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Food Preservation


Can I freeze milk?
It is safe to freeze milk but freezing may change the texture of the milk and cause some separation. Stirring well may reduce the texture change and separation enough to use the milk in products like puddings and baked goods. If you are freezing milk for your family to drink, try a small amount first and see how they like it. Remember to allow plenty of headspace (1-1 ½ inches) for the milk to expand in your freezing container.


Reference: So Easy to Preserve, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service



How can tomatoes be preserved?

Tomatoes can be safely preserved by the boiling water bath process, pressure canning or freezing. Follow USDA recommended guidelines for processing all foods. To be sure you have current information, get a copy of Canning and Freezing Tomatoes, http://www.extension.iastate.edu/Publications/PM638.pdf.



Reference: Canning and Freezing Tomatoes, PM 638, Iowa State University Extension
Related Information:
Preserve Food Safely
A complete listing of Iowa State University fact sheets and other resources for home food preservation



Are there special concerns in canning tomatoes?

Yes, tomato varieties vary in acidity. Growing conditions, climate and locations also affect the acidity level. Overripe and infected tomatoes may be low enough in acid to support Clostridium botulinum. Use only firm, ripe tomatoes that have no spoiled parts or mold. Tomatoes harvested from dead vines are low in acid. They can be eaten fresh or frozen, but do not can tomatoes from dead vines.



Reference: Canning and Freezing Tomatoes, Pm 638, Iowa State University Extension



What does "acidifying" tomatoes mean?

To ensure safe acidity levels in your whole, crushed or juiced tomatoes, you must add bottled lemon juice or food grade citric acid to each jar before processing. For quarts, use 2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice or 1/2 teaspoon citric acid per quart. For pints use 1 tablespoon bottled lemon juice or 1/4 teaspoon citric acid per pint. Food grade citric acid is available at some food stores or drug stores. Do not substitute ascorbic acid for citric acid. Four tablespoons vinegar per quart can be substituted for the lemon juice or citric acid, but it may cause undesirable changes in flavor.



Reference: Canning and Freezing Tomatoes, Pm 638, Iowa State University Extension



In order to safely can tomatoes, how long should they be processed?

Processing time will vary depending on how you prepare the tomatoes.  Do you pack them hot or raw, whole or crushed, pieces or juice?  Are you using a water bath canner or a pressure canner?  To be sure you have the correct information, we encourage you to get a copy of Canning and Freezing Tomatoes, Pm 638, http://www.extension.iastate.edu/Publications/PM638.pdf.



Reference: Canning and Freezing Tomatoes, Pm 638, Iowa State University Extension



Can tomatoes be frozen?
Tomatoes can easily be frozen. Wash and peel them, leave whole or cut them up. They can be frozen in the raw form or cooked until tender, cooled and frozen.

Reference: Canning and Freezing Tomatoes, Pm 638, Iowa State University Extension



Can salsa be canned?
Canning salsa or other mixed tomato products, that add vegetables such as onions, green peppers, or celery requires recipes that have been carefully designed and tested to meet the proper pH or acidity level. Use up-to-date, tested recipes that meet USDA guidelines. Do not change the proportion of ingredients in these recipes. If you have a favorite homemade recipe or want to vary the ingredients, it is best to freeze the product to ensure safety.

Reference: So Easy To Preserve, University of Georgia Extension Service
Related Information:
Penn State Food Preservation Database
Source of USDA recommended salsa recipes



Can eggs be frozen?

Yes. Thoroughly mix the yolks and the whites but do not whip in air. To prevent graininess in the yolks, add 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, 1 1/2 tablespoons corn syrup OR 1/2 teaspoon salt per cup whole eggs, depending on intended use. Package, allowing 1/2-inch headspace, seal and freeze.

The egg mixture can be frozen in ice cube trays. Measure 3 tablespoons of egg mixture into each compartment of an ice cube tray. Freeze until solid.  Remove frozen cubes and package in freezer containers. Seal and freeze. Three tablespoons of the egg mixture (one cube) equals one whole egg.



Reference: So Easy to Preserve, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service



Is it a good idea to freeze cheese?
It depends on the type of cheese. Hard or semi-hard cheese can be frozen if it is packaged in 1/2 pound to 1 pound amounts. It may become crumbly and mealy when thawed, but will retain its flavor. Cream cheese and cottage cheese do not freeze well. Pasteurized processed cheese (American cheese slices, for example) can be frozen for 2 to 3 months.

Reference: So Easy to Preserve, University of Georgia Extension Service



What is the best way to freeze a fruit pie like apple or cherry?

Here is the method for freezing unbaked fruit pies:
Make your pie as usual except add 1 extra tablespoon flour or tapioca or 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch to juicy fillings to prevent boiling over when the pie is baked. Do not cut vents in the top crust. Freeze in the pan and package in an airtight container or freezer bag. Unbaked fresh pies have a better fresh-fruit flavor than frozen baked pies, but the bottom crust tends to get soggy.

When you are ready to bake the pie, cut vent holes in the upper crust and set the pie on a cookie sheet. Bake without thawing at 450F, 15-20 minutes. Then reduce heat to 375F for 20-30 minutes or until the top crust is brown.

If you want to bake your pie before freezing, then follow this method:
Bake as usual and cool quickly. Package in an airtight container or freezer bag and freeze. When you remove the pie from the freezer, let it stand at room temperature for about 15 minutes. Then heat in 350F oven until warm, about 30 minutes. Use the pie within 3-4 months of freezing for best quality.



Reference: Freezing Prepared Foods, Pm 799, Iowa State University Extension



What is the best way to freeze a pumpkin pie?

Freeze your pumpkin pie unbaked. Prepare the pie shell and filling as usual. Have the filling cold before adding it to the unbaked, chilled pie shell. Package and freeze.

When you are ready to use your pie, bake it without thawing at 400F for 10 minutes. Then reduce the oven temperature to 325F to finish baking. Use the pie within 4-5 weeks of freezing for best quality.



Reference: Freezing Prepared Foods, Pm 799, Iowa State University Extension



Where can I get replacement parts for my pressure canner?

To find parts for pressure canners check local hardware stores that carry canning supplies or one of the major manufacturers of pressure canners. It may be difficult or impossible to find parts for some canners. Following are the phone numbers and addresses for three companies:

Mirro Corporation
WearEver Consumer Care, 196 Boston Ave., Medford, MA  02155
800/527-7727

National Presto Industries, Inc.
3925 N. Hastings Way, Eau Claire, WI 54703-3703
800/877-0441

Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry Co. P.O. Box 246, Manitowoc, WI  54221-0246  920/682-8627

Presto has parts for some models of other brands-Kook Kwik, Maid of Honor, Magic Seal and Peerless.  Wisconsing Aluminum manufactures the All American Canner.


Related Information:
Wisconsin Aluminum
Replacement parts for All American Canners
Wearever
Provides a directory of dealers selling Wearever and Mirro products
Presto
Information from Presto industries including an online catalog



Is it necessary to process jams and jellies in a boiling water bath or can I safely seal them with paraffin?

To prevent mold growth, flavor loss, color changes and surface darkening, all cooked fruit spreads must be heat processed. Paraffin is no longer recommended as a seal because it has a tendency to come loose and allow mold to grow.

To heat process, place jars of hot jam/jelly in a water bath canner filled with hot water. The water should be one inch over the tops of the jars. Heat the water to boiling, then begin timing.

If you live in one of the following Iowa counties, you are at an altitude of less than 1,000 feet and should process half-pints in a covered canner for 5 minutes: Benton, Black Hawk, Cedar, Clinton, Davis, Des Moines, Henry, Iowa, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Johnson, Jones, Keokuk, Lee, Linn, Louisa, Mahaska, Marion, Monroe, Muscatine, Polk, Poweshiek, Scott, Van Buren, Wapello, Warren, Washington.

If your county is not listed above, the altitude is 1,000-2,000 feet, resulting in a process time of ten minutes for half-pints.



