As Summer draws to a close, so do all the fresh goodies that have been available to us for the last few months.
Dave and I have always had gardens and have taken advantage of what nature has to offer in the way of food. Canning and freezing are just some of the ways that all of these goodies can be preserved.
We've been known to travel great distances when we find treasures such as big areas of blueberries and blackberries. Okay, so we've slowed down a bit, but we still enjoy gathering what is close to home and plentiful. It's in our blood.
🐶 Leela Storm's Suggested Pairings
- 🎵 Luke Bryan - Harvest Time
These peas freeze very well and retain so much flavor. Still better than the frozen bags at the supermarket.
Radishes have a texture and crunch that's great alone, sliced on a sandwich, or quick-pickled. And they also freeze very well.
While dried basil doesn't really retain its flavor, so many other herbs do - especially thyme and oregano. I always have more than enough on-hand, and it saves a lot of money compared to pre-packaged store varieties.
Cilantro... You either love it or hate it. Thankfully, cilantro leaves don't give me the soapy taste that so many others experience, and I enjoy the seeds just as much. They're great toasted, whole, or crushed in so many dishes.
Fall is the right time to use my frozen blueberries. Just look at these muffins. They go perfect with a morning cup of jo. Pancakes, waffles, and even on yogurt for a healthy breakfast or snack.
Leela says to keep things consistent at The Hotel, she expects to see an equal amount of berries in each muffin.
This cauliflower looks like it's from Whole Foods, but it grew out back in our garden! Vacuum seal it whole or broken down into florets and you'll have that fresh flavor whenever and however you like: grilled, puréed, roasted - it's your call.
Oh boy - another Winter treat. Peaches. Make a pie, cobbler, or chutney and you'll have a smile on your face even in sub-zero temps.
Definitely try a homemade batch of apple or pear sauce with quail or pheasant or woodcock. You'll be blown away.
Finding apple and pear trees in the wild is such a treat. Well worth the time it takes to find them and get the fruit before it falls and rots away.
Corn. Sweet, tasty corn. When is corn NOT good? Never. Shave those kernels off, vacuum seal in a bag, and you'll be ready for a fresh side dish, soup, or purée and day of the week.
🍽 Kitchen Critique
When the snow is blowing and it's cold outside, we really appreciate the food we've put away in the Summer and Fall.
There are lots of veggies for soups, stews, and sides. And the corn - it tastes like it was just taken out of the field. Easter is time for my special cheesecake that has a tasty blueberry glaze on top....thanks to what I stored in the freezer. Oh, and let's not forget the spaghetti sauce!
I didn't blanch my corn this year. It sure saves time. I just scraped it off the cob with my Pampered Chef corn kernel cutter and vacuum packed it....done! I prefer freezing my veggies because it's so easy and they hold up very well.
When it comes to apples and pears, I have tried freezing them but in my opinion, they are better canned. They come out a bit mushy when frozen, but they're good to eat right out of a canning jar! Berries are best frozen on a tray before you bag or vacuum pack them. If you don't have time to make jam now, you can always grab them out of the freezer and do some batches later on.
Tip: you can freeze now and do things like jam later in the year to keep yourself busy.
All of my tomatoes and sauce are canned. What is more beautiful than seeing all of those jars of food just waiting to be opened this winter. It's such a satisfying feeling.
Leela loves when we stock The Hotel pantry with Summer goods that last all through the Winter. She especially likes when we make her dishes that include veggies like carrots, potatoes, peas, and corn - all of which can be canned or frozen and ready for anytime she gets hungry (which is ALL.OF.THE.TIME.).
Don't forget to cook for your doggies. They love fresh food, too!
- Pass down your passions to your children.
- The family that gathers together, stays together.
- Pay it forward - gotta love our friends who share their bounty!
- Support your local farms and farm markets.
- Healthy food with no preservatives!
- Remember that food preservation can happen all year long, even with food from the grocery store.