Day Five: CSA Adventure

With only a few veggies left in this week’s box, this post is not about the veggies on hand BUT about other benefits of being part of a CSA program. The one we belong to offers 10% off of produce at the farm on Sauvie Island. We are frequent visitors for berry picking, and of course pumpkins in the fall. Plus each year I try to load our freezer full of fruit.

This year I expanded from just freezing berries and peaches to putting up green beans, corn, and spaghetti sauce.

Below you will find instructions for each! Costs shown do not reflect the discount we receive or the cost of supplies aside from the produce.

Happy Freezing!!

Freezing Corn
Here is how I freeze corn to later use as side dishes for dinner, in soups and chilis, corn bread and other items.

Need:

  • 24 ears of fresh local corn (I prefer the peaches and cream variety from The Pumpkin Patch)
  • 2 – 4 cookie sheets
  • Parchment or wax paper
  • A large pot
  • Quart size freezer bags

How to:
– shuck the corn and remove all the silk.
– bring a large pot of water to boil and fill the sink with cold water.
– put 5 or 6 ears of corn into the boiling water for 1 minute.
– remove and put into cold water immediately to stop the cooking process (you just completed what is called “blanching”).
– cover cookie sheets with parchment/wax paper
– cut corn off the cob on to the cookie sheet and spread out into a thin layer.
– put in the freezer for a few hours until the kernels are frozen.
– transfer to quarter freezer bags and return to freezer.
– use within 6 months of freezing.

Yield: 24 ears of corn makes approximately 3 quarts of frozen corn.
Cost: I just paid $2.00 per 6 ears of corn (closer to October they are cheaper!)

 

Freezing Peaches
Here is how I freeze peaches to use in smoothies, cobblers, pie, breads, and just for eating all year long!

Need:

  • Local peaches that is ripe, but not too ripe (I buy them by the 20lb box at The Pumpkin Patch – approximate cost: $25.00) – look for FREESTONE peaches meaning the pit comes out easily when you cut it open! Very important.
  • Gallon (or quart) freezer bags
  • A large pot
  • 2 – 4 cookie sheets
  • Parchment or wax paper
  • Lemon juice (put 2 cups in a large bowl with 2 cups of water) – you will use this to prevent the fruit from turning brown.

How to:
– bring a large pot of water to boil and fill the sink with cold water.
– drop 6 peaches into the boiling water for 1 minute then remove and immediately put into cold water.
– the skin should loosen so you can just peel it off with your fingers. IF the skin is stubborn, try an additional 30 second of plunging in hot water. OR your peaches may not be ripe enough and may need to sit on the counter for a day or two before you process them.
– once the skin is peeled off, put the peach in half, remove the pit and then slice the peach halves into thin slices.
– drop the slices into the lemon water bath so they won’t turn brown.
– transfer the peach slices to the parchment covered cookie sheet and arrange them in a single layer (they will be wet but should not be dripping too much).
– freeze for a few hours till all the slices are frozen individually.
– transfer to freezer bags and return to freezer.
– use within 9 months of freezing (they rarely last this long at our house!)

Yield: 20lbs of peaches usually gets me 6 gallons of frozen peach slices.
Cost: $25 for 20lbs of peaches

 

Freezing Green Beans
Need:

  • A box (or 2) of local green beans (I bought two 15 lb boxes from The Pumpkin Patch)
  • Quart size freezer bags
  • A large pot and tongs
  • A strainer and a sink full of cold water
  • Kitchen sissors or a knife

How to:
– rinse a strainer full of green beans in cold water.
– cut the stems off the beand and cut to desired length (I kept mine whole)
– bring a large pot of water to boil
– drop a strainer full of prepared beans into the boiling water for 3 minutes.
– remove quickly and put into sink of cold water immediately to stop the cooking process.
– let blanched beans sit in cold water for at least 3 minutes.
– remove from skin and drain on a dry towel for a few minutes
– fill quart size freezer bags, remove as much air as possible and seal.
– freeze for up to 18 months!

To use:
– boil or steam on the stove top
– broil with olive oil, salt and pepper in the oven.
– use in soups and stews.

Yield: 1 box (15 lbs) of green beans yields between 12 and 15 quarts of frozen green beans.
Cost: $16.99 per 15lb box at The Pumpkin Patch

 

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce
Ingredients:

  • 1 chopped onion
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 (28 oz) cans peeled ground tomatoes in paste (I substituted this with fresh tomatoes – see notes below)
  • 1 (6 oz) can Italian-style tomato paste (I used regular)
  • 7 cups water
  • 3 Tbls Italian seasoning
  • 2 Tbls dried basil (I ran out of this half way through so I switched to oregano)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup red wine (I used white wine. I forgot to add this on a pot or two, and the flavor was a little different, but still good!)
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper
  • Optional: I added 1 cup of chopped celery to mine as well.

Note for using fresh tomatoes: 6 – 7 cups of tomatoes will be the substitute for the canned version. Bring a large pot of water to boil, drop the tomatoes in for 1 minute, remove, and plunge in cold water in the sink to loosen the skin. Peel and chop coursely.

To make:
In a large pot over medium heat saute onion and garlic (and celery if using) with the olive oil until soft. Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, water, Italian seasoning, basil, sugar, wine and crushed red pepper. Bring to a soft boil then reduce heat to low and simmer for 3 hours, stirring occassionally. Serve.

To freeze:
Allow pot of sauce to cool completely on a wire rack. Spoon into quart sized freezer bags (approximately 6 cups of sauce) leaving room for expansion. Freeze and use as needed. One pot of sauce will yield about 2 quarts (serves 4 people).

Cost: I bought a 20lb box of local tomatoes for $16.95 – this is enough for 5 pots of sauce or approximately 10 quarts of sauce.

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