Tuesday, August 10, 2010

August food tasting

Oh what a nice morning we had! Well food was involved that was certainly a nice part. We talked about the gardening problems and there was no shortage. Doesn't this make you really value those people who farm for a living! We toured Amy's garden and talked about what to plant now....right now.

We will be having a Sept meeting to talk about putting your garden to bed correctly for the winter.

Here are a few pointers for right now:

1. Harvest the herbs before they go to seed.
You can cut them in serving sizes and freeze them in water in an ice-cube tray. Don't have a tray save a foam egg carton. Label your bags and toss those herb cubes in freezer bags for winter tasty!
You can dry your herbs and then blend them finely to use in a shaker. This is best down at a low temp in a good food dryer. I can give you instructions if your dryer didn't come with any.

2. you can also process your leaf crops, string bean and pea crops. Sometimes we over plant and sometimes we just can't eat any more! I freeze most of mine after blanching them.

I set up a big pot for hot water, a big bowl for ice water, and my salad spinner. Get out your freezer bags or airless bag processor. I go cut my kale etc bring it in and wash it, cut it in the size I want. Heat water to boiling and keep at a rolling boil. Toss in all the produce at once, set timer

Leaves very light 2 minutes
Heavy leaves 3 min
peas, green 1 1/2 min.
beans 3 minutes
squash 3 min.
Broccoli 5 min 3 if cut up smaller

Boil the whole time required. You can keep reusing the same water, just return to a boil each batch. Remove produce from boiling water and put into the bowl of ice water. stir around to cool it off. let it sit in the ice water for the same amount of time as you boiled it. Put into salad spinner and spin as much as possible to dry it. Leaves can be spread on wax paper and put into the freezer to pre-freeze before bagging. If you just fill the bad without pre-freezing you will have a big ice block of kale etc. Bag and put into the freezer for yummy winter eating.

Everyone promises to share the recipes from today but first here is the beet recipe everyone has wanted. Enjoy!

This favorite recipe of mine comes from an old Ortho book call "All about Pickling"

Beet Pickles

2 cups sugar
1 Tablespoons whole allspice
1 1/2 teas salt
2 sticks cinnamon
3 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar
1 1/2 cups water
3 quarts of small beets

1. Wash beets. Leave roots and 2 inches of stems so they won't bleed. Cook until tender in a large pot of water. Remove from water and slip the skins off while warm, trim off stems.

2. Combine the rest of the ingredients, simmer for 15 minutes but never boil the spices.

3. Cut the beets any shape you'd like. I waffle cut in med slices for relish trays and sandwiches. I cube some for topping salads etc. Pack into clean hot jars.

4. Bring liquid back to barely a boil and pour over the beets. I run a knife around to lift the air bubbles up and I add more liquid until 1 inch from the top.

5. Seal and process in boiling water bath for 30 minutes. These are like heaven in the middle of winter and beautiful at the Christmas table.

the pickling liquid will save in the fridge a few days if you need to wait for more harvest.

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