back to basics

28 08 2008

Okay, now that you’ve had your peach cobbler fun, we’re back to peach preservation.

Freezing Peaches

There is a lot of information out there about how to freeze peaches but most sources talk about freezing peaches in a syrup. I never really liked peaches in syrup so I hunted down a non-syrup method.

  1. Freestone peaches are a must for freezing. With freestones, the fruit separates easily from the stone. And since it’s important to avoid bruising, you don’t want to have to spend any energy fighting with your peaches. Get freestone.
  2. Peaches should be ripe but firm. If the peach is starting to go mushy, it’s too far gone. Use it for cooking instead.
  3. Of course, wash the peaches – they’re known for having pesticides on them. You may even want to peel them if that makes you nervous. I’m never sure because the skins also have a lot of the vitamin content in them. Maybe washing is enough.
  4. Halve, quarter or slice your peaches.
  5. To stop them from browning, put them in a mixture of lemon juice and water (1 Tbsp lemon juice per four cups of water).
  6. Drain the peaches and toss GENTLY with sugar. I found different recommendations for how much sugar to use. In the end I went with ½ a cup of sugar for every 4 cups of sliced peaches.
  7. Spoon the peaches into freezer-proof bags or containers.
  8. Place into freezer – don’t squish them in though! Place gently.
  9. Enjoy for the next 12 months!

time flies

24 06 2008

egads! Where does the time go? Well actually… let me tell you.

Let’s see, on Friday I came home to a boat load of rhubarb that my mom and friend had kindly harvested for me. I washed and chopped rhubarb that evening, again on Saturday, and then finally finished on Sunday morning. Most of it went towards the slurpalicious rhubarb juice recipe, with a decent sized portion towards the decadent rhubarb vodka. And I topped off a few of the bags in our freezer with the rest.

Also on Sunday morning, my beloved and I went strawberry picking and brought home six large baskets. We spent the rest of the day washing and freezing the berries… at least the ones that didn’t get diverted into our open mouths. I tell you, it is NOT possible to resist a plump red strawberry that has been sitting in the sun.

Then, last night I spent the evening preparing more spinach for the freezer – 10 POUNDS OF IT! Yeah, that took awhile. When I finally finished, my husband said, “So what’s next? Is that it until tomatoes are in season?” I didn’t have the heart to tell him about the pickles, chutneys, and jams to come in just a few weeks.

So forgive me blogosphere, I have been absent. But I AM thinking of you.

Rhu the day…

27 05 2008

…that’s what you’ll do, if you don’t find some rhubarb for freezing soon! The season for rhubarb has most CERTAINLY begun up in the Ottawa area. But in your frenzy for all the lovely dishes you can make with the fresh stuff, remember to freeze some rhubarb for those cold winter months. It’s so ridiculously easy you’d be kicking yourself if you didn’t.

Once you hunt down the not-so-elusive rhubarb patch (hopefully with the owner’s consent) pull as much of it as you think is reasonable. That’s right, PULL. Don’t pull the new stalks that are still finding their way, but the young stalks that have pushed their way to the top are definitely fair game. The rhubarb should come out of the ground easily.

Then, with your machete – and WHO doesn’t have one of these on their hipster belt?!? – hack off the poisonous leaf, as well as an inch off the end that you just pulled from the ground. Once you’re done harvesting the stalks, bring your haul inside for some washing.

Lastly, chop the rhubarb stalks up into pieces – the pieces should be half an inch to an inch long. Throw them into a freezer-friendly bag, seal, and toss it all into the freezer.

Come February, when you can use this frozen stash in all your favourite rhubarb recipes, your taste buds will thank you!

can’t beet this!

7 01 2008

Yum! I had forgotten about the pickled beets I made last summer. It was one of those days in the kitchen where I had lots of different pots bubbling away on the stove top. I remember wondering what our winter diet would be like – this being the first winter where we’ve made local eating a priority. I felt like a squirrel at times, burying local food in our freezer, hiding my canned goods away in our cupboard. Now, whenever I go looking in our stored supplies, I’m always surprised with a treat I had forgotten about.