CSA Survival Tip #4(a): Easy Ways to Extend the Harvest

Frozen Assets

Maybe it hasn’t happened yet, but it will soon – mark me, lads and lassies – you’ll get “too much” of something, and won’t use it up in a week! Tomatoes? Zucchini? Spinach? Who knows — but it will happen! And, if you want to savor the flavor (from a jar, your freezer, or in some soup perhaps?) you’ll need to have some easy go-to methods for preserving the remains of the day, or, in other words, whatever remains from your delivery when the next delivery day is fast approaching!

We already talked about one method: Giving it Away! This is a way to extend your share, and help friends or those less fortunate right in your community. In fact, I will be dropping off a few items this afternoon. I’m still not in the ‘swing’ of greens, so I’ll be passing them on.

This tip is a mini-tip-series, and today I want to highlight what I think is just about the easiest home preservation method – FREEZING! This tip also falls under the category of “found” — it wasn’t lost, because it didn’t exist a long, long time ago – freezers are a relatively new food preservation method, all things considered.

Here are some of the whole items (that is, not additionally processed) I have frozen  ( — and again, let me just remind you, my usual goal is to use things fresh throughout the week, but looking at the rhythm of my week (Tip #3) and my menu plan (Tip #2) I may determine something won’t get used. I usually make that call on Tuesday or Wednesday, so I kick into the Tip #4 series at this point.):

  • – whole tomatoes
  • – whole or cut green peppers, sweet peppers and hot peppers
  • – onions
  • – peaches, nectarines, strawberries, apples and raspberries
  • – herbs

The basic process I employ is chop (or not) and put in a freezer bag, squeeze all the air out you can, and put it in the freezer. With the herbs, I cut them with a kitchen scissors, put a Tbl. or 2 into an empty ice cube tray, add an addtl. Tbl. or 2 of water, and freeze. All fruits and veggies have a ‘freezer life’, and it would behoove you to check with your extension service to see how long you can keep certain things (it also matters if you use a fridge/freezer combo, or a deep freeze). Or, feel free to use *my* county extension service’s website: http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/yf/foods/fn403.pdf. You will find information on steaming and blanching, too. What is blanching? Its a quick plunge in hot water, followed by a quick plunge into cold water. The hot water starts the cooking process, the cold water end it. This process makes your veggies suitable for freezing, and retaining flavor and nutrient value.

Additional easy things to freeze that require a quick blanch:

  • – torn greens (for sides/dishes where you want more of a whole green)
  • – finely chopped greens (to sneak into every imaginable dish in your repertoire)
  • – green beans
  • – broccoli
  • – peas and sugar snap peas
  • – corn
  • – grated zucchini

Why does this tip work?

Because when it is the dead of winter, and you’re certain spring will never come, it is incredibly soothing (not to mention nutritious) to pull out some sweet corn and make a bright and sunny soup.

The time it takes to freeze, and blanch and freeze, is minimal, but the rewards are great. Freezing is easy, you can freeze things if you have a knife and a ziploc bag (and for a few things, not even a knife is needed), and nutrient values are best preserved in this way.

 

 

 

 

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2 thoughts on “CSA Survival Tip #4(a): Easy Ways to Extend the Harvest

  1. inherchucks says:

    Another great post! Thanks for linking up 🙂

  2. Tammy says:

    So you really surprised me with the tomatoes. I have never frozen them without blanching. Does it work just fine?

    • Laura says:

      Tammy, you *CAN* still use them for most tomato applications, and wait until its good and cold and you want to heat up your house with canning. The only thing that gets a little rough is making salsa – it will definitely be more of a runny ‘saucy’ salsa, but it still works. The cool thing is: the skins just peel away! Without blanching!

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