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I don't know about you but I love shopping at the farmer's market. I have a small garden, but it is not enough to feed the seven people who live in my house so I do my quantity shopping at the farmer's market. My mother did not can or preserve food in any way so I had to learn this on my own trial and error. I found that freezing food was easier for me and since I am always feeding a crowd around here that it also was the most economical for me. I also dehydrate vegetables to use in soups and stews through the winter. This year, Miller's Farm has been having some great sales at the market, I can get about 50-60 pounds of produce organically grown for around $15.00.
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.
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!
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
Summer offers a plethora of berries and fruits that are both healthy and tasty. However, sometimes nature's bounty provides more than we can eat. Even at the best roadside stand bargain price, the produce costs too much if it's thrown away.