Peas Vegetables

Peas – To Blanch or Not to Blanch

In 33 years of freezing food from the garden I have, until last year, always blanched peas before freezing.

What is Blanching and What Does it Do?

Blanching is heating or scalding vegetables in boiling water or steam for a short period of time.

It is said to slow or stop the action of enzymes which causes loss of color, flavor and texture. It also cleans the surface of dirt and organisms and brightens the color.

Oddly enough blanching is also said to help retard loss of vitamins. I say “oddly” because heat kills most vitamins. And if they are water soluble vitamins they end up in the water rather than the freezer package with the peas. So – I don’t know how “they” came up with that piece of info.

Save your Vitamins!

Rich in protein and carbohydrates but low in fats, peas are loaded with minerals and vitamins like Vitamin A, C and thiamin. If you feel like I do, you probably don’t want to loose any more of those than you have to.

When I cook peas, whether fresh or frozen, I add just the slightest amount of water before cooking.  When they’re finished cooking there’s no water —- just hot peas that taste wonderful.

Time Saver

Primarily in the interest of time, last year I decided to freeze my peas without blanching. The pods are clean when I bring them in from the garden. I shell them within a couple of hours; inspect them for any debris; then freeze immediately.

One Year – Results good

The peas used this winter that were frozen without blanching were delicious.  They tasted just like peas right from the garden.  And I noticed no change in color or texture.

All the peas that I freeze in a season are used within a year. I feel that most things loose quality anyway after a year even if they are still usable.

Personal Decision

The decision to blanch or not to blanch peas is one each individual has to make based on his or her situation.

As for me, I’ll freeze peas without blanching.

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74 Comments

  • I think you’ll like it even more once you see the results, Beppy.

    Thanks for commenting and for reading. 8)

  • Yes, you see that same snippet about blanching before freezing almost everywhere. It’s a blending of several different facts, and is misleading the way it’s usually presented. Here are the facts separated.

    Blanching does stop the process of vitamin degradation that occurs as a vegetable ages. So, if you have a fresh vegetable that you’re not going to eat soon, blanching it saves a bit of vitamin content. At the same time, however, it also destroys a percentage of the water soluble vitamins such as vitamin C which is reduced by about 25%. It turns out that thoroughly freezing the same vegetable also stops the process of vitamin degradation, and does so with minimal damage. So, all things being equal, freezing retains more vitamins than blanching and freezing.

    The other reasons for blanching are not nutrition related and include reasons such as achieving a firmer texture after cooking the frozen vegetable. The more liquid a vegetable naturally contains, the greater this need is. Luckily, shelling peas low enough liquid and freeze/unfreeze beautifully without blanching.

  • Have you tried freezing corn without blanching? I have wondered if that would work as well as it does with the peas. By the way I have frozen asparagus without blanching and it works well also.
    VelDean

  • No, Vel, I have not tried corn without blanching, but have known people who have and said it was fine.
    Thanks for the benefit of your experience with asparagus. I’ll try that next year.
    Theresa

  • Over the last ten years I have never blanched Sweet corn or anything else for that matter.
    The taste up to a year in the freezer is like they have been freshly picked,hope we get some this year!?

  • I have chosen not to blanch this year as it seems to me that the taste of the corn changes slightly and isn’t quite as sweet. I don’t blanch very long at all but it stands to reason it does make minor changes. The corn is to be cooked in some form eventually anyway.

  • Thanks for posting this I am not going to blanch any peas this year. As far as blanching goes in general I wonder if we really need to blanch anything? No need to blanch the sweet corn Vel I never do and it tastes wonderful.

  • Hi Steve — Thanks for the benefit of your experience about corn.
    I think I would blanch things like broccoli, cabbage, spinach and things like that. I don’t think those veggies would taste very good without blanching.
    If you ever try those without blanching, let me know what you think.
    Thanks for commenting.
    Theresa

  • Umar – please reread the part about Blanching and What Does It Do.
    If you need even more details you might want to do some research by googling.

  • I’ve never frozen peas before but this morning picked far more from our garden than we could use in a day so I podded half, put them into a freezer bag, labelled them and they’re now in the frozen vegetable drawer.

    It’ so good to read your experience! Every time I’ve blanched any vegetable for freezing it’s ended up soggy no matter how much I try to dry it before packing. It’s good to know that it CAN be done without all that wet.

