• Blanch, Freeze & Cook  
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Your small changes can make a big difference in the amount of food you throw away each year 

Becoming more connected to your food will help you avoid waste.
In this Nutrily series of four articles, you already learned how to reduce food waste by
  1. planning your meals and understanding food labels
  2. storing food properly.
This article will talk about your freezer, show you how long food last, and teach you how to prepare food adequately. Our last article will teach you how to preserve surplus, and discard food correctly. 
Now that you have your food, you can perform a technique called blanching and freezing. Blanching, which generally takes 2-4 minutes depending on the vegetable, is a great pre-preparation technique for when you want to freeze fruits and veggies for later use while keeping their nutritional value and freshness for up to six months.
  • Fruits: This technique works best on fruits with a consistency similar to that of an apple; fruits like pineapple or papaya are too soft, and this technique does not work for them. 
  • Veggies You can blanch a large variety of vegetables, leafy and non-leafy ones.

Here is the process:

1. Wash the fruits or vegetables well. Then cut up what remains into small pieces. For potatoes, it’s best to cut them into strips.

2. Create an ice bath by putting water into a container with ice. Set the container aside for now.

3. Bring water — more than enough to cover your fruits or vegetables completely — to a boil in a saucepan.

4. In the saucepan water, add a few drops of lime juice to stop enzyme action and consequent oxidation of fruits. For vegetables, you may also add a pinch of salt.

5. When the water starts to boil, add about 1 cup of the fruit or vegetable and let it sit for 2-5 minutes, depending on the firmness of the food (2 minutes for softer fruits like pears, and 3 for apples). Note: you may save and freeze the water you boiled your vegetables to use for soups and sauces later. Better yet, use it to water your plants.

6. Remove and place the fruit or vegetable into the container ice bath for 2-3 minutes.

7. Remove the fruit or vegetable with a strainer, and pat it dry with a towel.

8. Place the food into BPA-free reusable storage bags, while removing as much of the air as possible to prevent freezer burn, which degrades the quality of your food. Keep secure with a rubber band if needed. (Note: if you don’t want large pieces of frozen vegetables stuck together, first put the pieces in the freezer separately. About an hour later when they are firm, you can put them together in storage bags.) Reynolds Handi-Vac vacuum-sealing kit works on the same principle of removing air from the accompanying freezer bags.

9. Then write or place a label on the bag with its expiration date, which is 3 months after that day for fruits, and 6 months for vegetables.

10.When you’re ready to use them, you just put them directly into your blender, saucepan, or Crock-Pot® — no need to thaw them before cooking.
How To Blanch Vegetables
Click to watch - How To Blanch Vegetables

Freezer tips

Allow 0.5 to 1.5-inch headspace between packed food to ensure that your freezer works efficiently.

There are some foods that do not freeze well, though. Lettuce shrinks, cucumber absorbs all the water, eggs become rubbery, and dairy separate its curds.

These don’t freeze well

  • Lettuce,
  • Cucumbers,
  • Bean sprouts,
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Egg-based sauces like mayonnaise
  • Dairy products
You learned how to freeze foods for later use. Now, let's check how long healthy foods last.   
Category Food Fridge (<40 F) Freezer (<0 F)
Salads Egg, chicken, tuna, macaroni salads 3 – 5 days -
Ground meats Ground beef, turkey, veal, pork, lamb 1 – 2 days 3 – 4 months
Fresh Beef, Veal, Lamb & Pork Steaks
3 – 5 days
3 – 5 days
3 – 5 days
6 – 12 months
4 – 6 months
4 – 12 months
Fresh Poultry Chicken, duck, turkey, whole
Chicken, duck, turkey, pieces
1 – 2 days
1 – 2 days
12 months
9 months
Eggs Raw in a shell

Hard boiled
Egg substitute, liquid, unopened
Egg substitute, liquid, opened
3 – 5 weeks
1 week
10 days
3 days
Freeze whites or beat yolk & whites together. 12 months
12 months
Soups & Stews Vegetable or meat added 3 – 4 days 2 – 3 months
The mindless tossing of peels, seeds, or leaves is very common in today's kitchens. I encourage you to start cooking the entire plant, root to stem. Leave the skin on cucumbers and potatoes, sauté broccoli stems along with the florets, etc. It is all edible and many times the parts that are tossed are more nutritious than the parts that are eaten!
  • Carrot leaves contain more vitamin C than the roots, and more vitamin K than any other vegetable.
  • Calcium in beet leaves is seven times higher than that of its roots and vitamin A is 192 times higher in the tops than in the roots.
  • Watermelon seeds are rich in healthy fats, protein, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, manganese, and citrulline. Very important nutrients! 
Also, cut your time in the kitchen by preparing and freezing meals ahead of time. 
Click to watch - How To Batch Cook & Freeze
Health should be a priority for everybody. Without health, we live poorly and miserably. But with planning and simple tasks, you can actually save hours and avoid food waste each day.

Let's create strategies that fit into your routine and a personalized mealplan that addresses your needs and helps you reach your goals!

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Livia Ly, MS, RD, LDN
(312) 870-0150


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Nutrily, pronounced nutri-lee, is a nutrition consultancy company that follows a holistic approach.

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