Freezing turnips is a great way to preserve their flavor and nutritional value, especially if you have a surplus of them. However, if you’re not familiar with the process, it can cause some confusion and lead to suboptimal results. So today I’m going to explain EXACTLY how to freeze turnips so they come out great every time.
How to Freeze Turnips
Freezing turnips is a simple process that can help preserve this root vegetable for later use. Turnips are a nutritious and versatile vegetable that can be used in a variety of dishes, from stews to salads. Freezing is an effective way to store turnips for several months without losing their flavor or nutritional value.
The freezing process involves blanching the turnips first, which means briefly boiling them in water and then immediately placing them in ice water to stop the cooking process. This helps to preserve the color, texture, and flavor of the turnips. After blanching, the turnips can be frozen in airtight containers or freezer bags.
It’s important to note that frozen turnips may have a slightly softer texture than fresh turnips when they are thawed. However, they can still be used in a variety of recipes, including soups, stews, and casseroles.
When freezing turnips, it’s important to choose turnips that are fresh and in good condition. Avoid turnips that are soft, bruised, or have signs of decay. It’s also important to wash the turnips thoroughly before blanching them.
Choosing and Preparing Turnips for Freezing
When it comes to freezing turnips, selecting fresh and firm turnips is essential. Fresh turnips will have a smooth skin with no cracks or blemishes. The turnips should also feel firm and heavy for their size.
Before freezing, it is important to wash the turnips thoroughly to remove any dirt or debris. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the skin off the turnips. If the turnips are small, peeling them with a knife is also an option. Once peeled, cut the turnips into cubes of small, medium, or large size depending on your preference.
It is recommended to blanch the turnips before freezing them. Blanching helps to preserve the color, texture, and flavor of the turnips. To blanch, bring a pot of water to a boil and add the turnip cubes. Boil for 2-3 minutes, then remove the turnips and immediately place them in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain the turnips and pat them dry with a paper towel.
Once the turnips are blanched and dried, they are ready for freezing. Place the turnip cubes in a freezer-safe bag or container, removing as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn. Label the container with the date and contents, and store in the freezer for up to 8 months.
Blanching Process Before Freezing
Blanching turnips before freezing them is an essential step that helps to preserve their flavor, texture, and nutritional value. Blanching involves briefly boiling the turnips in water and then cooling them rapidly in ice water to stop the cooking process. This process helps to deactivate enzymes that can cause the turnips to lose their flavor, color, and texture over time.
To blanch turnips, start by washing and peeling them. Then, cut them into small pieces or slices of your desired size. Next, bring a pot of water to a rolling boil. Add the turnips to the boiling water and let them cook for 2-3 minutes, depending on their size.
After the turnips are done boiling, remove them from the pot using a slotted spoon and immediately transfer them to a bowl of ice water. This will help to cool them down quickly and stop the cooking process. Let the turnips sit in the ice water for at least 2-3 minutes, or until they are completely cool.
Once the turnips are cool, drain them well and pat them dry with a clean towel. At this point, they are ready to be frozen. You can either pack them into freezer bags or containers or blanch them again for an additional 2-3 minutes before freezing.
Packing and Freezing the Turnips
To freeze turnips, it is important to pack them properly to ensure they remain fresh and retain their flavor and texture. Here are some steps to follow:
- Wash and peel the turnips, then chop them into the desired size.
- If you plan to blanch the turnips, bring a pot of water to a boil and add the turnips for 2-3 minutes. Then, immediately transfer them to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.
- Drain the turnips and pat them dry with a paper towel.
- Place the turnips into freezer bags or containers, leaving some headspace to allow for expansion during freezing.
- If using freezer bags, remove as much air as possible before sealing. For best results, consider using a vacuum sealer.
- Label the bags or containers with the date and contents.
- Place the bags or containers in the freezer and freeze for up to 8 months.
It is also possible to flash freeze fresh turnips before packing them. To do this, spread the chopped turnips in a single layer on a baking sheet and place them in the freezer for 1-2 hours. Then, pack them into bags or containers and follow the same steps as above.
Maintaining Quality and Preventing Freezer Burn
When freezing turnips, it’s important to maintain their quality and prevent freezer burn. Freezer burn occurs when the surface of the turnip is exposed to air, causing it to dry out and lose flavor and texture.
To prevent freezer burn, it’s important to store the turnips in an airtight container or freezer bag. Make sure to remove as much air as possible before sealing the container or bag. This can be done by using a vacuum sealer or by pressing out as much air as possible before sealing.
