Tuesday, August 30, 2011

so much produce ...

Another day of preserving.  This summer, we are receiving a big bag full of vegetables from Grass Is Greener Gardens along with fresh eggs and a once per month delivery of various frozen meats.  It's a wonderful way for us to eat local and sustainably-raised food.  At the beginning of the season, we weren't getting as much as we had hoped in terms of volume, which was a problem because our grocery budget believed that we had already gotten full off our veggies and didn't need to spend on anything else.  We needed to somehow get more food without paying for it ... but how?  While researching farms on Local Harvest, I came across this farm.  They offer a worker share, which means you can work on their farm for 4 hours and get a big bag of vegetables at the end ... for free!  Yes.  Totally awesome.  So, I started working on the farm every Friday morning and bringing home more produce.

Earlier, this meant that we had enough to last us a week, until we got our next share.  But now.  Oh my.  Pounds of string beans.  Many quarts of tomatoes.  Bunches of herbs that I forget to use.  Bags of potatoes.  And this does not include what we bring in from our own little garden (although we make a serious effort to share almost all that we harvest there with our church).  We finally realized that we have to start preserving at least some of what we get, or it will be a great waste of produce and money.  We started last weekend with some lacto-fermentation, mostly based on Sally Fallon's recipes in Nourishing Traditions.  The salsa is great but the sauerkraut went bad.  I think I'll try the weighing-it-down-with-a-plate method next time.  Today was on to blanching and freezing.  I've never tried it before, but it seems much easier than canning.  Taking vegetables out of boiling water is somehow different than taking really hot, slippery, breakable glass jars out of boiling water.  I'm sure I will come around to canning (probably next year) but I think I'll try freezing, lacto-fermenting, and dehydrating first.  Speaking of which, I'm dealing with more of our tomatoes using this method.  I'll let you know how it goes, but I'm loving their website in general.  Perhaps kale chips will be next.  We shall see!

And the "rustic" tomato tart pictured above?  So good.  You should try it.  The recipe for the dough was none too complicated and came from a cookbook I wish I owned, The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters.  She's also awesome.

Do you have a favored method of preservation?

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