully , sonny and virginia!
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Re: producer blanchers

Postby grumpy » Thu Feb 25, 2010 11:33 am

And help you did!!
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Re: producer blanchers

Postby Billy Fussell » Thu Feb 25, 2010 5:30 pm

Sonny,

No need for you or Virginia to apologize for the long post. A question was alked and you answered completely and clearly. Some things cannot be said in 10 words or less. I enjoyed the post. Can never get too much knowledge about anything.

Thanks for the post, you and Virginia.

Billy
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