Freezing

Freezers are a crucial tool to keeping yourself and your family nourished! We have a ton of chest freezers and wanted to share some tips on how best to maximize your CSA share.

The Process

Keep Organized

This is the biggest obstacle we faced when utilizing our freezer space. It's crucial to take the time to organize and clean out your freezer - especially before the CSA season gets going.

Here is my Pinterest board on the subject - feel free to add any pins you've found helpful.

How to Freeze Properly

Freezing your produce and eggs as quickly as possible may seem like common sense, but it is vital for preserving the best texture and flavor of your foods. If your food takes too long to freeze, larger ice crystals will form, causing more damage to cell walls = and poorer texture and nutrient levels.

Chill beforehand

You do not want the freezer to do the job of cooling your piping-hot soup. Not only will your food hang out longer in the Temperature Danger Zone (45°-120°F), it will warm the other contents in your freezer - reducing their shelf life. Stick that pot in an ice bath (sinks work great for this) and stir frequently. The goal is to bring it down to 40 degrees F in two hours. Add more ice if need be. (when choosing a vessel, remember that metal cools faster than plastic)

Layout food in a single layer on a sheet tray

Exposing as much surface area as possible ensures rapid freezing.

Once the food is frozen solid, you must transfer the contents and store them in a freezer-safe container, labeled with the current and projected use-by date.

Freeze/store in small/individual portions

Not only does this help with more rapid freezing, but it also makes the task of using your frozen bounty that much easier.

Figure out a solid portion size and store accordingly.

You will only thaw what you need and won't have to wait for an entire four-quart container to decide to thaw.

Invest in silicone mats (silpats)

A Silpat is an indispensable tool in my kitchen. Not only does it help keep frozen foods from sticking to my sheet trays (we've all been there) - but they make transferring the tray contents to a container a cinch!