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

Prairie Mom

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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.
I bet a vac packer would really help your food stay good longer. I'm cheap and have just been squishing air out of open bags against my belly:) The less air and moisture means less chance of freezer burn etc. I'd love to hear how your vac packed food holds up. I wonder if it would improve the quality on the greens that didn't hold up as strongly under freezing. Please post how you do!
 

Prairie Mom

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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.
The separate shrink wrapping is a really good idea. I should be doing that. Maybe if I can feel a bit less rushed, I'll do a better job:) Please share if you test out any new greens and how this all works for you!
 

waretrop

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20150918_174550.jpg

So I put 10 grape leaves with cut stem, into,a seal a meal bag and froze them. I make 10 packages. I will thaw one in 2 days and serve it. Will let you know. Tomorrow I will do the same with dandelion and lilac leaves and grass from my yard.
 

Prairie Mom

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View attachment 149128

So I put 10 grape leaves with cut stem, into,a seal a meal bag and froze them. I make 10 packages. I will thaw one in 2 days and serve it. Will let you know. Tomorrow I will do the same with dandelion and lilac leaves and grass from my yard.
Looks really good! I haven't seen those bags before. I can't remember where you and Alice are and I'm curious about the cold tolerance of your grape leaves. If you don't want to post your location, could please remind me what cold hardiness zone you're in? Thanks! I look forward to hearing how it goes:)
 

waretrop

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Alice and I live in north eastern Pa. The packages will be leaves frozen for Alice in the Winter. I don't let her outside to play until it goes over 65 degrwes. I don't know it that is ok but so far she is ok. I really don't want to find out after the fact, that it's not good for her.
 

Prairie Mom

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Here's another for the list...
SQUASH & PUPMKIN STEMS


I'm drying all my squash leaves, BUT I'm chopping up and freezing all the stems of my squash and pumpkin.
squash stems.jpg

Freeze the chopped stems in a single layer without covering them. This way the individual pieces freeze separately and you can easily spill out the desired amount.
chopped squash tray.jpg frozen squash stems.jpg -BAG THEM ONCE FROZEN

The squash pieces stay together just fine when you thaw them, but turn "juicy," which my tortoise LOVES...
mavis chopped squash.jpg

mavis eating chopped squash.jpg
A nice way to use up your garden "leftovers"
 

waretrop

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So I thawed the grape leaves today and served them to Alice. They did hold their integrity but Alice didn't eat them. She bumped her nose to them for her normal testing retina but then walked away. She was hungry for she is new eating about 8 more dandelion plants. I will try her on 1 package if 10 leaves that I froze for the next week or so. 20150921_131838.jpg
 

Anyfoot

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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.


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.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

GRASS CLIPPINGS

View attachment 148937

(mainly fescue & crab grass)

-Perfect! Normal texture. Just appeared slightly wet.
---------------------------------

Nasturtium
View attachment 148938
-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.
---------------------------------------------

Semi Cold Tolerant hibiscus -10F
View attachment 148940
(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
-------------------------------------------------

Grape Leaves (varieties are "Lakemont" and "Reliance")
View attachment 148941

-Nearly Perfect! Very little change in texture and consistency!
-Woohooo! Great source of calcium!
---------------------------------------------

Strawberry Leaves (varieties: Ozark, Quinalt,& Berries Galore)
View attachment 148946
-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:)
-------------------------------------------------------

Astilbe
View attachment 148952
-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.
------------------------------------------------------

Hollyhock (tolerates zone 4)
View attachment 148953
- Perfect! Zero difference!
-I didn't have any blossoms left to test freezing
----------------------------------------------------------

Zinnia
View attachment 148954
-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.
--------------------------------------------------

Viola/Pansies
View attachment 148955
-*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.
--------------------------------------------------------------

Mallow (I believe my variety is "common mallow")
View attachment 148956
- 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.
-----------------------------------------------

Dandelion leaves
View attachment 148957
- 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.
----------------------------------------------

Snap Dragons
View attachment 148958
-Nearly perfect!
-The second best frozen blossoms behind the violas and definitely worth freezing!
-----------------------------------------

Lilac Leaves
View attachment 148959
-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.
---------------------------------------

Sunflower leaves
View attachment 148960
-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.
-------------------------------------------

Extremely Cold Tolerant Hibiscus hybrid -25F ("Summerific Berrylicious Rose Mallow")
View attachment 148963
-Perfect! Exactly the same in every noticeable way.
-Did not have any blossoms to test
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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. :)
Nice info mom. Think I need to look into this. Do you know if there are any weeds/flowers that can take extreme cold weather(snow/frost). Surely weeds and flowers grow in places like Russia where -5°c is thought of as mild.
 

