Thursday, May 31, 2012

preserve that bounty {spring edition}

can it be that we are already at the point in the growing season where some veggies are going to seed or are so prolific that we need to figure out what to do with it all?  and quick.  here in my part of nebraska, zone 5, we had a very mild winter, early spring, and all around kind of wonky season.  some of the farmer's markets even opened early because farmers needed to harvest and sell.  at our farm we have lots of collards, tarragon, oregano, arugula, kale, spinach, butter crunch lettuce, rhubarb, turnips, and mulberries.  so i have been devising and researching ways to preserve these goodies so that i won't have any regrets later this year when the garden has been turned over and it is too cold to even remember what fresh veggies taste like.....the rest i will harvest and bring to the heart ministry center for one of their pantry days.

pizza pockets...done the lazy and TASTY way.
here's what i have done so far....

arugula pesto: i made some pesto with blanched arugula, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, parmesan, and almonds.  i froze about half the batch in ice cube trays, popped them out {once frozen}, and stored them in a plastic freezer bag.  i can then pop a few cubes into soups, stews, and sauces throughout the year or even thaw for a pizza base.  the rest of pesto will be saved for a pesto potato salad this weekend and pasta for lunches this week.

green stuffed pizza pockets:  i used my basic recipe found here.  this time they were stuffed with kale, arugula, spinach, caramelized onion, mushrooms, and cheese.  i par bake them, cool completely and freeze.  these are great for lunches, camping, road trips, or days when it is too hot to turn the oven on...they can just be popped in the toaster oven and reheated. 

quick lift turnips {middle eastern pickled turnips}:  a friend of mine gave me the book canning for a new generation and i have really been enjoying it.  i highly recommend this book not only because it a good starter to canning, but also shares lots of preservation tips beyond canning, like freezing.  it also has a wide variety of modern canning recipes that are categorized by season. this particular recipe was for a refrigerator pickle so it only took a few days before we able to enjoy our efforts.  i will be also trying a traditional canning recipe for cumin & paprika pickled turnips.

frozen kale: i simply washed my kale, dried it thoroughly, layered it up in a ziploc bag, and froze.  this can be used just as you would use frozen spinach. 

frozen collards: same as above.  also, i am thinking about trying a pickled greens with fresh chilies canning recipe.  i think it could really be great in the winter with some BBQ pulled pork. 

frozen rhubarb: clean, chop, & freeze.  make a pie in january when you really need pie.

rhubarb simple syrup: found here. keeps for about a month or so in the fridge.  add to lemonade, herbal iced tea, or sparkling water.  or better yet add it to cocktails.

what i have plans to do next....
strawberry tarragon jam
tarragon infused vinegar
grapefruit tarragon infused vodka
....these three will be surprise gifts for some of my favorite people in town.  also, if you could see the out of control situation that is my tarragon plant. yowza.

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