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So for all the newbies out there that need information on how to preserve some of summer's bounty, I thought I would share some of my all time favorite recipes. These recipes freeze well and can be used for a variety of things. Also I buy things like mushrooms and celery, two things that I cannot get at the market when they are on sale and dehydrate them for use all year long. All measurements are approximate, as some people may not use salt or the specific spice that I do. The best way to do these recipes is to set aside a Saturday and cook all day. I always freeze in the freezer Ziploc bags, as they will lie flat in my freezer so they take up less room.
To the basic tomatoes, you can continue on and add any vegetable that you like. I some times add grated zucchini or summer squash into the tomatoes to add extra nutrition and because my family doesn't always want to eat squash and, if it is hidden in the sauce, they don't care if it is there. I use basic tomatoes to make spaghetti sauce, cream of tomato soup, chili or any dish that requires a tomato base. Having this frozen in my freezer in gallon bags, makes making spaghetti very easy. All I do is add Italian seasonings and meat. The sauce only needs to cook for about a half an hour and I have homemade dinner on the table. Same with chili I drain and rinse some beans, cook up some hamburger and add some chili powder and green chilies in a can and then just let it simmer for about a half and hour. I also use this raw which means that I only peel the tomatoes and saute' the onions and garlic for salsa and then add a can of green chilies and freeze.
Onion butter can be put on any bread including corn bread. It can be added to mashed potatoes or used as a topping for baked potatoes. It can be used as a condiment for hot dogs or sausages or hamburgers. Small amounts can be stirred into soups or stews. Try this and I bet you will find many more uses.
I hope like me you will be enjoying the bounties of summer!
Editor's Note: Do you have any favorite recipes for preserving summer's bounty? Share them here!
Lucky you! Here in our small town in Maine we have noticed the huge increase in Farmer's Market produce. My husband came home with a dozen small corn that he paid $6 for! We paid $3 for them last summer!!
Yes! Lucky you. Here in Alaska is ridiculous to buy at the farmers market, EVERYTHING is expensive! Sometimes I do wish we were in the lower 48.
I really would like to hear from someone who cans meat. I never hear of recipes for canned meat.
I am a city girl of 42 years, moved to the country for the last 10 years. And I've learned to can lots of things, it's not hard, just have your recipe ingredients, jars, lids, and rings ahead of time. It's work, but, VERY rewarding. A successful small garden will even yield a lot.
I've canned, jalapenos, pickles, green beans, tomatoes, and tomato juice. Spaghetti sauce, and salsa with my tomatoes also. I know there is a very good site on the internet that gives picture step by step instructions on how to can green beans. (an old pro friend of mine needed to brush up her skills and asked for the site. Just key in canning, or canning green beans).
I've frozen squash, green beans and corn, and that's a real easy task. I've been told to blanch the green beans before freezing then cool them. To me they have no taste, and hard to get cooked up. So, this year, I seasoned them, cooked them up completely, then froze them. Just thaw them completely before cooking them up, or they will be overcooked when you go to eat them.
You can actually make a green bean pot medley with green beans, squash, tomatoes, zucchini, and most vegetable out of the garden. Cook them completely, seasoned with meat, like I used a ham hock (hey I'm southern!) They tasted so good, and we ate some, and I froze up the rest in quart freezer bags. I've learned a lot with my 10 years in the country. But, I can say, it's good, and rewarding to can and freeze, and money saving too! I even freeze a surplus of bread, flour, and corn meal. I know an elderly lady that grows her garden in 5 gallon buckets because she now lives in an apt. So, what ever works, it's good eating. God Bless.
Your onion butter sounds wonderful! It would also be a great way to add onion flavor w/out your kids spending the entire meal picking out the onion pieces, LOL. Aother great way to preserve those beautiful sweet onions is with your crockpot. I just chunk up the onions into the crockpot until its full, and 1 -2 sticks of butter and cook on low. I put it on before I go to bed, then in the morning it is ready to freeze. These onions go great in hotdish, soups, or just reheated and eaten alone or as a condiment for meats. Robbyn in Wisconsin
The prices here have gone up also! But we go late in the day to get the best bargains. The farmers don't want to have to haul it home so we get better deals. The produce might be smaller but it is well worth my time. My favorite farm offers at the end of the day all you can put in a box for 15.00 and you can get a lot in those small boxes if you stack everything correctly. Also this is a family farm not a commerical grower (which we have a few that go to the farmers market) plus their produce is not certified organic.
Try going later in the day and bargain with the farmer if he knows you are going to buy in quantity maybe he will give you a better price.
Berry season is just around the corner! Teach your kids how to can their very own preserves. The equipment is not very expensive and will pay for itself when you stock your pantry for the winter.
By Cindy Merrill
Homemade preserves make terrific Christmas gifts. Children would love to make their own labels for the jars!
An alternative to canned predserves is fruit leather. so after the cupboard's full of jams and jelly, break out a dehydrator
Good mixes include: -stawbwerry/apple - bueberry/pear - rasberry/and anything, (strain half of the seeds from the rasberry puree)and blackberry? pear or apple rhubarb mixes well with cherries, apple, strawberry and pear
Puree the fruit and pour onto lined trays, about 1/8to1/4" thick
if you use cereal box liners to line the trays then when the fruit leather comes out it needs only to be flipped over on it's liner and rolled up
I have an american harvest snackmaster (my mom got tired of lending me hers and got it for me) and would highly reccomend it
However, you can be more creative in your frozen fruits. Try pressing the berries and filling ice cube trays with the frozen mash. Then, throughout the summer and early fall, drop the berry flavored ice cubes into drinks for exciting bursts of health and flavor. Items like cherries can be frozen in their original form on a tray and dropped into drinks without being ice cubes. A frozen cherry is a tasty treat!
Another idea is to try rolling a few pizza crusts. Layer them with the traditional sauce and shredded cheese. Then, add the summer's bounty to the top to create a supreme pizza with the works. Sliced tomatoes and green peppers make an interesting and refreshing combination. Skip the sauce and make a white pizza with broccoli and spinach topping. Be creative with whatever you can find at your produce stands or in your backyard garden. Pizzas can be frozen in a large plastic bag if needed. They make great quick meals during months when the vegetable toppings are too expensive to add.
While you're adding to what you already have, try ice cream. Either make your own ice cream adding berries during the process or add them to the vanilla ice cream you purchased at the store. Either way, you can purchase the store brand vanilla (or add cherries to chocolate for an even more interesting combination) and add fresh fruits to make a yummy treat! Peaches, cherries, strawberries, blueberries; there's no end to the options.
Of course, adding extra servings of fruits and veggies to your daily diet won't hurt. Why save everything for later; enjoy it today while it's at its freshest.
I saw a fantastic article last week about making fresh berries last a little longer before going mouldy - apparently the trick is giving thema very quick bath in near-boiling water - see link