Another way to prevent freezer burn is to blanch the turnips before freezing. Blanching involves briefly boiling the turnips and then immediately placing them in ice water to stop the cooking process. This helps to preserve their texture and color.
It’s also important to consider the texture of the turnips when freezing. Turnips that have been cooked or mashed tend to freeze better than raw turnips. If freezing raw turnips, it’s recommended to cut them into small pieces to ensure even freezing and to prevent them from becoming too hard.
Defrosting and Using Frozen Turnips
When it comes to using frozen turnips, it’s important to properly defrost them first. The best way to thaw turnips is to place them in the fridge overnight. This allows the turnips to defrost slowly and evenly, which helps to maintain their texture and flavor.
If you’re in a hurry, you can also defrost turnips more quickly by placing them in a bowl of cold water. Make sure to change the water every 30 minutes to prevent the turnips from becoming waterlogged.
Once your turnips are defrosted, you can use them in a variety of dishes. They work well in soups, stews, and casseroles. You can also roast them or use them in stir-fries.
It’s important to note that once turnips have been frozen and thawed, they should not be refrozen. This can cause the texture and flavor to degrade. If you have leftover thawed turnips, make sure to use them within a few days.
Cooking with Frozen Turnips
When it comes to cooking with frozen turnips, there are a few things to keep in mind. While the texture of frozen turnips may not be as crisp as fresh turnips, they can still be used in a variety of dishes.
One popular option is to add frozen turnips to soups and stews. They can be added directly to the pot and will cook through as the soup or stew simmers. Frozen turnips can also be roasted in the oven. Simply toss them with olive oil and seasonings, and roast at 400°F for 20-25 minutes, until tender and golden brown.
If you have already roasted turnips and want to freeze them, it’s best to let them cool completely before placing them in an airtight container or freezer bag. Frozen roasted turnips can be reheated in the oven or microwave.
Another option is to use frozen turnips in mashed turnip dishes. Simply thaw the turnips and mash them with butter, vegetable stock, and any other desired seasonings. Frozen turnips can also be cooked and pureed to make a creamy turnip soup.
Frozen turnips can be a great addition to lamb dishes as well. Try adding them to a lamb stew for added flavor and nutrition. They can also be roasted alongside carrots for a delicious and colorful side dish.
Storing and Reusing Leftover Frozen Turnips
Once you have frozen your turnips, it is important to store them correctly to ensure they remain safe for consumption. Proper storage also helps preserve the quality of the turnips, so they taste as good as possible when you are ready to use them.
The best way to store frozen turnips is in airtight containers or plastic bags. These will help prevent freezer burn and contamination from other foods. Be sure to label the containers or bags with the date you froze the turnips, so you can keep track of how long they have been in the freezer.
If you have diced turnips, it may be helpful to freeze them in smaller portions, so you can easily thaw only what you need. This can help prevent waste and ensure the turnips remain fresh.
When you are ready to use the frozen turnips, you can thaw them in the refrigerator overnight. It is important not to refreeze thawed turnips, as this can lead to spoilage and contamination.
It is also important to check for any signs of spoilage or contaminants before using the turnips. If they have an unusual odor, color, or texture, it may be best to discard them.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I properly freeze turnips?
To properly freeze turnips, start by washing and peeling them. Then, cut them into desired sizes and blanch them for about 3 minutes. After blanching, cool them immediately in ice water and drain. Pack them in freezer bags or containers, removing as much air as possible, and label with the date. Place them in the freezer.
What is the best way to preserve turnips?
The best way to preserve turnips is by freezing them. Turnips can also be stored in a cool, dry place for up to a couple of weeks.
Can you freeze mashed turnips?
Yes, you can freeze mashed turnips. Make sure to cool them before packing them in freezer bags or containers. Label them with the date and place them in the freezer.
How do you freeze turnips and rutabagas?
To freeze turnips and rutabagas, follow the same steps as freezing turnips. Wash and peel them, cut them into desired sizes, blanch them for about 3 minutes, cool them immediately in ice water, and drain. Pack them in freezer bags or containers, removing as much air as possible, and label with the date. Place them in the freezer.
What are some turnip recipes that can be frozen?
Some turnip recipes that can be frozen include turnip soup, turnip gratin, and turnip puree. Make sure to cool the dishes before packing them in freezer bags or containers. Label them with the date and place them in the freezer.
What can I do with an abundance of turnips?
If you have an abundance of turnips, you can freeze them for later use. You can also try pickling them, roasting them, or making turnip chips. Turnips can also be used in soups, stews, and casseroles.