Photo by Ally Ross:

Preserving Food 2023 (Freezing)

In the past few years I’ve taught myself several food preservation methods: fermentation and water bath canning, primarily. But today I’ll talk about how I put food into my freezer, and how I preserve the bounty of not just homegrown and locally grown produce but also foods bought at a typical grocery store. After all, food is still wonderful and precious no matter where it comes from, and you won’t find me wasting it anytime soon.

Photo by Thiea Alhoz:

I finally managed to grow basil well this year. I didn’t sow the seeds until July to make sure the weather was nice and hot for the plants, and they have thrived because of it. After harvesting 6 cups of leaves, I set to work making pesto. To bulk up my pesto I also threw in some locally grown beet greens, radish tops, etc. Then I added some nuts, nutritional yeast, olive oil, etc and blended it to perfection. A large portion went in the fridge and 4 small containers went into the freezer. My kids and I will be very happy about that this winter.

Photo by Los Muertos Crew:

I had several pounds of locally grown tomatillos to use up. I have a favorite salsa recipe which includes blackened tomatoes, tomatillos, chiles de arbol, and various spices. I typically make enough to eat a jar of fresh salsa and freeze 3 more jars of salsa. This week I had enough ingredients to make 8 total containers of salsa. That should last us a while!

Photo by Markus Spiske:

Next up is rhubarb. I harvested some rhubarb from my garden as well as from a local farm earlier in the year. After I flash froze the rhubarb I let it sit in my freezer for several months. This week I realized I was almost out of jam, so I bought a large amount of organic frozen strawberries at the grocery store and set to making strawberry rhubarb jam. It came out delicious, as always, and was quickly stored in glass jars and popped into the freezer. Sure, it’s not all homegrown or locally produced, but on this site we’re all about making better choices rather than chasing perfection. I’m proud of that jam.

Photo by Ally Ross:

Next, I’ll talk about raspberries. I have some wild raspberry bushes growing on my property, so I pick those and enjoy them regularly. As for preservation, I tend to go to a local U-pick establishment to stock up on fruit. I wash the raspberries, dry them gently, and then flash freeze them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Once solid, I take the raspberries off the baking sheet and store them in either a silicone bag or a reused plastic freezer bag. The berries are then used in many ways throughout the winter months, and are a delightful addition to meals and desserts.

I also preserved store-bought tomato paste. Why? It will be easier to cook with in the future and none will go to waste. I had opened a can of tomato paste earlier in the week and didn’t have a use for the leftover paste. So I got out 3 more cans of tomato paste, portioned the paste into silicone molds (which hold approximately 1 tablespoon of food), and froze until solid. Once frozen, I popped the cubes out of the mold, put them into a reusable bag and stored everything in the freezer. Now whenever I need a tablespoon of tomato paste it will be ready and portioned out for me to use. Easy!

Photo by PhotoMIX Company:

I’m sure I’ll fit in lot of other preservation projects in the next month or so. I know I’ll be making applesauce, tomato sauce, salsa, diced tomatoes, etc but that’s a project for a different week. For now, I’ll just enjoy the delicious food in my fridge and appreciate the food in my freezer as well.

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