Canning From The Freezer

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Frozen produce

Freezing Before Canning

The weather has cooled in our area, and shorter days tend to keep us inside more than we are during the summer months. I’ve been making the most of it by working my way through the freezer, canning as much as possible to make room for another quarter or half of a cow.

Freezing summer produce is a really convenient way to preserve the harvest until you are ready to put it in jars. The benefits of canning your produce are that it will last longer, and you don’t have to depend upon electricity to keep it preserved. Yes, it costs a little money to keep it frozen until you can it, but in my world it’s worth it. Truth is, if I didn’t freeze at least some of my harvest much of it would spoil before I got to it. Freezing buys me time.

Not everything that has previously been frozen cans well. Generally, I would avoid vegetables. I have found the texture and taste to diminish when trying to can thawed veggies.

Muscadine Grape Jelly

What I have found to work really well from freezer to canner:

Tomatoes– Not counting the tomatoes we eat fresh during summer months, I freeze all of our ripe tomatoes as they come in. So far I haven’t planted enough tomato plants to have a large enough harvest all at once to do a canning session. What works for me is freezing the few I pick at a time, and then doing one BIG canning session all at once. When I’m good and ready. Thawed tomatoes work fine in any canning recipe.

Grapes– Whenever I get more grapes than I can eat before they go bad, I freeze them. Just pop ’em in a ziploc bag and save them for another day. Thawed grapes make wonderful grape juice and jelly.

Berries– Strawberries, Blackberries, Blueberries, Raspberries… I’ve tried them all, and they all make fantastic jellies from freezer to canner.

Apples & Pears– Thawed apples and pears work well for jellies and sauces. I haven’t tried making pie filling with previously frozen apples or pears, but I’ll let you know how it turns out if/when I try it.

Meats– When we buy a large amount of meat from a farmer who has recently butchered, I like to try to get some of that meat into jars. Not only does it save on the electricity bill, but it’ll last longer AND it makes for a quick, convenient meal when you’ve got a jar of pre-cooked meat just sitting there waiting to be heated and served.

Bones– Continuing from above, when we buy our beef in bulk we also request the bones. Beef bones make a great broth which can be preserved using a pressure canner.

Veggie Scraps– Don’t throw away your vegetable scraps! Carrot peels and tips, onion skins and trimmings, celery ends and leaves, garlic skins and trimmings, all of these things can be frozen and saved for canning broths. (I also save the bones from a rotisserie chicken as well as the organs for making broth. I throw them in the same bag as the other frozen scraps.)

Applesauce

Give Yourself A Break

If you have the extra freezer space, consider easing the burden of the harvest by freezing some of these items to be canned another day. This way you can focus on putting up other foods that won’t do well from freezer to jars.

Do you freeze food to can another day? What have you found to work well, and what hasn’t worked out?


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Kendra
About Kendra 1104 Articles
A city girl learning to homestead on an acre of land in the country. Wife and homeschooling mother of four. Enjoying life, and everything that has to do with self sufficient living.

24 Comments

  1. Great idea with the tomatoes after freezing, but why discard the peel. All Citrus fruits, apples, grapes, and tomatoes all have amazing antioxidant properties in their skins.
    I do freeze mine whole after washing and cleaning them, then put them in a bag and use my food vacuum sealer or I will use my Ninja and pulverize everything, then freeze. I also have cooked the tomatoes down for puree or sauce, then froze. I don’t peel anymore. Less work and better for you.

    • Great idea, but I put mine in my Nija and pulverize everything then cook the tomatoes down for puree or sauce. Don’t need to peel anymore. I do this also with ripe tomatoes.

  2. You can also put peppers in the food processor and process, then freeze them to make pepper jelly later.Flower petals freeze excellent then use when you have enough to make jelly or sauce. Honeysuckle is the same as flower petals.

    Rhubarb can be frozen too.Just cut up in small chunks and freeze until you have enough to can.

    Hope these help as the tomato idea just saved my sanity. 🙂

  3. Great idea to freeze tomatoes before canning! I get overwhelmed with canning at the end of summer, and it would be nice to have the option of canning tomatoes on a cold wintery day.

    I froze my berries this year, as they were harvested a cup at a time. So far, I have canned 18 half pints of raspberry jam and syrup. Strawberries and blueberries are still in the freezer.

  4. This is great for when i just get too overwhelmed. Tomatoes usually overwhelm me when I start pulling them off and im pullinv multiple bushels at a time. I might try this trick for jalapeno jelly since i never have quite enough at once for a good size batch.

    • Yes. Just add some lemon juice to the peaches to keep them from turning brown. I still have peaches in the freezer from last year. Peaches w/raspberries also make a fantastic jam.

  5. I just love going uhh this reading an using this!!!! Got a “?” How much muscadine juice do you use to make jelly? Also how long can you leave juice in the freezer? Thank you Teresa

    • I’ve put up muscadine juice from the freezer when it was several years old. except for the thick top that had been freezer burnt, it was better than the juice I canned as juice to make jelly later. (It turned thick muddy brown. Tasted good, but no good to use as gifts.

      It’s HOT here in Texas, so mostly I make juice, let it settle, re-strain and put one making in an old milk jug.

      Have been given old plum juice and it made a pretty jelly.

  6. What a wonderful idea – thank you for sharing this! This past summer was the first summer that we did a garden, and at times we had more tomatoes than we could handle as they didn’t all ripen at convenient times (we both work). Consequently, we gave a lot away that we would have preferred to keep but just didn’t have time to can, and lost some to rot. I’m kicking myself for not throwing them in the freezer!

  7. Thanks! and I just read the canning tomatoes from the freezer post. Why did I never think of that! Would have saved me so much stress and lost way fewer tomatoes! ugh. That’s why I love your blog. My mom and great grandma canned their whole lives but there is so much they didn’t even know. I also love reading the comments as much as the posts because you get so much info from other people’s experience.
    Thanks again!

  8. How do you manage making the bone broth with the large bones from the butcher. We are taking our sheep to butcher next week and I hadn’t thought of asking for the bones. I am considering it, but not sure how to manage it. Any info would be appreciated.
    Thanks
    Emily

  9. This is a great list! I started doing this accidentally one year when circumstances prevented me from canning our tomatoes and peppers. I froze them and made delicious tomato sauce even a year later! Since then I’ve thought of intentionally doing it as our harvest season can be quite warm, and I’d much rather do canning on cooler days. I’m going to share this link 🙂

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