If you throw fresh vegetables straight into your freezer, they may not taste or look good when you pull them out. Luckily, there is an easy way to fix that! This post is all about how to properly freeze low FODMAP vegetables.
How to Freeze Low FODMAP Vegetables
Blanching is the name for properly freezing vegetables. It is the process of cooking vegetables in boiling water for a certain amount of time, and then cooling them in ice water. This process helps to maintain the great flavour, colour and nutrition of the vegetables! Afterwards, the vegetables can be dried, packaged in freezer-safe containers or bags, and frozen. Vegetables will keep in the freezer for 10-12 months, except for green beans (8 months) and tomatoes (2 months).
I find blanching particularly helpful for low FODMAP cooking, since some vegetables can only be consumed in limited portions in the elimination phase. For example, celery should be limited to ¼ stalk at one meal to avoid high amounts of the FODMAP type polyols. This doesn’t mean that you should never eat celery! But if you are only using a stalk or two in a recipe, what do you do with the rest?? I think the best option is to freeze low FODMAP vegetables for later, instead of letting them expire in your fridge.
Before I blanch a vegetable, I think about what recipes I might use it in later. For example, I often use celery in soups and stews, so I medium dice it before boiling. That way I can throw the celery right into the soup/stew without having to chop it more!
Spinach is the only vegetable I put in the freezer without blanching. When my fresh spinach is just starting to wilt, I don’t really want to eat it fresh in a salad anymore. Instead, I pack it into a freezer safe bag and squeeze out the air. Whenever I make smoothies I throw a chunk of frozen spinach in! It’s a great way to add nutrients to your smoothie. The spinach is so mild and blends well when frozen, so I don’t notice a taste difference in the smoothie at all. If I plan on using the spinach for a soup I might blanch it before freezing.
Blanching & Cooling Times
It is very important to boil the vegetables for the correct amount of time. The vegetables may cool off the water a bit when they are added, and it may take half a minute for the water to resume boiling. Start the timer when the vegetables are in and the water begins to boil again. A few vegetables are boiled until tender, instead of for a specific amount of time. Next, the vegetables should be emersed in ice water for the same amount of time they were boiled.
Here are the blanching and cooling times for some common low FODMAP vegetables (serving size limits for elimination phase included):
|Boil & Cool Time||Food|
|1 1/2 minutes||Shredded cabbage (Note: savoy cabbage limit to ½ cup/35 g)|
|2 minutes||Diced carrots, greens (except collards), parsnips, turnips, snow peas, sweet pepper strips (Note: limit snow peas to 5 pods/17 g; green peppers limit to ½ C/52 g)|
|3 minutes||Broccoli, brussel sprouts, celery, collards, green beans, okra, potatoes, zucchini (Note: boil small potatoes for 3 minutes, large for 5) (Note: broccoli limit to ½ cup/47 g; Brussel sprouts limit to 2 sprouts/38 g; celery limit to ¼ stalk/12 g; green beans limit to 12 beans/86 g; okra limit to 6 pods/60 g)|
|4 minutes||Corn kernels, eggplant (Note: boil whole ear of corn, then cut off kernels) (Note: corn limit to ½ cob/43 g.|
|Until tender||Beets, pumpkin, sweet potato, squash (Note: beet limit to 2 slices/20 g; pumpkin limit to ¼ C/60 g; sweet potato limit to ½ cup/70 g; butternut squash limit to ¼ cup/30 g)|
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Freezing times reference: http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/public/programs/publichealth/foodsafety/chill.aspx#4
Blanching times reference: http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/freeze/blanching.html