Tips for freezing produce
• Air is the enemy, which is why vacuum-sealing is the most effective method for long-term storage. If you're using zip-top bags, fill with the food, then remove the air via a drinking straw.
• Label everything. Be sure to include the weight and date. You think you will remember. You won't.
• IQF means "individually quick frozen," and it's the best way to maintain the shape of berries and other freeze-worthy fruits. Spread them on baking sheets lined with parchment paper and pop them in the freezer. Once the fruit is frozen solid, transfer to appropriate containers.
• For greens such as chard and kale, remove and reserve the stems; trim and discard tough stems from spinach. Line up the leaves and cut into a chiffonade (thin strips). Don't be obsessive, but do give it a good chop. Pile the leaves into a bowl and microwave on High for 1 minute or steam over barely bubbling water for 2 minutes; that technique helps preserve color and flavor. No need to plunge them into cold water. Cool, then squeeze as much moisture out of the greens as possible. Wrap in plastic wrap in 4- and 8-ounce packages (common amounts called for in recipes), or any amount suitable for your household, with as much air removed as possible. Freeze for up to 1 year.
• For string beans, prepare a large bowl of very cold ice water. Trim string beans at the stem end, leaving the little tail. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a brisk boil. Add all the beans at once and stir well. Once the water returns to a boil, drain the beans and plunge them into the ice water bath. When fully chilled, place the beans on a tea towel-lined baking sheet to dry. Measure 8 ounces of beans, or any amount suitable for your household, and vacuum-seal or place in zip-top bags. Freeze for up to 1 year.
• Top eggplant stacks or any tomato-based casserole with a layer of parchment paper between the food and the foil. Acids in the eggplant and tomato sauce will turn the foil black and, often, impart a metallic taste to the dish.