Reference: Making Fruit Spreads, Pm 1366, Iowa State University Extension



The cooked jam I made with powdered pectin is runny. Is there a way I can make it set up?

Jams and jellies that are too soft can sometimes be improved by recooking. Measure 4 cups of the jam and set it aside. In a large saucepan, combine 1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice, and 4 teaspoons powdered pectin. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly.

Add the 4 cups of jam and bring to a rolling boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Boil hard for 30 seconds. Remove from heat, quickly skim off foam and fill sterile jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe jar rims. Adjust for 5 minutes if you live in one of the following counties: Benton, Black Hawk, Cedar, Clinton, Davis, Des Moines, Henry, Iowa, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Johnson, Jones, Keokuk, Lee, Linn, Louisa, Mahaska, Marion, Monroe, Muscatine, Polk, Poweshiek, Scott, Van Buren, Wapello, Warren, Washington.

If your county is not listed above, the altitude is 1,000-2,000 feet, resulting in a process time of 10 minutes for half-pints.



Reference: Making Fruit Spreads, Pm 1366, Iowa State University Extension



How can I make my cooked jelly set up?

For each quart of jelly, have ready 3/4 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons liquid pectin. Measure 4 cups jelly into a large saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and quickly add the sugar, lemon juice and pectin. Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil hard for 1 minute. Quickly skim off foam and fill sterile jars with jelly, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe jar rims. Adjust new lids and process in boiling water canner for five minutes if you live in one of the following counties: Benton, Black Hawk, Cedar, Clinton, Davis, Des Moines, Henry, Iowa, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Johnson, Jones, Keokuk, Lee, Linn, Louisa, Mahaska, Marion, Monroe, Muscatine, Polk, Poweshiek, Scott, Van Buren, Wapello, Warren, Washington.

If your county is not listed above, the altitude is 1,000-2,000 feet, resulting in a process time of 10 minutes for half-pints.



Reference: Making Fruit Spreads, Pm 1366, Iowa State University Extension



What kind of vinegar is best for making pickles?

Use cider or white vinegar with 4 to 6 percent acetic acid. This is the range of acidity of most high quality, commercially bottled vinegars. Check the label to make sure the vinegar contains 4 to 6 percent acetic acid; 40 to 60 grain acetic acid means the same thing.

Either cider vinegar or white distilled vinegar can be used in pickle recipes. Cider vinegar has a mellow flavor and good aroma, but may darken white or light-colored fruits and vegetables. White distilled vinegar has a sharper taste. It is often used for onions, cauliflower and pears where clearness of color is desired.

DO NOT use homemade vinegar or vinegar of unknown acidity in pickling.

 



Reference: Making Pickle Products, Pm 1368, Iowa State University Extension



My pickles were very sour last year. Can I dilute the vinegar to improve the flavor?
No. Follow the recipe for the amount of vinegar and water to use. If you add more water, the pickles may spoil. If a less sour product is preferred, add sugar rather than decrease the vinegar.

Reference: So Easy to Preserve, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension



Can I use table salt in my pickle recipe?
No. Canning or pickling salt should be used when making pickles. Table salt is pure but it contains iodine and anti-caking agents that might cause pickles to darken or the liquid in the jars to become cloudy. 

Reference: Making Pickles and Pickled Products, Pm 1368, Iowa State University Extension



My cucumbers are not ripening at the same rate. How long can I keep cucumbers before making pickles?
Plan to pickle cucumbers within 24 hours after harvesting. If cucumbers are not fresh when pickling is begun, pickles can be hollow as a result.

Reference: Making Pickles and Pickled Products, Pm 1368, Iowa State University Extension



My pickle recipe calls for soaking the cucumbers in a lime solution. What type of lime should I buy?
Pickling lime is also known as slaked lime or calcium hydroxide. Food-grade lime can be purchased at most supermarkets and drugstores. Do not use quick lime (calcium oxide) or agriculture lime. Quick lime is caustic and dangerous.

Reference: Making Pickles and Pickles Products, Pm 1368, Iowa State University Extension



What kind of container is best for fermenting sauerkraut or large batches of pickles?
Fermented pickles and sauerkraut are traditionally fermented in stoneware crocks, but they can also be brined in large containers made of glass, unchipped enamelware, or food grade plastic. Large plastic pails can be purchased at restaurants or home winemaking shops. Do not use plastic wastebaskets or garbage cans or copper, iron, or galvanized metal containers.

Reference: Making Pickles and Pickled Products, Pm 1368, Iowa State University Extension



Why did the garlic cloves in my pickles turn green or bluish green?
This reaction may be due to iron, tin or aluminum in your cooking pot, water or water pipes reacting with the pigments in the garlic. Or, the garlic may naturally have more bluish pigment, and it is more evident after pickling. Immature bulbs should be cured 2-4 weeks at 70F. The pickles are safe to eat.

Reference: So Easy to Preserve, University of Georgia Extension Service



My canned green beans lost some liquid during the processing time. Are they safe? Can I open them to add more liquid?

If the jars were processed correctly and are sealed, DO NOT open them to replace the liquid. The food may darken, but it will not spoil.

Here are some reasons for liquid loss in canning:

  • Food packed too tightly in jars
  • Air bubbles not removed before capping the jar
  • Pressure canner not operated correctly or pressure fluctuating during processing
  • Lowering pressure in canner suddenly after processing. Do not open canner lid until the pressure has returned to zero.
  • Starchy foods may absorb liquid during canning.


Reference: So Easy to Preserve, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service



The sealed jars of canned tomatoes I put in the pantry are now unsealed. Can I still use the tomatoes if I boil them?

No. It is not safe to use the tomatoes.

There are three primary reasons why jars of sealed food come unsealed:

  • Food not processed by the recommended method and for specified time
  • Food particles left on the sealing surface of the jar
  • Hairline cracks in the jar


Reference: Canning Vegetables, Pm 1044, Iowa State University Extension



Why is open kettle canning not safe?
In open kettle canning, food is cooked, then packed into hot jars and sealed without processing. The temperatures reached in this type of canning are not high enough to destroy all spoilage and food poisoning organisms that may be in the food. Also, when food is transferred from the kettle to the jar, microorganisms can enter the food and cause spoilage.

Reference: So Easy To Preserve, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension



What is the best method for freezing carrots?

Trim, wash, and scrape carrots. Dice or slice them into pieces that are approximately 1/4 inch thick. Blanch 2 minutes. Chill in ice water. Pack tightly in freezer bags or rigid containers. Squeeze as much air as possible from bags before sealing. Leave 1/2 inch headspace for expansion in containers.

To blanch vegetables in boiling water, start counting blanching time as soon as the vegetable is placed in boiling water. Blanch no more than 1 pound of vegetables per gallon of boiling water at a time. Immerse wire basket or mesh bag with vegetables in boiling water. Cover and blanch for required time. Cool immediately in ice water for the same time as for blanching. Drain thoroughly. 


Related Information:
Freezing Fruits and Vegetables
Iowa State University Extension publication with detailed description about preparing and packaging foods for freezing



How do you freeze sour cherries?

To freeze red sour cherries, sometimes called pie cherries, wash them in cold water, sort, and remove pits. Pack in sugar syrup made by mixing 4 cups sugar to 4 3/4 cups water. For better color retention add 1/2 teaspoon ascorbic acid to the syrup. If freezing cherries for pies, combine 1 1/2 to 2 cups sugar with 4 cups pitted cherries for a 9-inch pie. Add 1/4 teaspoon ascorbic acid, if desired.

Pack fruits in freezer bags or rigid containers. Squeeze as much air as possible from bags before sealing. Leave 1/2 inch headspace for expansion in containers. 


Related Information:
Freezing Fruits and Vegetables
Iowa State University Extension publication with detailed description about preparing and packaging foods for freezing



What is the best method for freezing cantaloupe?

