Thursday, August 23, 2007

Doing the Can-Can

We ate leftovers last night so there are no new lentil recipes today. Our CSA pickup has been bountiful the last two weeks. I really love this time of year for that reason. In an effort to eat more locally and to support small farms, once school starts, our CSA shares increase from 2 to 5. I really want to avoid having to buy veggies over the winter. Let the canning begin!

I canned my first batch of tomato sauce last week. I'll get my second batch going later today. It was so exciting to return to canning after having so little time and energy to do it last year.

Our local thrift store puts canning jars in the "free" area. You won't hear any complaints from me! In the last two weeks, I've picked up almost 4 dozen pint jars that are in beautiful shape.

The task of preserving foods to get us through the winter requires me to look at every CSA pickup very carefully. What is most perishable? Lettuces, tender greens, cucumbers, and melons are eaten first because they just don't have the holding power.

What holds well in the fridge? Beets, collards, kale can sit happily in the fridge for quite a while. Tomatoes are easy to can but we love to eat them, so we eat some and can some.

What freezes well? An overabundance of zucchini or summer squash can be shredded and frozen to use in quick breads or pancakes. (Freeze these in the amounts that you would use in recipes to make things easier.)

Mother Earth News had a great article on winter vegetable storage in the last issue. I'm planning to try more low energy storage options this winter.

Speaking of getting through the winter locally, several local farms in our area have begun to participate in Winter Sun Farms. Winter Sun Farms operates much like a CSA with monthly pickups between December and March. They piloted this program last winter with one pickup and the response was encouraging enough to expand to four pickups. We've signed on for 2 shares. This will be a nice supplement to the preserving that I do.


Ruthie said...

Oh good for you!!!!!! :-)
I can't wait to start canning someday...

Idea: We freeze melon for smoothies and shakes.

Anonymous said...

Great post, Katie! My problem with storing vegetables in the home at this time of year is the house is rarely below 80 degrees, which is a tad warm for many vegs. I'd love to have a root cellar!

And, like Ruthie, we also freeze melon. I blend it first and then freeze in ziploc bags. The watermelon should work great in agua fresca. Just don't defrost it completely!

Katie said...

I made my first watermelon and banana smoothie today. It was delicious! That agua fresca recipe sounds wonderful!

Anonymous said...

Free canning jars! Good deal. Great too, that they weren't discarded. I picked up a huge stash of them a couple of years ago at a thrift store and paid about 0.20/liter jar. Not bad at all, but free is even better. :D

How do you store your beets? They always go soft on me rather quickly. Would love to know how you keep them.

I love your blog! :)

Katie said...

Thanks Cassie,
I've had good luck keeping beets in a plastic bag in my refrigerator. They seem to last an eternity in there and never get squishy.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Katie! I've never stored them that way before and will try it. Great re-use for store bought bread bags, too. :)