Monday, August 29, 2011

Preserving Green Beans, Tomatoes, Corn, Sage and Rosemary

This weekend was all about preservation—food preservation. With the farmer's market, and our garden and CSA, in full swing, we decided to take advantage of the low prices of season veggies and stock some away. We bought 5 lbs of green beans, which I blanched for the freezer.

After filling 5 bags only part full, we're hoping to do this again before the beans are done to have a deeper supply. We love green beans and the great thing is that these babies will cook up in a flash whenever we take them out of the freezer in the winter. 

Side note: I realized that the most delicious way to cook green beans involves sauteing them over medium-high heat—it's got to be hot enough that the skin gets a little blistery. With the slightly caramelized flavor, and a bit of butter and salt, I ate two servings (made one, then went back and made another) of these for lunch yesterday with surplus fresh beans.

 We shucked and put nearly a dozen ears of sweet corn into freezer bags for a few special meals when it's snowy. I'm already looking forward to them.

 I tried to get a handle on the bowls of tomatoes covering the counters in our kitchen by making a jar of peach and green zebra tomato salsa, and also with a sheet pan of slow roasted romas (oil a foil-lined sheet pan, place tomatoes cut side-down, sprinkle with salt, and roast at 175 F for 4 hours).

Both of these were gone yesterday—the salsa with brown rice and black beans and the tomatoes with steak from Ebersole. The tomatoes would be great for a bit in the fridge packed in olive oil (and maybe some basil!).

And I finally got to do something useful with the enormous quantity of sage growing in the garden—this herb rub with sage, rosemary, garlic, and sald has been on my to-make list for a few weeks. And while you need a lot of herbs, this is an excellent way to use them if you've got them—it's a workout to get those herbs chopped down! This pan will hang out for three days until it's dry enough for jars, then into the pantry until we pull it out to use it on meat during the winter.

 It's entirely likely that I'll do another batch (or two if we have enough herbs) to get a head of the game on holiday presents.

As you can see, I spent a lot of time in the kitchen this weekend, but it made me feel like I was getting away with something to put all of this lovely produce that is surrounding us to good use. (Plus it helped me to not spend the entire weekend worrying about how my parent's house was faring on the NJ shoreline—and thankfully all is well there). 

It doesn't feel like there will be enough of these goodies to satisfy our longings for summer during the winter, but I guess that's part of the joy of eating seasonally. This will be the first year that we've put so much away for the colder months and I'm intrigued to see how things go, and whether these small efforts will lead to a bigger push next year.

What are you putting up this summer for good eating in a few months?


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  2. We are in the process of looking for some land and plan on moving from suburban DC to the "country" in the next 2-3 years. Our goal is to grow our own food, and I am SO looking forward to being able to write a blog post like yours some day, particularly to have a supply of dilly beans! Enjoy your breath of summer when the cold winds blow!

  3. Looks like you've been busy! I've been blanching bags and bags of green beans and peas, chopping swiss chard and freezing it, and when I was away on vacation me and my cousin popped into a sour cherry orchard and picked buckets and buckets! Pitting them was quite a feat, but having them in the freezer will make me happy in winter!