Wash melon in cold water. Peel and cut flesh into 1/2 to 3/4 inch cubes or balls. Cover with syrup made by mixing 2 cups sugar with 1 quart water. Flavor with lime juice and/or add whole seedless grapes, if desired.

Pack fruits in freezer bags or rigid containers. Squeeze as much air as possible from bags before sealing. Leave 1/2 inch headspace for expansion in containers. Because freezing melons softens their texture, serve partially frozen.

 


Related Information:
Freezing Fruits and Vegetables
Iowa State University publication with detailed description about preparing and packaging foods for freezing



What is the best method for freezing okra?
Wash okra. Cut off stems without opening seed cells. Blanch small pods 3 minutes; large pods, 4 minutes. Chill in ice water. Pack tightly in freezer bags or rigid containers. Squeeze as much air as possible from bags before sealing. Leave 1/2 inch headspace for expansion in containers.

To blanch vegetables in boiling water, start counting blanching time as soon as the vegetable is placed in boiling water. Blanch no more than 1 pound of vegetables per gallon of boiling water at a time. Immerse wire basket or mesh bag with vegetables in boiling water. Cover and blanch for required time. Cool immediately in ice water for the same time as for blanching. Drain thoroughly. 


Related Information:
Freezing Fruits and Vegetables
Iowa State University Extension publication with detailed description about preparing and packaging foods for freezing


Canning

How can tomatoes be preserved?

Tomatoes can be safely preserved by the boiling water bath process, pressure canning or freezing. Follow USDA recommended guidelines for processing all foods. To be sure you have current information, get a copy of Canning and Freezing Tomatoes, http://www.extension.iastate.edu/Publications/PM638.pdf.



Reference: Canning and Freezing Tomatoes, PM 638, Iowa State University Extension
Related Information:
Preserve Food Safely
A complete listing of Iowa State University fact sheets and other resources for home food preservation



Are there special concerns in canning tomatoes?

Yes, tomato varieties vary in acidity. Growing conditions, climate and locations also affect the acidity level. Overripe and infected tomatoes may be low enough in acid to support Clostridium botulinum. Use only firm, ripe tomatoes that have no spoiled parts or mold. Tomatoes harvested from dead vines are low in acid. They can be eaten fresh or frozen, but do not can tomatoes from dead vines.



Reference: Canning and Freezing Tomatoes, Pm 638, Iowa State University Extension



What does "acidifying" tomatoes mean?

To ensure safe acidity levels in your whole, crushed or juiced tomatoes, you must add bottled lemon juice or food grade citric acid to each jar before processing. For quarts, use 2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice or 1/2 teaspoon citric acid per quart. For pints use 1 tablespoon bottled lemon juice or 1/4 teaspoon citric acid per pint. Food grade citric acid is available at some food stores or drug stores. Do not substitute ascorbic acid for citric acid. Four tablespoons vinegar per quart can be substituted for the lemon juice or citric acid, but it may cause undesirable changes in flavor.



Reference: Canning and Freezing Tomatoes, Pm 638, Iowa State University Extension



In order to safely can tomatoes, how long should they be processed?

Processing time will vary depending on how you prepare the tomatoes.  Do you pack them hot or raw, whole or crushed, pieces or juice?  Are you using a water bath canner or a pressure canner?  To be sure you have the correct information, we encourage you to get a copy of Canning and Freezing Tomatoes, Pm 638, http://www.extension.iastate.edu/Publications/PM638.pdf.



Reference: Canning and Freezing Tomatoes, Pm 638, Iowa State University Extension



Can salsa be canned?
Canning salsa or other mixed tomato products, that add vegetables such as onions, green peppers, or celery requires recipes that have been carefully designed and tested to meet the proper pH or acidity level. Use up-to-date, tested recipes that meet USDA guidelines. Do not change the proportion of ingredients in these recipes. If you have a favorite homemade recipe or want to vary the ingredients, it is best to freeze the product to ensure safety.

Reference: So Easy To Preserve, University of Georgia Extension Service
Related Information:
Penn State Food Preservation Database
Source of USDA recommended salsa recipes



Where can I get replacement parts for my pressure canner?

To find parts for pressure canners check local hardware stores that carry canning supplies or one of the major manufacturers of pressure canners. It may be difficult or impossible to find parts for some canners. Following are the phone numbers and addresses for three companies:

Mirro Corporation
WearEver Consumer Care, 196 Boston Ave., Medford, MA  02155
800/527-7727

National Presto Industries, Inc.
3925 N. Hastings Way, Eau Claire, WI 54703-3703
800/877-0441

Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry Co. P.O. Box 246, Manitowoc, WI  54221-0246  920/682-8627

Presto has parts for some models of other brands-Kook Kwik, Maid of Honor, Magic Seal and Peerless.  Wisconsing Aluminum manufactures the All American Canner.


Related Information:
Wisconsin Aluminum
Replacement parts for All American Canners
Wearever
Provides a directory of dealers selling Wearever and Mirro products
Presto
Information from Presto industries including an online catalog



My canned green beans lost some liquid during the processing time. Are they safe? Can I open them to add more liquid?

If the jars were processed correctly and are sealed, DO NOT open them to replace the liquid. The food may darken, but it will not spoil.

Here are some reasons for liquid loss in canning:

  • Food packed too tightly in jars
  • Air bubbles not removed before capping the jar
  • Pressure canner not operated correctly or pressure fluctuating during processing
  • Lowering pressure in canner suddenly after processing. Do not open canner lid until the pressure has returned to zero.
  • Starchy foods may absorb liquid during canning.


Reference: So Easy to Preserve, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service



The sealed jars of canned tomatoes I put in the pantry are now unsealed. Can I still use the tomatoes if I boil them?

No. It is not safe to use the tomatoes.

There are three primary reasons why jars of sealed food come unsealed:

  • Food not processed by the recommended method and for specified time
  • Food particles left on the sealing surface of the jar
  • Hairline cracks in the jar


Reference: Canning Vegetables, Pm 1044, Iowa State University Extension



Why is open kettle canning not safe?
In open kettle canning, food is cooked, then packed into hot jars and sealed without processing. The temperatures reached in this type of canning are not high enough to destroy all spoilage and food poisoning organisms that may be in the food. Also, when food is transferred from the kettle to the jar, microorganisms can enter the food and cause spoilage.

Reference: So Easy To Preserve, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension


Freezing

Can tomatoes be frozen?
Tomatoes can easily be frozen. Wash and peel them, leave whole or cut them up. They can be frozen in the raw form or cooked until tender, cooled and frozen.

Reference: Canning and Freezing Tomatoes, Pm 638, Iowa State University Extension



Can eggs be frozen?

Yes. Thoroughly mix the yolks and the whites but do not whip in air. To prevent graininess in the yolks, add 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, 1 1/2 tablespoons corn syrup OR 1/2 teaspoon salt per cup whole eggs, depending on intended use. Package, allowing 1/2-inch headspace, seal and freeze.

The egg mixture can be frozen in ice cube trays. Measure 3 tablespoons of egg mixture into each compartment of an ice cube tray. Freeze until solid.  Remove frozen cubes and package in freezer containers. Seal and freeze. Three tablespoons of the egg mixture (one cube) equals one whole egg.



Reference: So Easy to Preserve, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service



Is it a good idea to freeze cheese?
It depends on the type of cheese. Hard or semi-hard cheese can be frozen if it is packaged in 1/2 pound to 1 pound amounts. It may become crumbly and mealy when thawed, but will retain its flavor. Cream cheese and cottage cheese do not freeze well. Pasteurized processed cheese (American cheese slices, for example) can be frozen for 2 to 3 months.

Reference: So Easy to Preserve, University of Georgia Extension Service



What is the best way to freeze a fruit pie like apple or cherry?

Here is the method for freezing unbaked fruit pies:
Make your pie as usual except add 1 extra tablespoon flour or tapioca or 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch to juicy fillings to prevent boiling over when the pie is baked. Do not cut vents in the top crust. Freeze in the pan and package in an airtight container or freezer bag. Unbaked fresh pies have a better fresh-fruit flavor than frozen baked pies, but the bottom crust tends to get soggy.

