How is it almost September? I seriously have no idea how this happened! Well I do but you know what I mean. With late summer comes some serious food storage business here, though this year I cut back on what I am saving based on last years experimentation.
I started in July with Strawberries, raspberries and blueberries – all of these I washed, flash froze and than popped in to freezer containers for use in smoothies and baked goods all winter long!
Corn and green beans were next on the list and those I froze as well. Both of these I blanch which is a bit of a pain 😉 but really easy. I prefer to use frozen kernels of corn in the winter vs cobs so I cut the corn off before blanching. This also saves a lot of space in the freezer because there are no bulky cobs to accommodate. Half of the green beans I cut to make things easier when it comes to soups and such.
*Not everyone blanches these things but I do, it helps preserve both the flavour and colour by stopping the enzymes in their tracks! Do your research to see what is best and what meets food safety guidelines*
The last item I will be freezing is peppers, I’m expecting them soon! They are really easy to store. I just wash and cut them up in to desired sizes, toss them in to freezer containers and they are ready to add to chilis, soups, stews etc. Last year was the first year I did this – Natalie and Stam Farms recommended it! – and I used them up rather quick it worked so well!
The only food I bothered canning this year was tomatoes! 33 jars of them to be exact. I like to keep a large amount on hand because they are so versatile. I didn’t add any herbs to them, I will add herbs I have dried from my garden and garlic I have saved from local farmers as needed.
As for where these foods I have stored came from? All wonderful local places of course! Most organic but not all – sometimes the budget just cannot reach an additional $30 for a bushel of something. And this year things like tomatoes have really suffered thanks to late blight which also claimed the lives of all my plants so naturally the cost is going to be higher.
But for the most part the organic items I have gotten my hands on – with a little help from my friend Krista at Harrington Lane Farms 😉 – have been the same or better priced than the conventional bulk items. Like the beans I just did. Best beans ever. SO GOOD! And they were from a co-operative type farm system Guelph way.
I’m so happy that much of my summer favourites will be enjoyed by my family through much of winter. It’s a true labour of love but as someone who believes strongly in supporting our local food growers I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way!