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Health Fusion: How to freeze farmers' market vegetables to enjoy when the snow flies

Wouldn't it be great to pop open a freezer bag of farm fresh vegetables in the midst of winter? In this episode of News MD's "Health Fusion," Viv Williams shows the best way to freeze produce. It's easy!

At the end of the growing season, some farmers' markets have great deals on produce. So if you get bunch and freeze it properly, you'll have garden vegetables that last 8 months or more. I'll show you the process with kale from my garden.

The University of Minnesota Extension website outlines the steps well, and as one of their Master Gardener Volunteer interns, I'll use their technique for freezing.

Start by washing the vegetables under running water. That's super important for kale because little visitors can hide in the curly leaves. Then trim and cut.

Next it's time to blanch the vegetables. This is key to maintaining taste and texture. Blanching means to heat the vegetables up quickly to stop enzymes from continuing the ripening process. You can do this by steaming or boiling in a blanching pot. I don't have one, so I'm using a colander and pot for boiling.

Time is very important and different vegetables require different blanching times. So check out the chart on the UMN extension website. Kale takes about 2 minutes to blanch in boiling water. Too little time doesn't stop the enzyme process and too much can ruin taste, texture and deplete nutrients. Carefully put the veggies in, cover and start timing as soon as the pot returns to boiling.

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As soon as time is up, remove the vegetables and put them in icy cold water to stop the blanching process. Leave them there, stirring occasionally for the same amount of time as you blanched them. Except for corn-on-the-cob, which takes longer to cool.

Then, remove the veggies from the cold water and drain them. Pack them tightly in freezer bags or other freezer containers, press the air out, label and pop them in the freezer.

Follow the Health Fusion podcast on Apple , Spotify , and Google Podcasts.

For comments or other podcast episode ideas, email Viv Williams at vwilliams@newsmd.com . Or on Twitter/Instagram/FB @vivwilliamstv.

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