Blueberries, Strawberries & Raspberries
Perhaps the easiest to preserve, berries are a delicious treat in the winter. I'm a smoothie junkie, so there are always berries in our freezer.
Wash the berries thoroughly. With blueberries all you need to do is look for the bad ones and pick out the stems. For strawberries, I just cut the tops off altogether. Raspberries are a bit more delicate. Wash under a light spray but don't soak. Soaking raspberries makes them turn to mush really quickly. I always lightly shake the berries in a colander until most of the water comes out. Put them into large freezer bags and remove the excess oxygen from the bag using a straw or, like me, you can just put your mouth to the back and suck the extra air out that way. Probably not the most sanitary of methods but Alex doesn't care...
Freeze and enjoy later!
Beans (Yellow and Green)
Beans are also fairly easy to preserve. Simply wash the beans thoroughly in a colander. Cut off ends and cut into approximately 2 inch pieces. Blanch beans for 3 minutes in boiling water. Remove and rinse under cold water. I freeze mine in 2 person sized portions. Always date label your food; frozen blanched vegetables last up to 12 months in the freezer.
Broccoli, Cauliflower & Carrots
Once again, wash, wash, wash. Cut broccoli and cauliflower into medium sized pieces. Peel and slice carrots. Everyone will have their own method. I filled a bowl with enough mixed veggies for 2 and then blanched them in batches. Blanch for 3 minutes in boiling water and freeze in individual portioned bags or one big bag. Date label. Enjoy!
Bell Peppers (Green, yellow, white and red)
I use bell peppers when I make soup, in stews and in a variety of other ways. I've never frozen them before, but I clearly remember my mother freezing bags of them. She froze them whole and I remember finding them in the bottom of the freezer, crushed and freezer burnt. I thought I'd try something different.
Wash peppers thoroughly. Cut off tops and gut. Cut into rings. I froze them in mixed bags with a few rings of each colour. I still don't know what I'm going to do with them but they make me smile everytime I see them in the freezer. They're bright and cheerful and they're going to be delicious in the middle of the winter.
PS Peppers don't need blanching, just straight freezing.