So, I'm taking a moment on this Sunday night to post some overdue blogs. This may sound silly, but one of the things I'm having the most trouble adapting to with working full time is less time for food preparation. I used to spend hours thinking about food, planning menus, shopping etc. Now, I'm having to cram it in in the evening when I'm already completely exhausted. I'm disgusted by how our dinner nutrition has already declined drastically. I do a pretty good job about packing healthy lunches with fresh fruits and veggies, but sometimes dinner doesn't go as well. So, especially for food preservation during this bountiful season I'm having to really plan ahead and also be realistic about what I can do. I was able to get to the farmer's market last week and buy some beautiful baby zucchini and summer squash, as well as green beans. Green beans are something that I have to put away a lot of because I eat them a lot. When they're fresh, I eat them raw as a snack or side. When want comfort food, I them with onions, butter, bacon, chicken stock, and pepper slowly until they are just fabulous (FYI - according to Gary Teaman, you can cook them this way in a dutch oven and they are even more delicious!). I also put them in lots of things, including a tuna pasta salad (no mayo!) that I just have to eat year round. So, it's important I have a on hand. I'm hoping I can get back to the farmer's market or Farmer Tom's soon to get more.
I haven't ventured into the world of canning yet, so I freeze these. Plus, freezing vegetables is healthier than canning as it allows them to keep more nutrients. All you have to do is prepare them, blanche them for a couple of minutes, then dip in an ice bath, dry, and put them into freezer bags. Only small zucchini and summer squash are good for freezing. The medium or big ones have too large of seeds and too tough a skin. For more information, I totally recommend Putting Food By, which my Aunt Jenny gave to me last Christmas. It really is the bible of food storage and it's user friendly. Good luck with your freezing!
1. Freshly picked beans (<24 hrs) ready to be washed and trimmed.
2. Blanche in gently boiling water for 2 minutes (hard boiling water for zucchini). Then place in ice bath.
3. Dry on paper towels.
Zucchini and summer squash ready to be blanched as well.
4. Finished products. Ready to go in the freezer. Total cost of food was $8.50. We'll get 4-8 meals out of this. Also, you can always bargain, especially if you buy a lot. Sometimes family farm stands are a lot cheaper than the farmers market as well.