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I’m not suggesting that you’re lazy. Or that I’m lazy. But with everything you and I have to do every day, it’s nice to have the luxury of being lazy for once.

If you would like to preserve the fresh bounty from your garden, farmer’s market, or CSA share, but don’t want to add any more items to your to-do list, here are some vegetables and fruits you can freeze with minimal (if any) preparation. No blanching or freezing on cookies sheets here! Some of them don’t even involve chopping!

I hope these tips will help you make time in your life for other important things, like cooking dinner or taking a shower.

Eight Fruits and Vegetables You Can Freeze the Lazy Way

1. Bell Peppers
How: Just chop and throw into a freezer bag. Lay bag flat so they don’t all freeze in a clump (and if they do clump, just bang them on the counter).
Use in: Chicken Chili, Taco Soup, Omelets, Beef and Veggie Skillet, (un) Refried Beans

2. Blueberries
How: If your berries are organic or at least unsprayed, don’t even wash them! Just pick out any stems and leaves and throw into a freezer bag. No need to flash freeze on cookie sheets because the dry berries won’t stick together.
Use in: Crumbles, Muffins, Blueberry Banana Bars, Smoothies, Blueberry Banana Quinoa, Blueberry Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream, Blueberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

3. Carrots
How: Grate them in the food processor, and freeze flat in a bag. Pull out just a handful to add to things. (This is great to do if you have some carrots getting mushy in your fridge!)
Use in: Sourdough Quiche, Carrot Apple Walnut Muffins, Carrot Cake, or add to eggs, spaghetti sauce, soup, or rice.

4. Onions
How: Anytime you need part of an onion for a recipe, chop the whole thing and throw what you don’t need into a bag in the freezer (that you keep in a readily accessible place – doesn’t do any good if it gets lost in your freezer!). Add to it whenever you have extra onion. When you’re in a hurry and you don’t want to dirty a cutting board and a knife just for onion, pull some out of the bag instead!
Use: Wherever you would use chopped cooked onion, such as Salmon Patties, Clam and Oyster Chowder, or Saucy White Beans with Zucchini.

5. Strawberries
How: I know strawberry season is long gone for most of us, but hold onto this one for next spring. If you’ll be using the berries for smoothies, you can gently wash them and freeze them whole, with tops intact! Again, lay bags flat to freeze.
Use in: Smoothies, with a high-powered blender (my KitchenAid blender does okay but I’m sure a Vitamix would be even better)!

6. Tomatoes
How: You’re going to love this! Place whole tomatoes in gallon sized freezer bags. Lay bag flat and freeze. When you want to use them, allow to thaw at room temperature, then slip the skins off.
Use in: Tomato Sauce, Tomato Soup, Ketchup

7. Winter Squash
This one takes a little more work than the others, but is much easier than normal squash preparations.
How: Cook whole squash in your crock pot until tender. Allow to cool. Cut open, remove seeds, scoop out flesh with a spoon. Puree with an immersion blender. Freeze in 1 cup portions in bags or jars.
Use in: Sprouted Pumpkin Bread, Pumpkin Cake Bars, Pumpkin Pancakes, Pumpkin Pie Smoothie, World’s Best Pumpkin Soup, Pesto Squash and Chicken over Rice, Coconut Curry Rice with Butternut Squash
(See also: Cook squash the safe and brainless way)!

8. Zucchini
How: Grate it in the food processor and portion into bags or jars. Make sure you freeze it in convenient quantities for the recipes you’ll be using.
Use in: zucchini cakes, zucchini mini muffins, chocolate zucchini cake, chocolate chunk zucchini muffins

You may never do things the hard way again. Now go take a shower.

What are you freezing this year? Do you have any lazy techniques to share?

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16 Comments

  1. Great tips, thanks! I will freeze anything we get in our CSA that we can’t eat right away. So far, carrots, green beans, and peaches. Always peaches!!

    Reply

  2. Great ideas! I especially like grating the zucchini before you freeze it to bake with later in the winter. Homemade chocolate zucchini muffins are so nice on a crisp fall or winter morning!

    Reply

  3. There are a few on here that I didn’t know about! Don’t forget about freezing bananas! I peel, break in half and freeze in a ziplock. Great for smoothies!

    Reply

  4. [...]  If you don’t want the skin let them thaw then slip it off.   check out Joanna’s Lazy Freezing Techniques.  She leaves the tomatoes [...]

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  5. [...] want to use the skin let the tomatoes thaw then slip it off.   Check out Joanna’s Lazy Freezing Techniques.  She leaves the tomatoes whole. Guide to Free and Cheap Produce, Part 1 and Part 2 gives you [...]

    Reply

  6. I put all the meat and veggies for soups and stews in the larger ziplock freezer bags all cut up and ready to pour into the crock pot. The chopped onions, bell peppers, garlic, carrots, potatoes, and peppers and then I put in the meat I wish to use. Start the stew in the morning. I just empty the bag in the crock pot and add pepper. All finished. Food is served that evening. This was a life saver when I worked and my children were still at home. I would do the prep work on Sat or Sunday when I had the time and on days when I knew I would not be able to cook I kept these handy. I still keep them ready but not as many. You can do roasts, chicken and even currys.

    Reply

  7. [...] While fresh cranberries are typically available in the US from October through December, many grocery retailers will carry frozen cranberries throughout the year. If you know that you are unable to get fresh or frozen cranberries throughout the year, stock up on fresh berries now and freeze them for later! You can freeze cranberries using Joanna’s method of freezing blueberries found here. [...]

    Reply

  8. My zucchini always gets really soggy and watery when I shred and freeze it. Is there a way to avoid this? It makes for a runny quick bread/muffins this way. Thanks

    Reply

  9. [...] are some easy freezing tips to get you [...]

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  10. This is great! I love seeing advice on freezing food without blanching it, because I’ve found that works well with a lot of foods, especially if they are shredded or otherwise in small pieces so there’s less air space. I had no idea you could freeze whole tomatoes! I guess I thought they would explode–but blueberries don’t, and they have a similar structure, so I don’t know why I thought that.

    Here are my freezer tips. I especially like freezing kale because it thaws so quickly and can be used to add nutrition to a wide variety of foods. I also like to freeze GRATED cheese. A block of cheese changes texture dramatically when it’s frozen and thawed, but if the cheese is grated it makes almost no difference.

    Reply

  11. [...] 9. Stock Up for the Winter. If your farm has an overabundance of a certain crop, they may tell you to take a large amount for canning or freezing. One year ours had u-pick green beans for several weeks in a row, so I just froze some each week. Need some tips for freezing with very little time? Try these lazy freezing techniques! [...]

    Reply

  12. [...] don’t want to use the skin let the tomatoes thaw then slip it off. Check out Joanna’s Lazy Freezing Techniques. She leaves the tomatoes whole. Guide to Free and Cheap Produce, Part 1 and Part 2 gives you lots [...]

    Reply

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