When you are ready to bake the pie, cut vent holes in the upper crust and set the pie on a cookie sheet. Bake without thawing at 450F, 15-20 minutes. Then reduce heat to 375F for 20-30 minutes or until the top crust is brown.

If you want to bake your pie before freezing, then follow this method:
Bake as usual and cool quickly. Package in an airtight container or freezer bag and freeze. When you remove the pie from the freezer, let it stand at room temperature for about 15 minutes. Then heat in 350F oven until warm, about 30 minutes. Use the pie within 3-4 months of freezing for best quality.



Reference: Freezing Prepared Foods, Pm 799, Iowa State University Extension



What is the best way to freeze a pumpkin pie?

Freeze your pumpkin pie unbaked. Prepare the pie shell and filling as usual. Have the filling cold before adding it to the unbaked, chilled pie shell. Package and freeze.

When you are ready to use your pie, bake it without thawing at 400F for 10 minutes. Then reduce the oven temperature to 325F to finish baking. Use the pie within 4-5 weeks of freezing for best quality.



Reference: Freezing Prepared Foods, Pm 799, Iowa State University Extension



What is the best method for freezing lima beans?
Wash, shell, and sort lima beans. Blanch small beans, 2 minutes; medium beans, 3 minutes; large beans, 4 minutes. If desired, blanch in the pod and shell after cooling. Chill in ice water. Pack tightly in freezer bags or rigid containers. Squeeze as much air as possible from bags before sealing. Leave 1/2 inch headspace for expansion in containers.

To blanch vegetables in boiling water, start counting blanching time as soon as the vegetable is placed in boiling water. Blanch no more than 1 pound of vegetables per gallon of boiling water at a time. Immerse wire basket or mesh bag with vegetables in boiling water. Cover and blanch for required time. Cool immediately in ice water for the same time as for blanching. Drain thoroughly. 


Related Information:
Freezing Fruits and Vegetables
Iowa State University Extension publication with detailed description about preparing and packing foods for freezing.



What is the best method for freezing asparagus?
Wash and sort small, medium, and large stalks of asparagus. Leave whole or cut in 1- or 2-inch lengths. Blanch small stalks 2 minutes,  medium stalks 3 minutes, or large stalks (1/2- to 3/4-inch diameter) 4 minutes. Chill in ice water for the same time. Pack tightly in freezer bags or rigid containers. Squeeze as much air as possible from bags before sealing. Leave 1/2 inch headspace for expansion in containers.

To blanch vegetables in boiling water, start counting blanching time as soon as the vegetable is placed in boiling water. Blanch no more than 1 pound of vegetables per gallon of boiling water at a time. Immerse wire basket or mesh bag with vegetables in boiling water. Cover and blanch for required time. Cool immediately in ice water for the same time as for blanching. Drain thoroughly. 


Related Information:
Freezing Fruits and Vegetables
Iowa State University Extension publication with detailed description about preparing and packaging foods for freezing



What is the best method for freezing beans?
Wash green beans, snip off tips, and sort for size. Cut or break into suitable pieces or freeze small beans whole. Blanch 3 minutes. Chill in ice water. Pack tightly in freezer bags or rigid containers. Squeeze as much air as possible from bags before sealing. Leave 1/2 inch headspace for expansion in containers.

To blanch vegetables in boiling water, start counting blanching time as soon as the vegetable is placed in boiling water. Blanch no more than 1 pound of vegetables per gallon of boiling water at a time. Immerse wire basket or mesh bag with vegetables in boiling water. Cover and blanch for required time. Cool immediately in ice water for the same time as for blanching. Drain thoroughly. 


Related Information:
Freezing Fruits and Vegetables
Iowa State University Extension publication with detailed description about preparing and packaging foods for freezing



What is the best method for freezing beets?

Remove all but 2 inches of top; wash beets. Cook until tender. Chill. Remove skins. Slice or dice large beets. Since beets are completely cooked, blanching is unnecessary. Pack tightly in freezer bags or rigid containers. Squeeze as much air as possible from bags before sealing. Leave 1/2 inch headspace for expansion in containers.

 


Related Information:
Freezing Fruits and Vegetables
Iowa State University Extension publication with detailed description about preparing and packaging foods for freezing



What is the best method for freezing broccoli?
Remove tough leaves and woody butt ends from broccoli. Cut through stalks lengthwise, leaving heads 1 inch in diameter. Soak 1/2 hour in salt brine (1/2 cup salt to 1 quart water) to drive out small insects. Rinse and drain. Blanch 3 minutes in water or steam-blanch 5 minutes. Chill in ice water. Pack tightly in freezer bags or rigid containers. Squeeze as much air as possible from bags before sealing. Leave 1/2 inch headspace for expansion in containers.

To blanch vegetables in boiling water, start counting blanching time as soon as the vegetable is placed in boiling water. Blanch no more than 1 pound of vegetables per gallon of boiling water at a time. Immerse wire basket or mesh bag with vegetables in boiling water. Cover and blanch for required time. Cool immediately in ice water for the same time as for blanching. Drain thoroughly. 


Related Information:
Freezing Fruits and Vegetables
Iowa State University Extension publication with detailed description about preparing and packaging foods for freezing



What is the best method for freezing brussels sprouts?
Wash and trim brussels sprouts. Soak 1/2 hour in salt brine (1/2 cup salt to 1 quart water) to drive out small insects. Rinse and drain. Blanch small heads 2 minutes; medium heads, 4 minutes; large heads, 5 minutes. Chill in ice water. Pack tightly in freezer bags or rigid containers. Squeeze as much air as possible from bags before sealing. Leave 1/2 inch headspace for expansion in containers.

To blanch vegetables in boiling water, start counting blanching time as soon as the vegetable is placed in boiling water. Blanch no more than 1 pound of vegetables per gallon of boiling water at a time. Immerse wire basket or mesh bag with vegetables in boiling water. Cover and blanch for required time. Cool immediately in ice water for the same time as for blanching. Drain thoroughly. 


Related Information:
Freezing Fruits and Vegetables
Iowa State University Extension publication with detailed description about preparing and packaging foods for freezing



What is the best method for freezing cabbage?
Wash cabbage and discard coarse outer leaves. Cut into wedges or shred coarsely. Blanch wedges 3 minutes and shredded cabbage, 1 1/2  minutes. Chill in ice water. Pack tightly in freezer bags or rigid containers. Squeeze as much air as possible from bags before sealing. Leave 1/2 inch headspace for expansion in containers.

To blanch vegetables in boiling water, start counting blanching time as soon as the vegetable is placed in boiling water. Blanch no more than 1 pound of vegetables per gallon of boiling water at a time. Immerse wire basket or mesh bag with vegetables in boiling water. Cover and blanch for required time. Cool immediately in ice water for the same time as for blanching. Drain thoroughly. 


Related Information:
Freezing Fruits and Vegetables
Iowa State University Extension publication with detailed description about preparing and packaging foods for freezing



What is the best method for freezing cauliflower?
Trim and wash cauliflower. Slit heads into individual pieces 1 inch in diameter. Soak 1/2  hour in salt brine (1/2  cup salt to 1 quart water). Rinse and drain. Blanch 3 minutes. Chill in ice water. Pack tightly in freezer bags or rigid containers. Squeeze as much air as possible from bags before sealing. Leave 1/2 inch headspace for expansion in containers.

To blanch vegetables in boiling water, start counting blanching time as soon as the vegetable is placed in boiling water. Blanch no more than 1 pound of vegetables per gallon of boiling water at a time. Immerse wire basket or mesh bag with vegetables in boiling water. Cover and blanch for required time. Cool immediately in ice water for the same time as for blanching. Drain thoroughly. 


