Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Freezing Fresh Produce

It's been about a year that we've been CSA members. For those that don't know (I didn't know until I looked it up one day!), CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Here in the States, local organic produce can be delivered to your door (home or office) and it's always fresh and always what's in season. I've learned so much about seasons just from opening up my box each time. That may seem funny to some of you, but here in Southern California, we barely know winter from summer.

I love every other Tuesday morning because I know I'll open my front door and there will be a big box full of fun ingredients to eat and play with all week. We use a company called {Farm Fresh To You}. Lately we've had lots of green beans, plums, green lettuce, pears, onions, and peppers.

Sometimes there's more of one thing that I can use for just two of us. In the beginning it would go bad and then be wasted. I learned that I needed to be really proactive and come up with a plan to use each item over the week. If I don't think I can use it in a few days, I try to freeze it before it's on its death bed.

Such was the case with the 1.5 lbs of green beans. I washed and snapped off the ends of the whole bunch, blanched them in simmering water with a handful of salt...

...used half of them for my steak dinner, and saved the rest for another day. With green beans, you should blanch them first, dry them really well with a tea towel, then store them in a freezer bag.

They were ready to heat up and stir fry for a quick lunch the next week - all prepped and ready to go. If I didn't take 5 extra minutes to prep them to freeze, all of it would have gone to waste. 

Fruits and some vegetables (like butternut squash, onions, peppers) can be frozen without cooking them first. But, with beans, asparagus, zucchini, cauliflower, and broccoli, I would blanch, or even roast, them first so that the cooking is already (at least) half done.

Freezers are really an amazing gift that we often take for granted living in our time, aren't they? Use it to the fullest and save your produce. Just a few minutes of prep work at the start can save money and time later!

No comments:

Post a Comment