or My Fridge Runneth Over
I love our weekly CSA veggie box but there are
some many weeks where we can’t consume everything. I can’t stand the guilt of seeing something spoil so I’ve gotten proactive. Within a few days of getting a new box I try to preserve a few items.
The trick with CSA preservation is to focus on easy preparations. Here are a few of my favorite long term preservation techniques:
- Basil – after setting aside a little for cooking I make pesto and freeze it in small quantities – I use those plastic zippered snack bags. This is great for seasoning a quick midweek pasta dish.
- Hot peppers – after setting aside one or two for cooking I add the rest to my jar of refrigerator pickled peppers. I use finely chopped pickled peppers to season stews and stir fries
- Collards and kale – chop into really small pieces and simmer in broth (I use veggie or chicken) until cooked. Use enough broth to completely cover the greens. Freeze in 1 or 2 cup quantities. I add this to soup for an extra boost of veggies and flavor.
- Winter squash – cut the squash in half, remove the seed and cover with foil. Bake at 350 degrees until soft. Once cool remove the skin and mash the squash. Add enough liquid (broth is best but water is OK) to make the mixture soupy. Freeze in side-dish sized quantities in a plastic freezer bag. After defrosting I simmer the squash in a skillet with a little olive oil, salt and pepper until the excess liquid is cooked off. Squash also makes a great filling for lasagne. This fall I will experiment with turnips, I think the same preparation with work.
- Tomatoes – we rarely have left over tomatoes since we love to eat them fresh with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. When I do have extras I usually don’t have time to skin the tomatoes and make a proper sauce. So I keep the skins on and make a lazy sauce for freezing. I chop all the tomatoes in a large dice. I warm a little bit of garlic and olive oi in a pan then add the tomatoes with a little salt. If I have some basil, I chop it and add it. Once the tomatoes just start to soften and put off juice I turn off the heat. The mixture should have a lot of liquid. Once the tomatoes have cooled, I freeze them in plastic freezer bags. To use the tomatoes I defrost them and cook them gently for a just a few minutes. Then I season them and toss with warm pasta for a really simple sauce. If I have some pesto I will add it before cooking.
How do you preserve the extras from your garden or CSA box?