Archive for the ‘freezing’ Category

A is for Apricot Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

I’d posted earlier that our mystery tree was an apricot afterall. This is the first year it has both bloomed and borne fruit. The Hub and The Son had stepped out one morning before us girls had awoken and found that many had swan-songed their way to the ground. The boys gathered them up and were eager to present their find.

I could almost watch their orangening sugars release – I knew we had to do something quick to maximize the quick harvest. I took the ripest ones, split them, threw out the seeds and dumped them in my, not yet christened, chinois (french colander). This is a great tool for all fruits that you want to to maintain the highest amount of pulp from but not the sometimes fibrous skins and seeds. You can also use a food processor or a good blender – these won’t take the skins off as nicely.

It just feels good turning the basic pestel round and round as it smashes the fruit through the colander leaving behind the fuzzy, bitter skins. I tried to peel a couple of the little fruits myself – what a mess. What comes out is a lovely, smooth puree.

This puree can them be made into jams, jellies, syrups, etc. What path did I take? Baby food. One of my focuses with our garden this year was to plant baby-food friendly items like squash and edible pumpkins (some varieties are only for looks and aren’t at all palatable) so I was elated that we were also privy to this unexpected bounty. The best/easiest way I know to store baby food is by using an ice cube tray – way quicker and less fussier than canning.

I ladled the yolk-hued goo into each tray pocket, tapped it on the counter a couple times to release air bubbles and then stuck it in the freezer for a couple hours. Once frozen I put the whole lot into a heavy-duty freezer bag and labeled with the month and year.

Now, in about 3 months, when my youngest daughter is ready to try some solid foods, I can offer her this sweet-tart treat, already individually portioned and needing only a brief heat-up. These should keep 6 months in a deep freeze (we have a smaller, chest-style one – awesome for this type of thing), 3 months in a fridge freezer. Can’t wait to use this same system with my pumpkins and squash!

Freezing the bounty Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

Carrots, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, peas, corn, beans, okra: all keep well if frozen because of their low moisture content, here’s the steps:

  • Carrots will need to be chopped to desired size.
  • In a pot with a steamer basket. Bring about 1-2 inches of water to a boil. Carrots, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, peas, corn, beans, okra in the steamer basket. Steam for 3 min for peas and beans and 5 min for carrots and brussel sprouts (denser veggies need just a touch longer). You really just want the color to brighten, not to get them soft.
  • Let cool just a bit and place in freezer bags. Add to soups, steam later to desired doneness, add to roasts, pastas, etc.
  • Corn: Using an angelfood cake pan. Take a husked cob and stick one end on the center tube of the pan. Use a serrated knife to slice off the kernels. Then transfer to a freezer bag. There is no reason to precook corn for freezing.
  • Okra: Slice into rings and put in freezer bags, or freeze whole. No need to precook.