Related Information:
Freezing Fruits and Vegetables
Iowa State University Extension publication with detailed description about preparing and packaging foods for freezing



What is the best method for freezing corn on-the-cob?
Husk, remove silks, and trim ends of corn. Use a large kettle for blanching. Blanch small ears (1 1/4-inch diameter) 7 minutes; medium ears (1 1/4- to 1 1/2-inch), 9 minutes; large ears (over 1 1/2-inch diameter), 11 minutes. Chill in ice water until cool. Corn that is not thoroughly cooled may become mushy.  Cooling corn-on-the-cob will take longer than the blanching time. Pack tightly in freezer bags or rigid containers. Squeeze as much air as possible from bags before sealing. Leave 1/2 inch headspace for expansion in containers.

To blanch vegetables in boiling water, start counting blanching time as soon as the vegetable is placed in boiling water. Blanch no more than 1 pound of vegetables per gallon of boiling water at a time. Immerse wire basket or mesh bag with vegetables in boiling water. Cover and blanch for required time. Cool immediately in ice water. Drain thoroughly. 


Related Information:
Freezing Fruits and Vegetables
Iowa State University Extension publication with detailed description about preparing and packaging foods for freezing



What is the best method for freezing sweet corn that is off the cob?
Husk, remove silks, and trim ends of sweet corn. Use a large kettle. Blanch whole kernel corn to be cut from the cob 4 1/2  minutes. Chill in ice water. Cut from cob after cooling. To freeze cream style corn, follow the same steps but cut only the kernel tips from the cob. Then scrape the cobs with the back of a knife to form juice and remove the heart of the kernel. Pack tightly in freezer bags or rigid containers. Squeeze as much air as possible from bags before sealing. Leave 1/2 inch headspace for expansion in containers.

To blanch vegetables in boiling water, start counting blanching time as soon as the vegetable is placed in boiling water. Blanch no more than 1 pound of vegetables per gallon of boiling water at a time. Immerse wire basket or mesh bag with vegetables in boiling water. Cover and blanch for required time. Cool immediately in ice water for the same time as for blanching. Drain thoroughly. 


Related Information:
Freezing Fruits and Vegetables
Iowa State University Extension publication with detailed description about preparing and packaging foods for freezing



What is the best method for freezing herbs?
Wash and drain herbs, but do not blanch leaves. Wrap a few sprigs or leaves in foil or seal in plastic bags.  Store in carton or glass jar in freezer.
Related Information:
Freezing Fruits and Vegetables
Iowa State University Extension publication with detailed description about preparing and packaging foods for freezing



What is the best method for freezing kohlrabi?

Remove tops of kohlrabi. Wash, peel, and dice in 1/2 inch cubes. Blanch 1 minute.Chill in ice water. Pack tightly in freezer bags or rigid containers. Squeeze as much air as possible from bags before sealing. Leave 1/2 inch headspace for expansion in containers.

To blanch vegetables in boiling water, start counting blanching time as soon as the vegetable is placed in boiling water. Blanch no more than 1 pound of vegetables per gallon of boiling water at a time. Immerse wire basket or mesh bag with vegetables in boiling water. Cover and blanch for required time. Cool immediately in ice water for the same time as for blanching. Drain thoroughly. 


Related Information:
Freezing Fruits and Vegetables
Iowa State University Extension publication with detailed description about preparing and packaging foods for freezing



What is the best method for freezing mushrooms?
Wash mushrooms and remove stem base. Freeze small mushrooms whole; cut large ones into 4 or more pieces. When blanching mushrooms, add 1 teaspoon citric acid, or 1 tablespoon lemon juice, or 1/2  teaspoon ascorbic acid per quart of water to prevent darkening. Blanch medium or small whole mushrooms 5 minutes; cut pieces, 3 minutes. Chill in ice water. Pack tightly in freezer bags or rigid containers. Squeeze as much air as possible from bags before sealing. Leave 1/2 inch headspace for expansion in containers.

To blanch vegetables in boiling water, start counting blanching time as soon as the vegetable is placed in boiling water. Blanch no more than 1 pound of vegetables per gallon of boiling water at a time. Immerse wire basket or mesh bag with vegetables in boiling water. Cover and blanch for required time. Cool immediately in ice water for the same time as for blanching. Drain thoroughly. 


Related Information:
Freezing Fruits and Vegetables
Iowa State University Extension publication with detailed description about preparing and packaging foods for freezing



What is the best method for freezing okra?
Wash okra. Cut off stems without opening seed cells. Blanch small pods 3 minutes; large pods, 4 minutes. Chill in ice water. Pack tightly in freezer bags or rigid containers. Squeeze as much air as possible from bags before sealing. Leave 1/2 inch headspace for expansion in containers.

To blanch vegetables in boiling water, start counting blanching time as soon as the vegetable is placed in boiling water. Blanch no more than 1 pound of vegetables per gallon of boiling water at a time. Immerse wire basket or mesh bag with vegetables in boiling water. Cover and blanch for required time. Cool immediately in ice water for the same time as for blanching. Drain thoroughly. 


Related Information:
Freezing Fruits and Vegetables
Iowa State University Extension publication with detailed description about preparing and packaging foods for freezing



What is the best method for freezing green or black-eyed peas?
Wash peas. Shell small amount at a time. Blanch green peas for 1 1/2  minutes. Blanch black-eyed peas 2 minutes. Chill in ice water. Pack tightly in freezer bags or rigid containers. Squeeze as much air as possible from bags before sealing. Leave 1/2 inch headspace for expansion in containers.

To blanch vegetables in boiling water, start counting blanching time as soon as the vegetable is placed in boiling water. Blanch no more than 1 pound of vegetables per gallon of boiling water at a time. Immerse wire basket or mesh bag with vegetables in boiling water. Cover and blanch for required time. Cool immediately in ice water for the same time as for blanching. Drain thoroughly. 


Related Information:
Freezing Fruits and Vegetables
Iowa State University Extension publication with detailed description about preparing and packaging foods for freezing



What is the best method for freezing edible pod peas (sugar, Chinese, snow peas or sugar snap)?
Wash peas. Remove stems, blossom ends, and any string. Leave whole. Blanch 1 1/2  to 3 minutes. Chill in ice water. Pack tightly in freezer bags or rigid containers. Squeeze as much air as possible from bags before sealing. Leave 1/2 inch headspace for expansion in containers.

To blanch vegetables in boiling water, start counting blanching time as soon as the vegetable is placed in boiling water. Blanch no more than 1 pound of vegetables per gallon of boiling water at a time. Immerse wire basket or mesh bag with vegetables in boiling water. Cover and blanch for required time. Cool immediately in ice water for the same time as for blanching. Drain thoroughly. 


Related Information:
Freezing Fruits and Vegetables
Iowa State University Extension publication with detailed description about preparing and packaging foods for freezing



What is the best method for freezing hot peppers?
Do not handle or cut peppers without plastic or rubber gloves. Select crisp green or bright red pods. Wash and drain. Pack tightly in freezer bags or rigid containers. Squeeze as much air as possible from bags before sealing. Leave 1/2 inch headspace for expansion in containers.
Related Information:
Freezing Fruits and Vegetables
Iowa State University Extension publication with detailed description about preparing and packaging foods for freezing



What is the best method for freezing sweet, green, or red peppers?
Wash peppers, cut out stem, and remove seeds. Halve. Blanch halved peppers 3 minutes.  Chill in ice water. Chopped peppers can be frozen without blanching. Pack tightly in freezer bags or rigid containers. Squeeze as much air as possible from bags before sealing. Leave 1/2 inch headspace for expansion in containers.

To blanch vegetables in boiling water, start counting blanching time as soon as the vegetable is placed in boiling water. Blanch no more than 1 pound of vegetables per gallon of boiling water at a time. Immerse wire basket or mesh bag with vegetables in boiling water. Cover and blanch for required time. Cool immediately in ice water for the same time as for blanching. Drain thoroughly. 


