Freezing wild foods is one way to store them and requires little time and preparation. Many plants can be brought in from the field, washed, placed in freezer containers, and frozen with no extra preparation. Freezing them stops the growth of organisms that would spoil the food. Freezer containers or packaging materials should be waterproof and easy to seal in order to protect the plants from drying out, which can result in freezer burn.
Fruits generally do well frozen, retaining much of their nutritional value, flavor, texture, and color. This includes blueberries, blackberries, elderberries, persimmons, and pawpaws. Cherries, grapes, and black gums are among those fruits that have seeds inside. It's a good practice to remove these seeds before freezing them to make sure they don't accidentally end up in a recipe.
Freezing Greens and Vegetables
Wild greens and vegetables can be frozen, but not all of them. Those with a high water content, like some of the salad greens, don't do as well as those with less water. Greens and vegetables should be blanched first by immersing them in hot water or steam and then cooling them. The length of time is determined by the size and texture. Cooking kills the enzymes that would cause them to lose their flavor, color, and texture.
Vegetables that have been cooked and are left over can be frozen for future uses. This includes soups, stir-fries, and casseroles. Put in freezer containers or jars to freeze. Always leave room at the top for expansion from the moisture in the food.
Grape leaves can be frozen in advance to use through the year for stuffing. To prepare for freezing, rinse each leaf and lay it in a large pot, stacking the leaves on top of each other. Cover with water and sprinkle with salt. Cook on low heat for 20 to 30 minutes, until the leaves turn dark green. Drain and put in a freezer bag or container, keeping flat. Let cool before freezing.
Freezing Nuts and Seeds
Freezing nuts and seeds extends their shelf life longer than drying. Put the entire nut in its shell in a freezer bag, label and date it, and it's ready. No thawing is necessary when you're ready to use them. They can be used straight from the freezer. If space is a factor, you will want to shell them first.