Skip Navigation

Bulletin #4384, Freezing Vegetables

Print Friendly

Canning & Freezing Quick-Guides

Freezing Vegetables

University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension logo

Prepared by Extension Professor Catherine Violette, PhD, RD, LD, University of New Hampshire; reproduced with permission.

For information about UMaine Extension programs and resources, visit extension.umaine.edu.
Find more of our publications and books at extensionpubs.umext.maine.edu.

General Instructions

  • Select packaging material that is moisture and vapor resistant, and easy to seal and label.
  • Select young, tender, high-quality produce.
  • Work quickly in small batches. Keep working surfaces, utensils and hands clean.
  • Blanching is recommended for most vegetables. Use 1 gallon of water per pound of vegetables. Place vegetables in a blanching basket and lower into boiling water. Work in small batch sizes so that water returns to a boil within 1 minute. Begin blanching time when water resumes boiling. To cool food quickly, plunge blanched vegetables into a large quantity of cold water.
  • Freeze foods at 0°F or lower. Don’t overload freezer: add no more than 2 to 3 pounds per cubic foot of storage space in a 24-hour period.
Vegetables Preparation Blanching Time (minutes)
Asparagus Wash. Sort according to thickness. Discard tough part of stalk. Cut into even lengths to fit container. Water-blanch, cool, drain, and package, leaving no head space. Small 2, Medium 3, Large 4
Beans, Snap, Green or Wax Wash. Remove ends. Snip or cut into 2- to 4-inch lengths. Water-blanch, cool, drain, and package, leaving 1/2 inch head space. 3
Beets Wash and sort according to size. Trim tops, leaving 1/2 inch of stem and root. Cook in boiling water until tender. Cool in cold water, peel, remove stem and root, and cut into slices or cubes. Package, leaving 1/2inch head space. Cook until tender
Broccoli or Cauliflower Wash. If desired, soak 30 minutes in brine (4 teaspoons salt to 1 gallon water) to remove insects. Trim flowerets to 1 to 1 1/2 inch across. Blanch, cool, drain, and package, leaving no head space. Water 3, Steam 5
Brussels Sprouts Select green, firm, compact heads. Trim, wash, and sort according to size. Water-blanch, cool, drain, and package, leaving no head space. Small 3, Medium 4, Large 5
Carrots Remove tops, wash, and peel. Cut as desired. Leave small carrots whole. Water-blanch, cool, drain, and package, leaving 1/2 inch head space. Whole 5, Cut 2
Corn: on the cob Husk, trim, remove silk, and wash. Water-blanch, cool quickly and completely, drain, and package, leaving no head space. Small 7, Medium 9, Large 11
Corn: whole kernel Water-blanch corn on cob. Cool, drain, and cut off about two-thirds of the depth of the kernels. Package leaving 1/2inch head space. 4
Corn: cream style Water-blanch corn on cob. Cool and drain. Cut kernel tips from cobs; then scrape cobs with the back of a knife to remove kernel hearts and juice. Package, leaving 1/2inch head space. 4
Greens (all kinds) Select young tender leaves. Wash thoroughly. Water-blanch, chill, drain, and package, leaving 1/2 inch head space. 2, Collards 3
Herbs Wash, drain, pat dry. Wrap in freezer wrap and place in freezer bag. Freeze. Use in cooked dishes. N/A
Peas: green Use young, tender peas. Shell, water-blanch, cool, and drain. Package, leaving 1/2 inch head space. 1 1/2 to 2 1/2
Peas: edible pod Select flat, tender pods. Wash. Remove stems, blossom ends, and strings. Leave whole. Water-blanch, cool, drain, and package, leaving 1/2 inch head space. Small 2, Large 3
Peppers: bell or sweet Wash, stem, and seed. If desired, cut into 1/2-inch strips or rings.
Peppers: heated Water blanch, cool, drain and package leaving 1/2 inch head space. Use in cooking. Halves 3, Strips 2
Peppers: raw Spread loosely on a tray, and freeze. Pack, leaving no head space. Use in uncooked foods.
Pumpkin or winter squash Wash. Cut into pieces and remove seeds. Cook until soft. Remove pulp and mash. Cool quickly by placing pan in cold water. Package, leaving 1/2 inch head space. Cook
Summer squash Wash and cut into 1/2-inch slices. Water-blanch, cool, drain, and package, leaving 1/2 inch head space. 3
Zucchini (grated) Wash and grate young tender zucchini. Steam-blanch small amounts. Package, leaving 1/2 inch head space. Cool by placing containers in cold water. Pack in measured amounts. Steam 1 to 2
Tomatoes Wash and dip into boiling water for 30 seconds to loosen skin. Peel and core. Freeze whole or in pieces. Package, leaving 1 inch head space. Use for cooking. N/A

Adapted from E. Andress, J. Harrison. So Easy to Preserve. Fifth Edition. University of Georgia Cooperative Extension bulletin 989, 2006.

Brand names are included for educational purposes. No endorsement is implied nor is discrimination intended against similar products.


Information in this publication is provided purely for educational purposes. No responsibility is assumed for any problems associated with the use of products or services mentioned. No endorsement of products or companies is intended, nor is criticism of unnamed products or companies implied.

© 2007, 2009

Call 800.287.0274 or TDD 800.287.8957 (in Maine), or 207.581.3188, for information on publications and program offerings from University of Maine Cooperative Extension, or visit extension.umaine.edu.

The University of Maine does not discriminate on the grounds of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, including transgender status and gender expression, national origin, citizenship status, age, disability, genetic information or veteran status in employment, education, and all other programs and activities. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies: Director, Office of Equal Opportunity, 101 North Stevens Hall, 207.581.1226.