Prairie Mom

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Nice info mom. Think I need to look into this. Do you know if there are any weeds/flowers that can take extreme cold weather(snow/frost). Surely weeds and flowers grow in places like Russia where -5°c is thought of as mild.
I live in a part of the country where it often reaches colder than -31*C in the winter. Typically most vegetation "goes to sleep" and animals such as antelope and mule deer are foraging on evergreens and prairie sages.

The plants that typically stay "awake" and survive the entire winter or sprout through the Spring snows are not suitable tortoise food, such as: Evergreens, Holly, Crocuses, Snow drops, and other Spring bulbs are a few examples of plants that live in the snow, but aren't good food.

That being said, there are a few weeds and flowers that can survive a few snow storms and frosts before they finally shut down for the winter ( starred " * " lasted the longest), which is why these were among the first I tested putting in the freezer...
-Fescue Grass (We kept it watered and green much longer into the Autumn than we ever have before owning a tortoise)
-*Violas/pansies (loved by our tort)
-Nasturtiums (Our tort loves the flowers over the leaves, but still eats both.)
-*Clover
-Forget-me-nots
-Dandelions
-*Strawberry leaves
-*Crab grass (stays green through most of the winter if it is covered in snow as insulation)
-*Common Mallow (loved by our tort)
-*Carrot tops (loved by our tort)
-*Holly Hock Alcea (loved by our tort. The leaves last longer than the flower stalks)
-*Snap Dragons (loved by our tort)

I STRONGLY recommend that cold climate keepers grow cold tolerant strawberry plants. I was able to feed my tortoise green leaves all winter last year. Some plants died back, but the cold tolerant strawberry plants that were mulched or even buried in snow most of the time, stayed green ALL WINTER. In my yard, I have Quinalt, Ozark beauty, and Berries Galore strawberry varieties.
snow strawberries.jpg

Some varieties of carrots also do really well when over-wintered in the ground and topped with a heavy mulch. My kind of tortoise doesn't eat carrots, but I picked off tops when they were big enough and gave them to her as a treat.
winter carrots.jpg

Apparently not all carrots overwinter the same. We used "Napoli Hybrid carrots." They were fantastic and sweet. We dug these up as soon as the ground softened enough...
carrots dig overwinter.jpg

I think you were onto something when you mentioned building cold frames in the UK thread. That will be something I need to try out in the near future. I just bought a book called "The Year Round Vegetable Gardener" on Amazon that talks all about it. That will be a whole other experiment:)
 

waretrop

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I have tried Alice on the frozen grape leaves for about 3 days. She showed no interest in them. I will now tear them up into the other things I feed her and see if she learns to like them. She actually spit celery leaves out of her mouth one day. That was when I was trying anything.....It was cute when she did it for I could see/hear the child sound effects of her scrunching up her nose, going, "YUK". LOL
 

Prairie Mom

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I have tried Alice on the frozen grape leaves for about 3 days. She showed no interest in them. I will now tear them up into the other things I feed her and see if she learns to like them. She actually spit celery leaves out of her mouth one day. That was when I was trying anything.....It was cute when she did it for I could see/hear the child sound effects of her scrunching up her nose, going, "YUK". LOL
Oh....silly Alice. What a cutie.:) Often the only way I can get my tortoise to eat things that are healthy for her is to tear them up in small bits and mix them in yummy food. Hey...sometimes I do that for my kids too! ;) Good luck!
 

Anyfoot

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Location (City and/or State)
UK Sheffield
I live in a part of the country where it often reaches colder than -31*C in the winter. Typically most vegetation "goes to sleep" and animals such as antelope and mule deer are foraging on evergreens and prairie sages.

The plants that typically stay "awake" and survive the entire winter or sprout through the Spring snows are not suitable tortoise food, such as: Evergreens, Holly, Crocuses, Snow drops, and other Spring bulbs are a few examples of plants that live in the snow, but aren't good food.

That being said, there are a few weeds and flowers that can survive a few snow storms and frosts before they finally shut down for the winter ( starred " * " lasted the longest), which is why these were among the first I tested putting in the freezer...
-Fescue Grass (We kept it watered and green much longer into the Autumn than we ever have before owning a tortoise)
-*Violas/pansies (loved by our tort)
-Nasturtiums (Our tort loves the flowers over the leaves, but still eats both.)
-*Clover
-Forget-me-nots
-Dandelions
-*Strawberry leaves
-*Crab grass (stays green through most of the winter if it is covered in snow as insulation)
-*Common Mallow (loved by our tort)
-*Carrot tops (loved by our tort)
-*Holly Hock Alcea (loved by our tort. The leaves last longer than the flower stalks)
-*Snap Dragons (loved by our tort)

I STRONGLY recommend that cold climate keepers grow cold tolerant strawberry plants. I was able to feed my tortoise green leaves all winter last year. Some plants died back, but the cold tolerant strawberry plants that were mulched or even buried in snow most of the time, stayed green ALL WINTER. In my yard, I have Quinalt, Ozark beauty, and Berries Galore strawberry varieties.
View attachment 149972