Related Information:
Freezing Fruits and Vegetables
Iowa State University Extension publication with detailed description about preparing and packaging foods for freezing



What is the best method for freezing pumpkin and winter squash?
Cut or break pumpkin or winter squash into fairly uniform pieces. Remove seeds. Bake at 350°F, or steam until tender. Cool, scoop pulp from rind, and mash or put through ricer. Spoon into moisture-proof containers. Leave 1/2 inch headspace for expansion in containers.
Related Information:
Freezing Fruits and Vegetables
Iowa State University Extension publication with detailed description about preparing and packaging foods for freezing



What is the best method for freezing potatoes?
Wash; peel; remove deep eyes, bruises, and green surface coloring from potatoes. Cut in 1/2- to 1/2-inch cubes. Blanch 5 minutes. Cool. For hash browns, cook unpeeled until almost done; peel and grate; form in desired shapes; freeze.  For french fries, peel and cut into thin strips; fry in deep fat until very light golden brown; drain and cool; complete browning before serving. Pack tightly in freezer bags or rigid containers. Squeeze as much air as possible from bags before sealing. Leave 1/2 inch headspace for expansion in containers.

To blanch vegetables in boiling water, start counting blanching time as soon as the vegetable is placed in boiling water. Blanch no more than 1 pound of vegetables per gallon of boiling water at a time. Immerse wire basket or mesh bag with vegetables in boiling water. Cover and blanch for required time. Cool immediately in ice water for the same time as for blanching. Drain thoroughly. 

 

Related Information:
Freezing Fruits and Vegetables
Iowa State University Extension publication with detailed description about preparing and packaging foods for freezing



What is the best method for freezing new potatoes?
Choose potatoes of uniform size; scrub vigorously to remove tender skin. For 3/4-inch diameter potatoes, blanch 4 minutes. For 1-inch diameter, blanch 6 minutes. For 1 1/2-inch diameter, blanch 7 minutes. For those larger than 1 1/2-inch diameter, blanch 8 to 10 minutes. Chill potatoes in ice water 3 to 5 minutes; drain well. Pack tightly in freezer bags or rigid containers. Squeeze as much air as possible from bags before sealing. Leave 1/2 inch headspace for expansion in containers. Use within a month for best quality.

To blanch vegetables in boiling water, start counting blanching time as soon as the vegetable is placed in boiling water. Blanch no more than 1 pound of vegetables per gallon of boiling water at a time. Immerse wire basket or mesh bag with vegetables in boiling water. Cover and blanch for required time. Cool immediately in ice water. Drain thoroughly. 

    

Related Information:
Freezing Fruits and Vegetables
Iowa State University Extension publication with detailed description about preparing and packaging foods for freezing



What is the best method for freezing spinach and other greens?
Sort spinach or desired greens and remove tough stems. Blanch most leafy greens 2 minutes. Blanch very tender spinach 1 1/2 minutes. Blanch collards and stem portions of Swiss chard 3 to 4 minutes.  Chill in ice water. Pack tightly in freezer bags or rigid containers. Squeeze as much air as possible from bags before sealing. Leave 1/2 inch headspace for expansion in containers.

To blanch vegetables in boiling water, start counting blanching time as soon as the vegetable is placed in boiling water. Blanch no more than 1 pound of vegetables per gallon of boiling water at a time. Immerse wire basket or mesh bag with vegetables in boiling water. Cover and blanch for required time. Cool immediately in ice water for the same time as for blanching. Drain thoroughly. 


Related Information:
Freezing Fruits and Vegetables
Iowa State University Extension publication with detailed description about preparing and packaging foods for freezing



What is the best method for freezing summer squash and zucchini?
Wash, peel, and cut summer squash or zucchini in 1/2-inch slices. Blanch 3 minutes. Chill in ice water. Pack tightly in freezer bags or rigid containers. Squeeze as much air as possible from bags before sealing. Leave 1/2 inch headspace for expansion in containers.

To blanch vegetables in boiling water, start counting blanching time as soon as the vegetable is placed in boiling water. Blanch no more than 1 pound of vegetables per gallon of boiling water at a time. Immerse wire basket or mesh bag with vegetables in boiling water. Cover and blanch for required time. Cool immediately in ice water for the same time as for blanching. Drain thoroughly. 

 

Related Information:
Freezing Fruits and Vegetables
Iowa State University Extension publication with detailed description about preparing and packaging foods for freezing



What is the best method for freezing tomato juice and purée?
Select firm, sound, ripe tomatoes.  Wash, core, and cut into pieces.  Simmer about 5 minutes and put through food mill for juice.  Cool.  For purée, cook juice until concentrated to about half its volume. Pack tightly in freezer bags or rigid containers. Squeeze as much air as possible from bags before sealing. Leave 1/2 inch headspace for expansion in containers.  
Related Information:
Freezing Fruits and Vegetables
Iowa State University Extension publication with detailed description about preparing and packaging foods for freezing



What is the best method for freezing avocados?
Avocados are not satisfactorily frozen whole or sliced, but can be mashed and frozen. Select avocados that are soft ripe. Peel, cut in half, and remove pit. Mash until puréed. Add 1/8 teaspoon ascorbic acid mixture per pint purée. Package. Use purée for sandwiches, dips, and salads.    
Related Information:
Freezing Fruits and Vegetables
Iowa State University Extension publication with detailed description about preparing and packaging foods for freezing



What is the best method for freezing blackberries, boysenberries, dewberries, loganberries, and youngberries?

Wash berries in cold water and sort. Pack in syrup made by mixing 3 cups sugar to 1 quart water. Or crush and pack using 1 cup sugar for 7 to 8 cups of fruit. For pies, pack berries dry without sugar.

Pack fruits in freezer bags or rigid containers. Squeeze as much air as possible from bags before sealing. Whole berries frozen without sugar may be placed in a single layer on a tray and frozen until nearly solid. Transfer to freezer bag or containers. Leave 1/2 inch headspace for expansion in containers.


Related Information:
Freezing Fruits and Vegetables
Iowa State University Extension publication with detailed description about preparing and packaging foods for freezing



What is the best method for freezing blueberries?

Wash blueberries in cold water and sort. For desserts, pack in syrup made by mixing 3 cups sugar to 1 quart water. Or pack using 1 cup sugar for 8 to 9 cups fruit. For pies, pack dry without sugar or sugar syrup.

Pack fruits in freezer bags or rigid containers. Squeeze as much air as possible from bags before sealing. Whole berries frozen without sugar may be placed in a single layer on a tray and frozen until nearly solid. Transfer to freezer bag or containers. Leave 1/2 inch headspace for expansion in containers.


Related Information:
Freezing Fruits and Vegetables
Iowa State University Extension publication with detailed description about preparing and packaging foods for freezing



What is the best method for freezing elderberries?

Wash elderberries in cold water and sort. For desserts, pack in syrup by mixing 3 cups sugar to 1 quart water. Or pack using 1 cup sugar for 8 to 9 cups fruit. For pies, pack dry without sugar or sugar syrup.

Pack fruits in freezer bags or rigid containers. Squeeze as much air as possible from bags before sealing. Whole berries frozen without sugar may be placed in a single layer on a tray and frozen until nearly solid. Transfer to freezer bag or containers. Leave 1/2 inch headspace for expansion in containers.


Related Information:
Freezing Fruits and Vegetables
Iowa State University Extension publication with detailed description about preparing and packaging foods for freezing



What is the best method for freezing huckleberries?

Wash huckleberries in cold water and sort. For desserts, pack in syrup made by mixing 3 cups sugar to 1 quart water. Or pack using 1 cup sugar for 8 to 9 cups fruit. For pies, pack dry without sugar or sugar syrup

Pack fruits in freezer bags or rigid containers. Squeeze as much air as possible from bags before sealing. Whole berries frozen without sugar may be placed in a single layer on a tray and frozen until nearly solid. Transfer to freezer bag or containers. Leave 1/2 inch headspace for expansion in containers.


