If you've noticed your Fareway ad this week, you have probably spotted the fantastic deal on the 2lb bag of carrots for $.99 as well as the bag of celery for $.69!! Although they're great prices, people don't realize that you can actually purchase a whole bunch of these and...FREEZE them.
Every time there's a super awesome sale like this, that's exactly what I do. It takes very little time but the payoff is great because once you freeze them, they can last up to an entire year in your freezer. What's the trick?
It's called blanching. The term blanching means to scald or parboil (meat or vegetables) so as to whiten, remove the odor, prepare for cooking by other means, etc. In English terms, you boil the vegetable for a few minutes to remove the enzymes that are in the veggies that usually break them down and make them lose color.
Here's what you do. Wash your vegetables. Cut the tips off. Slice them into the sizes you prefer. While you are doing this, have a pot of water on the stove on high to get the water boiling. Once the water is boiling and you have your vegetable chopped up, place them into the boiling water.
For carrots, you place them into the pot for three minutes and for celery, they stay in for five. Once the time is up you transfer the vegetables to a cold water bath. (A bowl filled with water as cold as you can get it; adding ice helps but is not necessary.) Leave the veggies in the cold water for the same amount of time they had to be boiled.
Drain them when the time is up then lay them out on a towel to dry them off. They don't have to be completely dry, just not dripping wet. [If you prefer to label the bags, do that before filling them, it's easier to write on a flat bag then a super bumpy one :D] Next, transfer them to either a freezer bag or a vacuum seal bag. Try to remove as much air as possible with either the vacuum sealer, or the old fashioned way, a handy dandy straw! (Make sure your lungs are in working order ;) )
Lastly, place them in the freezer, and you're done! How easy was that?
You know what's great about having carrots and celery, or any other veggies in your freezer? 1. you don't have to spend money at the store on a small frozen bag that will cost twice as much as you want to pay (or more, 2. you don't have to use the whole bag, just grab what you need and stick the rest back into the freezer and 3. they work great for an extra vegetable if you are making a roast or soup, you can just take them out of the freezer and put them right into the pot/crock pot. By the time your meal is done, the carrots will have thawed and cooked out completely as well.