August 21, 2009

Slice, Dice, and Freeze

There's just no more putting it off, it's time to start processing and getting some more things in the freezer. We decided to take one item at a time and finish it out in the garden. Lord willing this weekend we'll finish up with the myriads of Brussels sprouts out there and get them frozen.

Today I tried something new, which is making and freezing stewed tomatoes. There's a recipe in the Ball Blue Book of Preserving. The recipe is actually for canning the stewed tomatoes, but I chose freezing instead. I have these great freezer containers that are just the right size when I need tomatoes for a recipe of spaghetti sauce, chili, or stew. I added a hot pepper, plus more onion, green pepper, and celery than the recipe specified, but ONLY because I was freezing instead of canning. If I had been canning I would have followed their recipe to the letter. When you home can high acid foods (tomatoes) with low acid foods (celery, onion, peppers), you have to be very careful that the acidity level is adequate for long term storage. That's why canning things like stewed tomatoes and salsa has to be a more exact science.

I also engaged in slicing loads of green peppers. I diced a few, but mostly sliced them for things like stir-fry, Pad Thai, and fajitas. The Ball Blue Book says that there is no need to blanch these before freezing, so there couldn't be anything simpler. I put them on a cookie sheet that is lined with lightly sprayed wax paper. From experience, I know that frozen veggies can stick like crazy! We use lots of peppers when we have them, but the price per pound of these babies in the grocery store is absolutely outrageous. We have plenty more out in the garden and I'm really hoping they will keep us supplied for a good long while.

And finally, I would like to report that there is a STINKING SNAKE out there in that garden, and I really don't appreciate it's being there this time of the summer and slowing me down when there is so much to do! Every time I have to go out there now, it requires a lengthy ritual of beating on the gathering bowl, clanking the fence, stamping the ground, and any other noises I can think of before I'm able to gingerly get in there and grab what I need. What an inconsiderate, slithering devil!

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