Related Information:
Freezing Fruits and Vegetables
Iowa State University Extension publication with detailed description about preparing and packaging foods for freezing



What is the best method for freezing sweet cherries?

Wash sweet cherries in cold water and sort. Pack in syrup made by mixing 2 cups sugar, 1 quart water, and 1/2 teaspoon ascorbic acid. Add either 1 teaspoon citric acid or 4 teaspoons lemon juice for flavor.

Pack fruits in freezer bags or rigid containers. Squeeze as much air as possible from bags before sealing. Leave 1/2 inch headspace for expansion in containers. 


Related Information:
Freezing Fruits and Vegetables
Iowa State University Extension publication with detailed description about preparing and packaging foods for freezing



What is the best method for freezing cranberries?

Wash cranberries in cold water, sort, and pack without sugar.

Pack fruits in freezer bags or rigid containers. Squeeze as much air as possible from bags before sealing. Whole berries frozen without sugar may be placed in a single layer on a tray and frozen until nearly solid. Transfer to freezer bag or containers. Leave 1/2 inch headspace for expansion in containers.


Related Information:
Freezing Fruits and Vegetables
Iowa State University Extension publication with detailed description about preparing and packaging foods for freezing



What is the best method for freezing currants?

Wash currants in cold water, sort, and pack without sugar.

Pack fruits in freezer bags or rigid containers. Squeeze as much air as possible from bags before sealing. Leave 1/2 inch headspace for expansion in containers. 


Related Information:
Freezing Fruits and Vegetables
Iowa State University Extension publication with detailed description about preparing and packaging foods for freezing



What is the best method for freezing gooseberries?

Wash gooseberries in cold water and sort. Pack without sugar or syrup, or mix berries and sugar as called for in pie recipe, using 1 to 1 1/2 cups sugar for 4 cups berries.

Pack fruits in freezer bags or rigid containers. Squeeze as much air as possible from bags before sealing. Whole berries frozen without sugar may be placed in a single layer on a tray and frozen until nearly solid. Transfer to freezer bag or containers. Leave 1/2 inch headspace for expansion in containers.


Related Information:
Freezing Fruits and Vegetables
Iowa State University Extension publication with detailed description about preparing and packaging foods for freezing



What is the best method for freezing watermelon, honeydew, and other melons?

Wash watermelon in cold water. Peel and cut flesh into 1/2- to 3/4-inch cubes or balls. Cover with syrup made by mixing 2 cups sugar to 1 quart water. Flavor with lime juice and/or add whole seedless grapes, if desired.  

Pack fruits in freezer bags or rigid containers. Squeeze as much air as possible from bags before sealing. Leave 1/2 inch headspace for expansion in containers. Because freezing melons softens their texture, serve partially frozen.


Related Information:
Freezing Fruits and Vegetables
Iowa State University Extension publication with detailed description about preparing and packaging foods for freezing



What is the best method for freezing peaches?

Wash peaches in cold water and sort. Dip 3 or 4 peaches into boiling water until skins loosen. Chill. Peel and slice peaches into containers one-third full of syrup made by mixing 3 cups sugar, 1 quart water, and 1/2 teaspoon ascorbic acid. 

Pack fruits in freezer bags or rigid containers. Squeeze as much air as possible from bags before sealing. Leave 1/2 inch headspace for expansion in containers. 


Related Information:
Freezing Fruits and Vegetables
Iowa State University Extension publication with detailed description about preparing and packaging foods for freezing



What is the best method for freezing pears?

Select from full-flavored pears, not mealy in texture. Wash, peel, and core. Slice. Heat in a boiling syrup in the proportion of 3 cups sugar to 4 cups water for 1 to 2 minutes. Drain and cool. Add 3/4 teaspoon ascorbic acid to 1 quart syrup. 

Pack fruits in freezer bags or rigid containers. Squeeze as much air as possible from bags before sealing. Leave 1/2 inch headspace for expansion in containers. 


Related Information:
Freezing Fruits and Vegetables
Iowa State University Extension publication with detailed description about preparing and packaging foods for freezing



What is the best method for freezing pineapple?

Peel and core pineapple. Dice, slice, or cut into wedges, remove center core. Cover with syrup made by mixing 3 cups sugar to 1 quart water. Or pack using 1 cup sugar for 8 to 9 cups fruit. Do not use uncooked pineapple in gelatin mixtures.

Pack fruits in freezer bags or rigid containers. Squeeze as much air as possible from bags before sealing. Leave 1/2 inch headspace for expansion in containers. 


Related Information:
Freezing Fruits and Vegetables
Iowa State University Extension publication with detailed description about preparing and packaging foods for freezing



What is the best method for freezing plums?

Select firm, ripe plums soft enough to yield to slight pressure. Sort, wash, halve, and pit. For dry sugar pack, use 1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar per quart fruit. For syrup pack, cover plums with syrup made by mixing 3 cups sugar to 1 quart water. Or pack using 1 cup sugar for 7 to 8 cups fruit. 

Pack fruits in freezer bags or rigid containers. Squeeze as much air as possible from bags before sealing. Leave 1/2 inch headspace for expansion in containers. 


Related Information:
Freezing Fruits and Vegetables
Iowa State University Extension publication with detailed description about preparing and packaging foods for freezing



What is the best method for freezing raspberries?

Pack raspberries for jam without sweetening. Wash in cold water and sort. Pack raspberries in syrup made by mixing 3 cups sugar to 1 quart water. Or pack using 1 cup sugar for 7 to 8 cups fruit.

Pack fruits in freezer bags or rigid containers. Squeeze as much air as possible from bags before sealing. Whole berries frozen without sugar may be placed in a single layer on a tray and frozen until nearly solid. Transfer to freezer bag or containers. Leave 1/2 inch headspace for expansion in containers.


Related Information:
Freezing Fruits and Vegetables
Iowa State University Extension publication with detailed description about preparing and packaging foods for freezing



What is the best method for freezing rhubarb?

Remove leaves and woody ends of rhubarb, wash in cold water, and cut in 1-inch lengths. Do not blanch. For sauce, pack in syrup made by mixing 3 1/2 cups sugar to 1 quart water. For pies, pack using 1 cup sugar to 4 cups rhubarb, or pack without sugar for use within a few months. 

Pack fruits in freezer bags or rigid containers. Squeeze as much air as possible from bags before sealing. Leave 1/2 inch headspace for expansion in containers. 


Related Information:
Freezing Fruits and Vegetables
Iowa State University Extension publication with detailed description about preparing and packaging foods for freezing



What is the best method for freezing strawberries?

Wash strawberries in cold water, sort, and stem. Pack whole, sliced, or crushed berries with 1 cup sugar for 7 to 8 cups of fruit. Or pack whole berries in syrup made by mixing 3 to 4 cups sugar to 1 quart water.

Pack fruits in freezer bags or rigid containers. Squeeze as much air as possible from bags before sealing. Leave 1/2 inch headspace for expansion in containers. 


Related Information:
Freezing Fruits and Vegetables
Iowa State University Extension publication with detailed description about preparing and packaging foods for freezing



What is the best method for freezing carrots?

Trim, wash, and scrape carrots. Dice or slice them into pieces that are approximately 1/4 inch thick. Blanch 2 minutes. Chill in ice water. Pack tightly in freezer bags or rigid containers. Squeeze as much air as possible from bags before sealing. Leave 1/2 inch headspace for expansion in containers.

To blanch vegetables in boiling water, start counting blanching time as soon as the vegetable is placed in boiling water. Blanch no more than 1 pound of vegetables per gallon of boiling water at a time. Immerse wire basket or mesh bag with vegetables in boiling water. Cover and blanch for required time. Cool immediately in ice water for the same time as for blanching. Drain thoroughly. 


Related Information:
Freezing Fruits and Vegetables
Iowa State University Extension publication with detailed description about preparing and packaging foods for freezing



How do you freeze sour cherries?