    What’s more, I’ve never believed all that guff about blanching either, since I was taught it sixty years ago 🙂 It didn’t make sense even to a teenager.

  • Hi Mary,

    I think the main purpose behind blanching most veggies before freezing is to stop the enzyme action which is suppose to cause undesirable changes in flavor, texture and color as well as loss of vitamins A and C.

    I guess we can take scientist’s word for that, but I like you –do not enjoy most frozen vegetables because — as you said — they end up soggy no matter what you do — before and after freezing. Also — most don’t taste so good — once they’re reheated and served.

    I’ve heard of folks freezing corn in the husk and having it taste just like fresh corn. (No blanching again.)

    Also — I’ve know folks who freeze whole tomatoes — no blanching. (Takes too much room for me — so I make quick oven roasted tomato sauce and then freeze.)

    I freeze some onions (chopped) — no blanching — for winter cooking –

    Thanks to another reader’s suggestion — I’m going to quarter and freeze a few cucumbers for use in smoothies. — no blanching of course

    All my fruit —blueberries, strawberries, figs, blackberries — no blanching.

    Peppers — no blanching. I use for winter cooking.

    Herbs – chopped and mixed with a little olive oil — no blanching.

    When I make zucchini milk and freeze — I don’t blanch the zucchini first.

    And I know you will enjoy the peas — they stay just like fresh from the garden peas!

    After this reply to you — I’m starting to wonder if I should blanch anything!

    Nice to have you reading Mary.
    Theresa

  • Peas are enough work without adding in blanching….I’m going to try freezing without blanching this year. I do use a vacuum sealer though, and I find this makes a huge difference in the quality of the food. As for corn, we have frozen corn on the cob both ways, with blanching and without. We prefer NOT blanching. the blanched cobs had an odd texture, a bit mushy.
    Then we tried leaving on the inner leaves, vaccuum packing, and freezing (not blanching) with very good results. It’s not fresh, but it’s pretty darn close, and fun to have in dec!
    Sonya

  • Thanks for the input Sonya.
    I’m sure vacuum sealing makes a difference. I take the air out of my zip lock bags with a straw and I think even that makes a big difference.
    Theresa

  • Thanks for the feedback. I can never remember to blanch or not blanch and quite frankly haven’t noticed a different taste when I “wing it”.
    No blanching it is!

  • I tried freezing green beans last year without blanching and I will NEVER blanch a bean again. This year, I am trying it on my peas.

    The one little thing I do different is I pat mine dry and put them in an cotton pillowcase and toss in the freezer. They end up loose and frozen individually, you just reach in and grab a handful as needed.

  • Before going all out and freezing all my green beans and lima beans without blanching — I did a small test.

    Froze a small package of green beans and a small package of lima beans. Then the next week had them for dinner. Placed the frozen beans in pan, added just enough water to cook, and cooked for 20 minutes.

    Both the lima and green beans were great!
    No more blanching for me!
    Theresa

  • I’ve tried both, and believe that if I am going to eat the food within a year, blanching is unnecessary….and nothing lasts more than a year. I hate blanching, a lot of work on top of the work it already takes to grow the food. But, with that said, I do think blanching brassicas is a good idea as it they can go skunky. I do it with kales, collards, turnip greens, etc.

  • so glad to hear about no blanching! The green beans we blanched last year were rubbery. what a waste. I’m excited and we bought vacuum sealer, it’s really worth it.

  • Hi Ann Marie,
    Peas are great with no blanching.
    I tried string beans with no blanching last year. They are better than with blanching, I will say that. But you still don’t get that fresh from the garden taste like you do with peas.
    By February I was so starved for garden stuff that I ate with relish the green beans that I had frozen last year. Bill (my husband) would still not eat them. Said they’re not as rubbery as when blanched, but just can’t compare to garden fresh!
    Theresa

    PS. It’s great you have a vacuum sealer! I use a straw, which does the job most of the time.

  • Thanks, I am freezing peas. Saves time by not blancing.
    I froze cabbage for soups & never blance it. Great in soups.

  • Theresa, I want to try this approach of not blanching. Can you tell me the steps you take to freeze them? Is this right: Rinse them with running faucet water and pat them dry with a towel, then pour them into freezer bags and remove the extra air with a straw as you zip the bags shut and then place them in the freezer?

    Thanks! It’s these little steps I don’t feel sure about as a novice.

  • You’re right on target Kevin.
    A few suggestions: Where I live, I would not use water out of the faucet to rinse my peas. I’d used distilled water or water that I felt was free of poisons. Some people have filters that take all the poisons out of faucet water.

