These can be frozen, thawed, and retain good texture!

Prairie Mom

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I live in a very cold climate. In an effort to increase variety in our Sulcata's winter diet, I've been experimenting with both dehydrating and freezing foods.

I tested freezing plants that I have seen survive a few early snow storms in the past. I picked leaves from plants that have survived when the temperature swings back and forth between freezing and "warmer" conditions, and are the last to die off when winter finally takes ahold. I also tested out a few summer annuals just out of curiosity.
web snow viola.jpg


About My List
-Keep in mind that many of these plants are already cold tolerant and intended to survive in frostier perennial cold hardiness zones. I listed exact plant varieties when I could.

-The plants listed here did not turn to mush when frozen and thawed. My list contains plants that retained their texture and similar consistency. I tried to include a torn leaf in every photograph, so the "tougher" texture could be more visible.

-These leaves were picked fresh and immediately placed in freezer bags that I simply squeezed the air out of when I sealed it. They thawed on my kitchen table. If any plants change consistency after being frozen longer throughout the winter, I'll be sure to update this post.

-I suspect the shelf-life to be VERY short once thawed. I intend to use anything I defrost within the same day.

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GRASS CLIPPINGS

thawed grass.jpg

(mainly fescue & crab grass)

-Perfect! Normal texture. Just appeared slightly wet.
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Nasturtium
thawed nasturtium.jpg
-Slightly "flabby" and tender, but still difficult to tear and not soggy at all.
-The blossom wilted quite a bit, but still retained much of its color and texture. I think it's worth throwing a few in the freezer.
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Semi Cold Tolerant hibiscus -10F
thawed semi cold hibiscus.jpg
(I apologize that I don't know exact variety)
-Slightly tender, but retained similar consistency and difficult to tear.
-I didn't have blossoms available to test
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Grape Leaves (varieties are "Lakemont" and "Reliance")
thawed grapes.jpg

-Nearly Perfect! Very little change in texture and consistency!
-Woohooo! Great source of calcium!
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Strawberry Leaves (varieties: Ozark, Quinalt,& Berries Galore)
thawed strawberries.jpg
-Perfect! No noticeable difference AT ALL!
*I once read somewhere that as the leaves are beginning to change color, they experience a chemical change that can be toxic. I have no idea if this is true or not, so I just choose totally green leaves regardless of age of the leaf. We're all alive and well:)
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Astilbe
thawed astilbe.jpg
-Perfect! No difference at all!
-See my thread http://www.tortoiseforum.org/thread...ls-cold-hardy-perennials.110773/#post-1030304 if you're unfamiliar with this one.
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Hollyhock (tolerates zone 4)
thawed hollyhock.jpg
- Perfect! Zero difference!
-I didn't have any blossoms left to test freezing
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Zinnia
thawed zinnia.jpg
-Blossoms not worth freezing. Give them to your tortoise as a treat now.
-The texture changed a lot and they became see-through and glossy. However, since they did not completely "mush," I still intend to save these either frozen or dehydrated for our winter diet.
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Viola/Pansies
thawed viola.jpg
-*Only flower to retain most of its texture and color!
-Some leaves became slightly see-through, but enough normal-like texture remained that I definitely will use these.
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Mallow
(I believe my variety is "common mallow")
thawed mallow.jpg
- A few leaves were pretty "glossy" and flabby, but enough of the clippings retained most of their texture and didn't tear easily. I intend to freeze and use more.
-I am curious if a long freeze will change anything with these and I'll update this if I notice these turn to mush over the winter.
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Dandelion leaves
thawed dandelion.jpg
- I expected these to turn to SOUP, but they didn't. They were still VERY WILTED and barely kept it together. These will do fine mixed in my frozen grass clippings.
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Snap Dragons
thawed snapdragon.jpg
-Nearly perfect!
-The second best frozen blossoms behind the violas and definitely worth freezing!
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Lilac Leaves
thawed lilac leaves.jpg
-Nearly perfect!
-My tort will seek out and eat the first early sprouting lilac leaves, but will only eat older full grown leaves if torn and mixed in other foods.
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Sunflower leaves
thawed sunflower.jpg
-The texture remained nearly the same, which surprised me
-Color became significantly darker and the leaves had a strong scent when thawed. I don't know if my tortoise will find the scent attractive or not. I plan to save them and mix in in her food and we'll see what she thinks this winter.
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Extremely Cold Tolerant Hibiscus hybrid -25F ("Summerific Berrylicious Rose Mallow")
thawed cold tolerant hibiscus hybrid.jpg
-Perfect! Exactly the same in every noticeable way.
-Did not have any blossoms to test
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This is what I have so far. I am pleased so many survived being frozen and thawed.

I'm very interested in whether FRESH living Mulberry leaves can be frozen and thawed, how warmer climate grape leaves do, what succulents are like when frozen and thawed, warmer climate hibiscus, and whether any hibiscus blossoms can be frozen and thawed.
I'd be grateful if anyone could add to my list with what I mentioned above or any new suggestions. :)
 

dmmj

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very interesting I assumed that anything frozen will just come out mush
 

Prairie Mom

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This is great! Freezing stuff This weekend. Thank you for posting this.
I'll be doing the same thing this weekend:) Please share how your frozen food works out, Jodie. I'll be very curious what all you come up with.
 

Prairie Mom

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Nice, now pick some for me lol j/k :)
I know you're kidding, but if I thought fresh leaves would survive the trip, I would totally do it. As it is, you'll get some dried grape, waiting on the squash leaves to dry, and some seeds:)
 

Prairie Mom

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very interesting I assumed that anything frozen will just come out mush
I had been making that assumption myself. But the reality is that my grass and shrubs don't turn to mush when we get our early freezes and snowfalls. So, it seems pretty evident that not all plants are created equally. I really think this is worth further investigation.
 

MPRC

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I'm glad to hear that about the grape leaves, now to go pick a few pounds of them!
 

Prairie Mom

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I'm glad to hear that about the grape leaves, now to go pick a few pounds of them!
Hi LaDuke, You're in a warmer hardiness zone than I am. Will you please let me know if your grape leaves also hold up this well? I've been curious about Grape leaves from warmer zones. Thank you!
 

jeffjeff

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Thanks for sharing, I've been meaning to try freezing stuff. especially now I managed to "borrow" a vac packer from work. whether it will make any difference or not I don't know but got to be worth a try.
 

waretrop

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This is very helpful to me and Alice. I have offered her some of these and she loves them. Now I am going to,strip some leaves and she ink wrap them in groups. Then freeze them for her Winter neals. Thanks. Looming forward to someone adding more good stuff.
 
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