To freeze red sour cherries, sometimes called pie cherries, wash them in cold water, sort, and remove pits. Pack in sugar syrup made by mixing 4 cups sugar to 4 3/4 cups water. For better color retention add 1/2 teaspoon ascorbic acid to the syrup. If freezing cherries for pies, combine 1 1/2 to 2 cups sugar with 4 cups pitted cherries for a 9-inch pie. Add 1/4 teaspoon ascorbic acid, if desired.

Pack fruits in freezer bags or rigid containers. Squeeze as much air as possible from bags before sealing. Leave 1/2 inch headspace for expansion in containers. 


Related Information:
Freezing Fruits and Vegetables
Iowa State University Extension publication with detailed description about preparing and packaging foods for freezing



What is the best method for freezing cantaloupe?

Wash melon in cold water. Peel and cut flesh into 1/2 to 3/4 inch cubes or balls. Cover with syrup made by mixing 2 cups sugar with 1 quart water. Flavor with lime juice and/or add whole seedless grapes, if desired.

Pack fruits in freezer bags or rigid containers. Squeeze as much air as possible from bags before sealing. Leave 1/2 inch headspace for expansion in containers. Because freezing melons softens their texture, serve partially frozen.

 


Related Information:
Freezing Fruits and Vegetables
Iowa State University publication with detailed description about preparing and packaging foods for freezing


Jams, Jellies, Spreads

Is it necessary to process jams and jellies in a boiling water bath or can I safely seal them with paraffin?

To prevent mold growth, flavor loss, color changes and surface darkening, all cooked fruit spreads must be heat processed. Paraffin is no longer recommended as a seal because it has a tendency to come loose and allow mold to grow.

To heat process, place jars of hot jam/jelly in a water bath canner filled with hot water. The water should be one inch over the tops of the jars. Heat the water to boiling, then begin timing.

If you live in one of the following Iowa counties, you are at an altitude of less than 1,000 feet and should process half-pints in a covered canner for 5 minutes: Benton, Black Hawk, Cedar, Clinton, Davis, Des Moines, Henry, Iowa, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Johnson, Jones, Keokuk, Lee, Linn, Louisa, Mahaska, Marion, Monroe, Muscatine, Polk, Poweshiek, Scott, Van Buren, Wapello, Warren, Washington.

If your county is not listed above, the altitude is 1,000-2,000 feet, resulting in a process time of ten minutes for half-pints.



Reference: Making Fruit Spreads, Pm 1366, Iowa State University Extension



The cooked jam I made with powdered pectin is runny. Is there a way I can make it set up?

Jams and jellies that are too soft can sometimes be improved by recooking. Measure 4 cups of the jam and set it aside. In a large saucepan, combine 1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice, and 4 teaspoons powdered pectin. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly.

Add the 4 cups of jam and bring to a rolling boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Boil hard for 30 seconds. Remove from heat, quickly skim off foam and fill sterile jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe jar rims. Adjust for 5 minutes if you live in one of the following counties: Benton, Black Hawk, Cedar, Clinton, Davis, Des Moines, Henry, Iowa, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Johnson, Jones, Keokuk, Lee, Linn, Louisa, Mahaska, Marion, Monroe, Muscatine, Polk, Poweshiek, Scott, Van Buren, Wapello, Warren, Washington.

If your county is not listed above, the altitude is 1,000-2,000 feet, resulting in a process time of 10 minutes for half-pints.



Reference: Making Fruit Spreads, Pm 1366, Iowa State University Extension



How can I make my cooked jelly set up?

For each quart of jelly, have ready 3/4 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons liquid pectin. Measure 4 cups jelly into a large saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and quickly add the sugar, lemon juice and pectin. Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil hard for 1 minute. Quickly skim off foam and fill sterile jars with jelly, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe jar rims. Adjust new lids and process in boiling water canner for five minutes if you live in one of the following counties: Benton, Black Hawk, Cedar, Clinton, Davis, Des Moines, Henry, Iowa, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Johnson, Jones, Keokuk, Lee, Linn, Louisa, Mahaska, Marion, Monroe, Muscatine, Polk, Poweshiek, Scott, Van Buren, Wapello, Warren, Washington.

If your county is not listed above, the altitude is 1,000-2,000 feet, resulting in a process time of 10 minutes for half-pints.



Reference: Making Fruit Spreads, Pm 1366, Iowa State University Extension



Why is open kettle canning not safe?
In open kettle canning, food is cooked, then packed into hot jars and sealed without processing. The temperatures reached in this type of canning are not high enough to destroy all spoilage and food poisoning organisms that may be in the food. Also, when food is transferred from the kettle to the jar, microorganisms can enter the food and cause spoilage.

Reference: So Easy To Preserve, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension


Pickles

What kind of vinegar is best for making pickles?

Use cider or white vinegar with 4 to 6 percent acetic acid. This is the range of acidity of most high quality, commercially bottled vinegars. Check the label to make sure the vinegar contains 4 to 6 percent acetic acid; 40 to 60 grain acetic acid means the same thing.

Either cider vinegar or white distilled vinegar can be used in pickle recipes. Cider vinegar has a mellow flavor and good aroma, but may darken white or light-colored fruits and vegetables. White distilled vinegar has a sharper taste. It is often used for onions, cauliflower and pears where clearness of color is desired.

DO NOT use homemade vinegar or vinegar of unknown acidity in pickling.

 



Reference: Making Pickle Products, Pm 1368, Iowa State University Extension



My pickles were very sour last year. Can I dilute the vinegar to improve the flavor?
No. Follow the recipe for the amount of vinegar and water to use. If you add more water, the pickles may spoil. If a less sour product is preferred, add sugar rather than decrease the vinegar.

Reference: So Easy to Preserve, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension



Can I use table salt in my pickle recipe?
No. Canning or pickling salt should be used when making pickles. Table salt is pure but it contains iodine and anti-caking agents that might cause pickles to darken or the liquid in the jars to become cloudy. 

Reference: Making Pickles and Pickled Products, Pm 1368, Iowa State University Extension



My cucumbers are not ripening at the same rate. How long can I keep cucumbers before making pickles?
Plan to pickle cucumbers within 24 hours after harvesting. If cucumbers are not fresh when pickling is begun, pickles can be hollow as a result.

Reference: Making Pickles and Pickled Products, Pm 1368, Iowa State University Extension



My pickle recipe calls for soaking the cucumbers in a lime solution. What type of lime should I buy?
Pickling lime is also known as slaked lime or calcium hydroxide. Food-grade lime can be purchased at most supermarkets and drugstores. Do not use quick lime (calcium oxide) or agriculture lime. Quick lime is caustic and dangerous.

Reference: Making Pickles and Pickles Products, Pm 1368, Iowa State University Extension



What kind of container is best for fermenting sauerkraut or large batches of pickles?
Fermented pickles and sauerkraut are traditionally fermented in stoneware crocks, but they can also be brined in large containers made of glass, unchipped enamelware, or food grade plastic. Large plastic pails can be purchased at restaurants or home winemaking shops. Do not use plastic wastebaskets or garbage cans or copper, iron, or galvanized metal containers.

Reference: Making Pickles and Pickled Products, Pm 1368, Iowa State University Extension



Why did the garlic cloves in my pickles turn green or bluish green?
This reaction may be due to iron, tin or aluminum in your cooking pot, water or water pipes reacting with the pigments in the garlic. Or, the garlic may naturally have more bluish pigment, and it is more evident after pickling. Immature bulbs should be cured 2-4 weeks at 70F. The pickles are safe to eat.

Reference: So Easy to Preserve, University of Georgia Extension Service



Why is open kettle canning not safe?
In open kettle canning, food is cooked, then packed into hot jars and sealed without processing. The temperatures reached in this type of canning are not high enough to destroy all spoilage and food poisoning organisms that may be in the food. Also, when food is transferred from the kettle to the jar, microorganisms can enter the food and cause spoilage.

Reference: So Easy To Preserve, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension

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