    Most times, my peas are so clean when I bring them in, I don’t even rinse after shelling. I realize most people will want to, but I don’t.
    Theresa

  • You are welcome Kevin. You’ll be amazed at how much the unblanched peas taste like fresh from the vine peas.
    Theresa

  • Thanks for this info. I’m excited to just throw my peas in the freezer as-is! I also vacuum seal fruits and veggies and wanted to add one recommendation- we always freeze first (often on trays to keep things from freezing together), then vacuum seal- that way things don’t get crushed in the vacuuming process.

  • I am new to this. When you say shell the peas are you getting rid of the pods? I find the pods have a lot of taste. I also am looking for info on Asian green beans. These beans are similar to your average green bean but grow to 26″ in length. I heard they are good for stir fry. This is something I would like to try. I have these beans in my garden at this time along with the regular green beans. If you could give me some insight to these questions it would be greatly appreciated. Sincerely,
    Tammy

  • Tammy, some peas like Sugar Snaps or snow peas have edible pods. Other peas like English shell peas have pods that are discarded and the peas are eaten.

    I don’t grow the long Asian beans. Most all beans are best when picked young. If you allow them to over grow they’re usually a bit tough.

    Hope this helps.
    Theresa

  • I think what you are referring to as asian beans are yard long beans. I’ve been growing these for years. Lately I’ve been growing the type called red noodle with red beans. I think they taste great and you don’t have to pick as many for dinner. BUT, don’t let them get too big. I try to pick them before they are more than 18 inches. Otherwise they get tough and the beans inside get too large and mealy. Also don’t plant them as heavy as you would regular beans. At least 6 inches between beans/seeds and they need something large to climb on, the vines are huge. They take longer than regular beans to bloom and get beans but they are worth the wait.

  • Great input John! Thanks for taking time to let everyone benefit from you experience.
    Theresa

  • They would be a bit different than shelled peas because they have the pod.
    You try a package unblanched as test, Lindsey.
    I think I’d prefer to blanch the snow peas even if only for a minute.

  • I have froze cauliflower and broccoli, all we do is cut to meal size wash and dry then straight into freezer taste is no different than coming straight out of garden

  • We have put a lot of corn in the freezer without blanching. Just remove outer husk and place in freezer bags. As far as peas and beans are concerned, we have shelled them and placed in a pillow case and froze. You just pull them out, break off what you need and put back in the freezer.

  • It’s not just vegetables. Of course we never blanch meat or fish or bread. But we’re always told we MUST NOT re-freeze after thawing.

    Well, we do and have done for decades. We’re 76 now, very healthy and have never suffered.

    What’s more, we don’t bother removing air from bags, it’s impossible even with a vacuum sealer (we have one) to remove all air from a food bag and even if it were it would be impossible effectively to seal it. I squash out air from a bag just to make more room in the freezer. It’s also impossible to remove any air from boxes, which are more convenient than bags for some foods.

    Oh, and we keep frozen food for far longer than recommended, sometimes. Things get forgotten or a lot are bought in season (e.g. game) and kept to consume much later. Oily fish can suffer (e.g. swordfish) and, occasionally, very fat pork.Apart from that there’s no problem of flavour,colour or, apparently, health.

    These instructions haven’t changed since home freezing started but I bet they haven’t been tested in the intervening time.

  • Does anyone have any experience or input regarding OKRA on the To Blanch or Not to Blanch debate?

  • Okra?

    Bleurch!

    That’s just me, I know lots of folk do like it but I have no experience of growing or blanching, sorry.

  • Mary, I’m in my sixties and grew up on a farm. I have 100 acres that I farm and ranch now. We’re the same way. Just finished the last deer sausage from 2 1/2 years ago. When our 4 boys were at home nothing got old in the freezer but now sometimes it does.

  • If I’d known you had some deer sausage I’d have helped you out with it! The nearest we get is buffalo sausage! It’s never kept for more than a year though, not because we’re fussy but because we like it!

  • Hey y’all are y’all talking about peas such as pink eyed purple hulls? I have just finished shelling 2 bushels and am having a bit of trouble removing the white stuff that comes from the inside of the hulls while shelling. Any suggestions on how best to remove it? Not gonna blanch this year but have a touch of OCD and would like to be rid of the slimed white stuff!

  • I have frozen peas, beans, and okra for years without blanching, but I do not wash until ready to cook and eat. My garden “stuff” is always pretty clean.(Just check for bugs) Anxious to try the brussel sprouts and cabbage!

  • Carol, any bugs will die in the freezer – humanely too. They’re cold-blooded so won’t feel cold, they’ll just slow down until their systems stop.
    If there are any dead bugs when you come to prepare the produce they’ll just flick off.

  • I see that this is an older article but I have some questions about it. Everyone I know that has gone to the no blanching method stores their peas/butter beans in a pillowcase to freeze them. I want to vacuum seal mine in separate bags. How did you freeze the ones you did? Are you still satisfied with the results?

  • Janell, I freeze my peas in plastic pint or quart zip lock bags. I suck the air out using a straw and then finish the seal. I’ve used this method for years and am very please with it.
    It seems to me that with a pillowcase air can go right through to the peas. Thus, I would not use that method.
    Theresa

  • Thanks for the info on peas. I was thinking of not getting any this year because of the blanching process. It’s such a pain!?

  • I have always blanched peas, and have done a lot this season already. Any others I freeze this season, I am not going to blanch. Interesting to compare.
    As for okra, I only wash and slice it, then dredge with a mixture of cornmeal and flour, store in vacuum freezer bags. It tastes fresh picked when I fry it later in the year.

  • I’m thinking about freezing raw peas submerged in water, and in a qt. size freezer grade zip lock bag.

  • I am going to freeze black eyed peas for the first time this year. I have frozen peas in the past and never even gave a thought to blanch. I blanch the lima bean for a bit then cold water to stop the cooking process. I throw the beans in a freezer bag with the cold water and zappo I put it in the freezer. The lima bean when removed I pop in the pot and wooppee do fresh wonder lima beans.

  • I have always put my peas in freezer bags and sealed without blanching and they are fine as long as I use them up in a year or so, they taste like fresh. I shuck mine and put them in bags and when I am ready to cook them I rinse them well and drain. I considered blanching some this year but I’m about to change my mind, looks like a lot of trouble to achieve the same end.

  • The reason given by ‘experts’ for blanching vegetables is not to maintain flavour but to destroy enzymes and retain vitamins but I’ve never seen any peer reviewed research for this. I don’t believe it anyway 🙂 We’re advised to cook quickly to avoid losing vitamins, blanching just adds to that as well as using, most often, fossil fuels. How many people suffer from lack of vitamins because they haven’t blanched? If any, I bet there are far fewer than those who eat very few vegetables at all, fresh or frozen. Or even canned. Heck, canned fruit and vegetables are listed as part of our five a day and I can’t believe that they have the vitamins contained in unblanched frozen stuff. They have been heated to higher temperatures than we can cook and, to my mind, are over-cooked, being softer than we like. Pshaw!

  • I love that this post still has comments after all of these years! It brings me back to this board because I have notifications set up. I forget all of this good stuff is here until then!!

  • Leisha, it is indeed amazing to me that folks continue to find and benefit from this post after all this time.
    So glad “notifications” brings you back.
    Thanks for the enjoyable comment.
    Theresa

  • Just found this site. I have just picked a large mess of purple hull peas. We are leaving to go out of town for a week, and I was looking for how to store them until we get back. The thought of losing them was making me really sad as we love these peas !! Your recommendation to freeze without blanching is just what I was looking for!! Thank you!!!

  • You just MADE my day. My mom always blanched and found a site telling me how but seemed awful tedious. So let me get this right. Mine were shelled and in the bags before purchasing (well two large bags). So I should just place in freezer bags and press out the air and seal up WITHOUT rinsing first?

  • Hi Joyce,
    This post was really intended for those who grow their own peas and know exactly how they are handled from harvest to freezer. The answer to your question about rinsing would depend on how the peas were handled. Probably no way to know that. You’ll have to use your best judgement.
    If they were MY peas out of MY garden, I’d harvest, shell immediately (for the most nutrients), bag, suck out air with a straw, seal, and freeze.
    Theresa

  • I can never understand the faff of sucking out air with a straw. Simply sucking it out of the bag opening or pressing air out of the bag works just as well. It’s what I’ve done for a hundred years (well, feels like it!) and we’re all still here.

  • To Joyce – YES, just put stuff in bags, press out air if you don’t want to take up space in the freezer and freeze. A vacuum device is good, I have one, but only use it for raw meat which I’m transporting.

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