Tag Archives: preserving food

an easier way to freeze peas and beans


It’s been very hot here this week. Today, with the humidity, it’s supposed to feel like 41C. And, as things usually go, the peas and beans are ready to be picked all at the same time. So, we were out in the garden picking vegetables at 7:00 this morning, when the temperature was about as sane as it’s going to be all day. And now the rest of my day is pretty much laid out for me. I’ll be shelling peas and snipping beans to put in the freezer.

This year I’m going to do it an easier way. Blanching vegetables before freezing is the norm usually – to preserve colour and taste so that vegetables can be frozen for up to a year. However, some coworkers have recently told me that they have been freezing their beans, peas and greens raw for years with no flavour or colour loss. And in reality, even though our garden is pretty big, these vegetables will only be in the freezer for a few months before they are consumed.  I also prefer the way the beans keep their crunch better than if they are blanched.

For me, this is the greatest bit of information that I’ve received in a long time. Today I will shell the peas, rinse and snip the ends off of the beans, wash and chop the swiss chard, let them dry, then put them in bags, squeeze out as much air as possible and freeze them.

And then the small squeaky kid and I are going down to the lake for a swim.

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easy apple sauce and canning

This is another easy autumn short-cut for making applesauce. You will need a piece of equipment like the sieve below or a food mill, otherwise this would be a little more labour intensive – you’ll have to peel and core the apples.

Wash and quarter enough apples to fill up a large pot, then add a layer of water to the bottom of the pot (about 1/2″ to 1″) – to keep the applesauce from burning on the bottom. I don’t peel or core the apples or even bother to take the stems off – it will all be caught in the sieve or foodmill afterwards. Stir occasionally to push the apples on top down to the bottom where they will cook and break up. You can use a potato masher to help this along if you want.

Let your sauce cool for a few minutes and put it through the sieve.

You can add in sugar or spices at this point – we like ours plain, so I don’t add anything.

Pour into sterilized pint jars (I use the dishwasher to sterilize mine), wipe the rim of the jars using a clean towel, add sterilized lids and rings and process in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes. Also, leave about 1/2″ of head space at the top of the jar, or the boiling water bath will cause some to seep out before the lids seal tight. I learned this the messy way.

I put the jars into a pot full of warm water (should cover the jars by at least an inch over their tops) and bring it to a boil after the jars are inside. This will prevent the jars from cracking. I also use a folded towel on the bottom and tongs to lift them out, because I can’t see buying and storing the whole canning set-up for just a few items each year.

Remove the jars from the water bath and let them cool. Once they are cool, you can test the seal by pushing down on the lids – if there is any give, they didn’t seal properly and you can put that jar in the fridge to use up right away.

Linked to A Pinch of Joy, Frugally Sustainable, Mind Body and Sole, Gastronomical Sovereignty, GNOWFGLINS, Foy Update

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sunday, in pictures

The dad rejoices as the tall hormonal kid mows the entire lawn for the first time, and yells “I’m out!”.

The small squeaky sick kid and Lurch holding down the couch while watching a marathon of The Voice.

The toad was waiting for us on the back deck again. Who knew toads could climb steps?

Cutting and chopping red peppers for the freezer, plus some for hot pepper jelly.

Six half pints of hot pepper jelly cooling.

Onions caramelizing in the crockpot. Once they are finished, I’ll put these in bags in the freezer for future use on pizza or in baking. I got the idea here.

One last pot of passata cooking. After this I am absolutely not cooking any more tomatoes this year. I think. Next weekend I am a single mom of one while the tall kid and her dad are off to the island for opening weekend of duck hunting. I’ll be at the hockey arena.

And after most of the day spent in the kitchen and some of it patting the small kid on the back while she retched (and I, in turn, retched too), I sent the dad into town for fried chicken. Hey, sometimes you just don’t want to face another minute cooking.

Linked to Frugally Sustainable, White Wolf Summit Farmgirl, GNOWFGLINS

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