We hope everyone is enjoying the bounty of summer. The shares have been hearty with all the heat loving crops coming in now with this dry, mostly warm weather. If you think you're swamped with veggies now, try to think about February.... What will you be eating then and wouldn't it be nice to have a little taste of the summer tucked away? We love to hear from folks in the winter who tell us they are still eating their Chubby Bunny veggies. I know it is hard to find the time to put up food for the winter but here are a few ideas.
Of course you could go the canning route and put up all matter of pickles, preserves, salsa and other sauces and if you do, kudos to you! Here are some suggestions for things that freeze well and can be frozen flat in ziploc bags so they can make the most of your freezer space:
- Pesto made with basil or other herbs - there are a whole host of pesto recipes out their using parsley, arugula, mint, cilantro...
- Roasted red peppers or what I like to call melted peppers and leeks. Saute these two together until they are very tender. Use in the winter over pasta, with polenta and sausage or with potatoes or in soups.
- Tender greens - Swiss Chard, fall spinach and other greens like mustard greens and braising mix that will coming out this fall can be blanched and frozen.
- And of course tomatoes freeze really well. With any kind of putting up food try to think ahead as to what you will really use - stewed tomatoes or full on marinara sauce? Also how much time do you have now? If I don't have time I simply chop the tomatoes and throw them in the bag, skins on and all. Putting up food is a real balancing act - a compromise between what you'll use later and what is practical at this moment. I almost forgot my recent favorite: slow roasted tomatoes: halve your tomatoes and place them on a baking tray. Sprinkle with a little salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Put in the oven at 325 for a couple hours. These are sweet, carmely and delicious. You can freeze them, but it might be a little hard to resist eating them right away!
One more idea to think about that doesn't take up freezer space and you don't need a canner for - lactofermentation. The traditional way of pickling- packing veggies in a jar (or crock) with a little salt. Natural fermentation occurs and voila - use cabbages and you have sauerkraut, cucumbers and you have pickles. There really are a lot of different veggies you can use - beets, carrots, daikon, green beans.... There are wonderful products out there you can easily find, such as Adamah's but if you're feeling up to it, why not try a batch at home?
Here's the weekly harvest:
lettuce, cukes, zukes, tomatoes, melons, fennel, potatoes, peppers, basil, carrots, leeks, dandelion