Some varieties of carrots also do really well when over-wintered in the ground and topped with a heavy mulch. My kind of tortoise doesn't eat carrots, but I picked off tops when they were big enough and gave them to her as a treat.
View attachment 149973

Apparently not all carrots overwinter the same. We used "Napoli Hybrid carrots." They were fantastic and sweet. We dug these up as soon as the ground softened enough...
View attachment 149975

I think you were onto something when you mentioned building cold frames in the UK thread. That will be something I need to try out in the near future. I just bought a book called "The Year Round Vegetable Gardener" on Amazon that talks all about it. That will be a whole other experiment:)
Very interesting, thank you. Last year we got as low as -11°c here. The norm would be about -5°c.
I used to grow lots of veggies up to about 4 yrs ago. I had a strawberry patch in a cold frame. It made the season longer and in more abundance. Things like sprouts, purple kale,Savoy cabbage grow through the winter,some cauliflowers take nearly a full year to grow,these are winter hardy, mulch in and around the ground generates heat as it decomposes, not to mention the nutrients going back in.
I think you may be helping me to get the green finger bug again. Thank you.
I will be keeping an eye on your progress
 

purpledaylily

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Thanks you so much! I was just going to post the question about grape leaves being frozen. Now I am going to scour my yard for a few more things before the snow falls!
 

Prairie Mom

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Very interesting, thank you. Last year we got as low as -11°c here. The norm would be about -5°c.
I used to grow lots of veggies up to about 4 yrs ago. I had a strawberry patch in a cold frame. It made the season longer and in more abundance. Things like sprouts, purple kale,Savoy cabbage grow through the winter,some cauliflowers take nearly a full year to grow,these are winter hardy, mulch in and around the ground generates heat as it decomposes, not to mention the nutrients going back in.
I think you may be helping me to get the green finger bug again. Thank you.
I will be keeping an eye on your progress
Yes! Turn those fingers green again:D And when you do, take photos of your cold frames!!!
 

Prairie Mom

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Thanks you so much! I was just going to post the question about grape leaves being frozen. Now I am going to scour my yard for a few more things before the snow falls!
Hooray! I'm so glad you found this helpful:) I've been busily freezing bags of goodies before the snow falls too. Please share if you test out freezing anything that I haven't tried yet. And welcome to the forum, purpledaylily:) We're glad you're here. If you do a bit of gardening please share with us in the "Garden chat" thread in the off-topic chit chat section. We look forward to learning more about your cute tortoise too!
:<3::tort::<3:
 

Prairie Mom

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Okay...I'll admit it...I'm both surprised and confused by this addition to the list!

Spaghetti Squash leaves

frozen spaghetti squash leaves.jpg
-I'm shocked these survived the freezing and thawing process! Once the leaves are thawed they are slightly wilted and flabby, but in a way that is similar to when you pick a leaf or pull a plant and it starts to get a bit wilted. This is perfectly palatable tortoise food!


-The blossom I tested TURNED TO SOGGY MUSH as I expected the leaves would.
Don't bother freezing blossoms...
frozen squash blossom.jpg
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

I tested Spaghetti Squash on a complete whim! I am rather confused that the leaves did so well being frozen and thawed! This is my first year growing Spaghetti squash. I'm still observing how it grows when compared to zucchini, yellow squash, and pumpkin.

-
Did this survive the freezing process because Spaghetti squash leaves are better able to handle colder temperatures than other squash?
-
Would other squash or pumpkin leaves survive the freezing process this well?
-
I've seen what happens to other frozen squash leaves in my garden. Their leaves are severely damaged and I refer to it as "freezer burn." Is it the combination of air and water in the air that causes the horrible "freezer burn?" Does putting the leaves in a bag with most of the air squeezed out solves this problem?

(I don't have any more Zucchini, yellow squash, or pumpkin to test this year. If anyone else can test it, I'd LOVE to see your results. Otherwise, I'll have to wait until next year :) )
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 

AZSid

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Awesome! Thank you. I'll make sure to pluck the nasturum and hollyhocks before they die off! I think I'll also do an experiment with goat heads. My neighbor brought me a bag of them the other day and being in the crisper drawer of my fridge, they still look fresh 4 days later. Hope they freeze well too since Remi LOVES her goat head and milk weeds
 

Prairie Mom

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Awesome! Thank you. I'll make sure to pluck the nasturum and hollyhocks before they die off! I think I'll also do an experiment with goat heads. My neighbor brought me a bag of them the other day and being in the crisper drawer of my fridge, they still look fresh 4 days later.
Great! I love that you are doing some experimenting on your own! Interesting to know that the goatheads have lasted so well in the fridge. I think way more foods can be frozen than many of us previously thought.
 
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