Getting Ready

Well, folks, winter is on it’s way and with it, the end of the CSA season.  We still have five more weeks to go with our late fall share, but in anticipation of the vegetable shortage, my husband and I made a day of it getting things ready to freeze. I’ve never gotten into canning, though I’m sure it’s in my future; for now, the freezer will have to suffice. Not everything freezes well and some things we definitely wanted to eat right away, but our freezer is looking pretty well stocked now! I found a great website called Still Tasty that has basic info about the best way to freeze a whole variety of food. Through that website and some additional research, we were able to put up quite a bit of food.

The whole bunch!

Raw Frozen

Peppers

We washed and chopped a variety of green and hot peppers. We did one bag with seeds still in the hot peppers, for my husband, and one bag without seeds for me. These are ready to be used in stir fries or any other recipe with peppers.

Parsley

This is a great techniques that can be used with any leafy herb. Simply wash and chop up. Then divide the herb equally in an ice cube tray. Add a little bit of water to each well (just until you can start to see it) and freeze for 24 hours. After the herb cubes are solid, seal them in a freezer bag and, voila, portioned out parsley!

Blanched then Frozen

Carrots, Turnips, and Beet Greens

These veggies are blanched first to preserve their color and texture. Wash the veggies first and peel and chop the carrots and turnips. To blanch, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, make a large bowl of ice water. Add the veggies to the boiling water for 2 minutes and then plunge immediately into the ice water. Once cool, remove from ice water and let dry thoroughly. Seal into freezer bags and place in the freezer.

Cooked then Frozen

Beets

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Wash your beets thoroughly and cut off the greens and roots. In a large baking dish (I used a 9×13 in Pyrex), place the beets and add about 1/4 inch of water. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 50 minutes or until fork-tender. Plunge the beets into ice water and rub off the skins. Chop or slice and freeze in bags.

Sugar Pumpkin

{Full disclosure, we did the pumpkins another day}

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut the pumpkin in half and discard the stem. Scoop out the seeds and cook those separately (slow roasted at 300 degrees with olive oil and salt is my personal favorite). In a jelly roll pan, place the two pumpkin halves cut-side down. Add a little water and cover the whole pan tightly with aluminum foil. Roast for about an hour, until the flesh is very tender. Once the pumpkin cools, scoop it out of the skin (if it’s cooked enough, this will be really easy) into a large bowl. Puree with an immersion blender if you have one. This makes an incredibly smooth puree and you don’t need to strain it. Freeze in bags. We did four pumpkins at once and have enough for several pies and other delicious pumpkin treats.

Are there any veggies that you like to preserve for winter?

~CM