It's happened just about every year... I take time out of a beloved weekend afternoon during the summer; sit down with a bunch of fresh veggies, a knife, and a cutting board; and preserve a few Ziploc bags' worth of diced peppers, corn, or blanched green beans. It takes about the entire afternoon to do, but I promise myself that the payoff will be sweet: in the middle of the winter, we'll have tons of tasty vegetables and we'll remember the summer months fondly. Then, when it comes time to cook the vegetables, we open the bag to find soggy, mushy, off-color vegetables that we end up throwing away. You too? Admittedly, freezing food can be done, but it has to be done right, with patience and technique.
This past year we were cleaning out our basement when I came across a FoodSaver that I had received as a graduation gift. Why not try it? We weren't doing anything else this summer. So, in September, I fired it up and preserved a ton of peppers: diced, whole, sliced, and some corn kernels, too. I was skeptical, but hopeful. I tucked them away into the freezer with bated breath.
After Christmas, we had a ton of leftover ham and we decided to make western omelettes. I pulled the bag of diced peppers from the freezer, cut open the bag, and was pretty astounded. Having skipped the blanching step to save myself the letdown and wasted time, I couldn't believe that the peppers looked nearly as fresh as the day I had preserved them. We made Philly cheesesteaks with the sliced peppers with the same result. And stuffed pepper soup, too.
Needless to say, I am a believer in the FoodSaver. It saved me food. It saved me time. It saved us money. The only thing it's not saving is the environment. I'm still not thrilled about the fact that the bags are wasted after each use, considering we usually wash and reuse Ziplocs until the slide tab falls off.
The good news is that FoodSaver makes their own reusable Vacuum Zipper bags that you can use with the handheld version of their sealer. If I had been purchasing on my own, I might have tried this option. For now, we're just relishing in the fact that we've found a way to quickly and effectively freeze vegetables into the winter.
Our next endeavor? You can even Sous Vide with the help of the FoodSaver! For those new to this cooking technique, it means that you vacuum seal your food, like chicken, and then slow cook it in a water bath. Check it out!
In my opinion, now would be a good time to look into the FoodSaver. You don't need a top-notch machine; mine is the most basic. Try it out the next time you buy a family pack of chicken or ground beef that you want to freeze up. Or the next time you have an avocado that you won't eat right away before it turns brown. This way you'll be a pro at using it when next summer rolls around, especially if you're enrolled in our Vegetable Subscription program. There's nothing worse than wasting food. Happy hearty winter cooking!