Save Time & Money .. Frozen Fruits/Veggies

One complaint I get when trying to encourage buying and eating more fruits and vegetables is that
1. Fresh fruits and vegetables are so expensive $$$
2. They go bad so fast that I can never use what I buy before it spoils.  
So for those of you that are shaking their heads in agreement while reading the two points above..... No more excuses! I have a solution and it will not only help you save money.... but time.... and you will be able to eat more nutritiously.  
The answer is all in YOUR FREEZER!
Not only does your freezer extend the life of foods, but you can buy fruits/veggies when they are on sale (or load up in the summer months if you have access to a garden), and save time and money by storing these pre-prepped items for future meals in your freezer.

Example.... Yesterday, my local grocery store had strawberries on sale for $1.25 a carton. I love Strawberries but don't get them as often as I would like because winter prices can be up near $4.00 a carton. I took advantage of the sale and purchased 4 cartons.  When I got home I rinsed the berries, patted them dry with a paper towel, cut off their green tops, and transferred them into a freezer bag.  (if you don't want the strawberries to freeze together, form a single layer of strawberries on a pan and place them into the freezer. Allow them to sit uncovered for three to four hours, or until thoroughly frozen. Then remove from pan and place in freezer bags.)  I now have fresh strawberries in the freezer so I can quickly grab them to add into smoothies or have with yogurt or top my cereal/oatmeal.  

Other Fruits/Veggies that freeze really well--- I have each of these items in my freezer right now.
1. Shredded Zucchini- Just wash, grate, and put in freezer bags. It's perfect to make zucchini breads, muffins, cakes, or to throw into spaghetti sauces, lasagnas, or other pastas.

2. Sliced Peaches- These are my fave....  during the summer we have tons and tons of peaches thanks to many peach trees, so I make sure to freeze lots of these so I can have summer peaches all winter long. Just peel, slice, arrange on a pan, freeze, and then put into freezer bags.
3. Green, Red, or Yellow Bell Peppers- peppers can be pretty expensive, but I use tons of them in my cooking, so when I find them on sale, I stock up. Once you get them home all you need to do is slice them- (I like to cut about half of them into strips while dicing up the other half).  I put them in little baggies..... and now when I need peppers for a recipe, I run to the freezer grab a bag and toss them into my dish. So easy and so quick! Saves time and money.
4. Tomatoes- These take a bit more work(but still so easy) because they need to be blanched. Wash and dip whole tomato in boiling water for 30 seconds to loosen skins. Peel should come off easily. Freeze whole or slice into pieces. Place in freezer bags. Seal and freeze. I use these when making soups or pastas. 
You can freeze most any fruit or vegetable. If you think you won't be able to eat something before it goes rotten try freezing the food. Click here for information from The National Center for Home Food Preservation on how to Freeze most any fruit or vegetable. They have step-by-step instructions for most anything.
What do you like to FREEZE??


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