Have you ever wanted to know how to blanch and freeze peas? Then read on for detailed step-by-step instructions on how to prepare this tasty and delightful veggie so that you can enjoy its delicious fresh-from-the-garden taste for months to come. Peas keep for an entire year in the freezer if stored properly and are perfect to have on hand to add to soups or stews all winter long!
I know, I know, summer is almost over. So, of course, we are sad about it too. But, for us, it's one of the busiest times of the year. All of our vegetables in the garden are starting to ripen, and we need to get them picked and preserved while they're at their peak!
I like to preserve my fruits and vegetables as soon as they're picked for optimal freshness.
Peas are one of our favorite vegetables to grow. They taste delicious, and we plant enough to last us a full year. In addition, they are one of the easiest vegetables to preserve because they are so easy to freeze!
When peas are blanched and frozen properly, they taste just like they were picked fresh out of the garden when you cook them. I love to toss a bag of frozen peas in Easy Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken and Pasta Soup for extra veggies or serve it alongside Maple-Soy Glazed Salmon, Air Fryer Keto Tuna Patties, or Smoked Chicken for a quick and healthy dinner.
What does blanching mean?
Blanching is a term that means immersing and scalding food in boiling water for a brief period of time, followed by cooling in cold water to stop the cooking process.
Why Blanch Peas?
Blanching peas is a step you must do to stop the enzymes in peas from aging the pea, which causes a loss of flavor, color, texture, and nutrients.
Blanching peas before freezing is a must-do step to ensure the peas keep in the freezer properly.
I tried skipping this step one time to see what would happen, and it was a huge mistake. The peas were hard, bitter, and they were just plain icky!
Blanched peas are tender, bright green in color, and full of nutrients and flavor. They taste just like they were picked from the garden if blanched properly. Because the peas are partially cooked when you blanch them, all you have to do is a quick reheat before serving! Perfect when you need supper on the table fast!
To blanch fresh peas before freezing, you will need :
- Fresh shelled peas, either grown in your own garden or bought at the Farmer's Market or if you're lucky, peas that were given to you!
- Boiling water
- Cold ice-water
First of all, shell the peas and wash them in a big bowl of cold water. Next, swish them around with your hands, then drain them in a colander.
Next, bring a large pot of boiling water to a boil over high heat. Add the peas to the boiling water. Do not overcrowd the pot; the peas need room to move around. If the pot is too full, the peas on top will be undercooked, and the ones on the bottom will be overcooked.
Once the peas return to a boil, set a timer and boil (blanch) the peas for 90 seconds. Do not start the timer until the water begins to boil. The peas will turn a brighter green as they blanch.
Next, when the 90 seconds is up, you need to cool off the peas immediately in an ice water bath. The ice water stops the cooking process, so you don't end up with mushy peas.
We found the easiest and quickest way to do this is to fill one side of your kitchen sink with cold water and a couple of trays of ice cubes. Then, on the other side of the sink, place a colander that you can pour the blanched peas into to drain out all the hot water. When the hot water is drained, immediately immerse the peas into the ice-cold water.
Swish the peas around with a large spoon to cool them off quickly, and add more cold water and ice if needed. They cool off very quickly, usually within 5 minutes. When all of the peas are cooled, drain the water well. I like to place the peas in a colander for a few minutes to drain, then transfer them to a large bowl.
The next step is to freeze the blanched peas. You have 2 choices. You can either freeze the individual peas on a cookie sheet or as a serving size in a bag.
If you want to open a bag and take out as many peas as you want, you will want to freeze them on a baking tray. To do this, place a dish towel or parchment paper on a baking tray or a cookie sheet and place cooled and drained peas in a single layer. Place the tray in a freezer for about 2 hours, and then transfer the frozen peas into a container or a Ziploc bag.
As we do, if you have many peas, it is easiest to freeze enough peas for a meal. For my family, that equals 2 cups. The peas will freeze together in a clump, but it doesn't matter. They thaw quite quickly just by running hot water over them.
I use a 1-cup measuring cup and measure out 2 cups of peas into a medium-size Ziploc bag. Remove as much air as possible from the freezer bag and zip it up!
That's all there is to it! Place freezer bags in the freezer and use them anytime you want! I love having enough peas to last until next year's pea crop!
Hint: Make sure you label your freezer bags with the date!
How to prepare frozen peas
The best part about blanched peas is that they are partially cooked, so they do not need much cook time.
Just grab a bag of peas out of the freezer, run hot tap water in the bag, and zip it back up. In just a few minutes, you will have thawed peas. Then, drain the water out and toss the peas into soup or stew.
If you are serving it as a side, cook them in boiling water for a few minutes, drain, and serve.
Or (this is my favorite method for the freshest-tasting peas), place the peas in a bowl and pour boiling water from a kettle over the peas. After a few minutes, the peas will be hot and ready to eat. Then, drain the water and serve!
DO NOT freeze peas without blanching them. The peas will lose their flavor and nutrients and will have a bitter taste.
Shell, blanch, and freeze peas as soon as you pick them. Peas continue to age after they are picked. They will start to dry out and get limp and lose flavor.
Get your kids to help, invite over some friends or neighbors, or turn on Netflix and shell away!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Blanch peas in boiling water for 90 seconds, cool immediately and drain.
You can, but I do not recommend it. If stored without blanching, the peas lose their color, flavor, texture, and nutrients because the enzymes are still aging the peas.
Blanching stops the enzymes from aging peas and also removes surface dirt and microorganisms.
Yes. As soon as the peas are placed in the boiling water, it kills 99.9% of bacteria and microbes.
Properly blanched and frozen peas will keep fresh for up to 1 year.
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How To Blanch and Freeze Peas
- Large pot with colander
- Large bowl
- 1 pound peas or desired amount
- water enough water to cover peas
- Shell the peas and wash them in a big bowl of cold water. Swish them around with your hands, then drain them in a colander.
- Next, bring a large pot of boiling water to a boil over high heat. Add the peas to the boiling water. Ensure that the water covers the peas. Do not overcrowd the pot; the peas need room to move around.
- Once the peas return to a boil, set a timer and boil (blanch) the peas for 90 seconds. Do not start the timer until the water begins to boil. The peas will turn a brighter green as they blanch.
- When the 90 seconds is up, cool off the peas immediately in an ice water bath. Swish the peas around to cool them off quickly, and add more cold water and ice if needed. Once all of the peas are cooled off, drain the water well. I like to place the peas in a colander for a few minutes to drain, then transfer them to a large bowl.
- The next step is to freeze the blanched peas. Either freeze individual peas by placing parchment paper on a cookie sheet and place cooled and drained peas in a single layer. Place the tray in a freezer for about 2 hours, and then transfer the frozen peas into a container or a Ziploc bag. Alternatively, freeze in a family serving by measuring portion size into a medium-size freezer bag (I use 2 cups). Remove as much air as possible from the freezer bag and zip it up!
- That's all there is to it! Place freezer bags in the freezer and use them anytime you want! I love having enough peas to last until next year's pea crop!
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove