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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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75 comments to Peas – To Blanch or Not to Blanch

  • Mary Fisher

    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!

  • Denise Sheffield

    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!

  • Keli

    Thanks for the no-blanching advice!!

  • Carol

    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!

  • Mary Fisher

    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.

  • Janell in Georgia

    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?

  • Theresa

    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

  • Janell in Georgia

    Thank you so much for replying. I am going to try no blanching this year.

  • Theresa

    Let me know how you do Janell. Good luck!
    Theresa

  • Janice Tyre

    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!?

  • Gail

    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.

  • Gary

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

  • Tippe

    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.

  • Laura

    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.

  • Mary Fisher

    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!

  • Theresa

    Good post Mary. I agree!
    Theresa

  • Leisha

    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!!

  • Theresa

    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

  • Mary Fisher

    Yes, I’m amazed too. But we all have opinions which we think are worth sharing 🙂

  • Donna

    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!!!

  • Joyce Kirkland

    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?

  • Theresa

    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

  • Mary Fisher

    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.

  • Mary Fisher

    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.

  • Tina C

    I freeze (storebought) produce without rinsing or blanching. Then I rinse the frozen veggies in cold water before adding them to what I’m cooking.

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