First off, I want to tell you something that has nothing to do with this post. The other night, I bought Stu a “Happy Last Year of College” prime top sirloin steak from a local butcher. Then, using a Nourishing Traditions recipe, I proceeded to make the most heavenly steak imaginable. Seared to rare perfection in the cast iron skillet, it was then drizzled with a butter & red wine reduction sauce.
My mouth is still watering.
And luckily, it was so good that I think it convinced Stuart to stay married to me for another year or two. So that's a bonus.
Now, onto your regular, scheduled, broadcasting:
The weather has finally decided to warm up. This is an answered prayer for both my pasty white legs and the tomato plants. Things are slowly but surely growing and we have already begun our stashing for winter. It's never too early to get started!
We've started by freezing our strawberries.
Don't worry, we've eaten plenty of fresh ones, too. But in the dead of winter, there is nothing quite like a little red berry in your warm oatmeal to cheer you up. Not to mention to use in smoothies! Yum, yum.
I contemplated making strawberry jam, but decided against it. These berries are far too good on their own to go and add 20 lbs. of sugar. No, sir. They will do just fine in my oatmeal. Freezing couldn't be easier – a quick rinse, pluck off the stems, and freeze on a flat tray (to avoid the frozen wad of strawberries). Then, just transfer to a freezer plastic bag and store in your deep freeze!
We've also been working on drying our abundance of dill.
This will be utilized for pickling, but it is also a great herb to have around for salads, fish, etc. While I could use my dehydrator, I simply lay the herbs out on a towel in the sun. Call me lazy.
Lastly, we have been also facing an abundance of kale! What a wonderful problem to have! This is the first year I have grown kale, so I wasn't exactly sure how to go about preserving it. After doing some research, it seemed the best way to store it was by blanching it and then freezing it in plastic bags. Then, as a kale need arises in the winter (ie: soups, pastas, pizzas, fritatas…), I can just pluck a leaf or two out of the freezer. I hope they do not freeze into a giant kale blob. That would be a tragedy.
Oh, and booya! Got our first head of lettuce (plus a few beet tops!) too!
The next big harvest we will face is apricots. I hope to put up some freezer jam, as well as dehydrate, can, and freeze some whole. They make wonderful cobblers in the winter and are just about the easiest fruit to clean and prepare to eat. Plus, I know someone who knows someone…who knows someone – and I harvest all of our apricots for free! This will be a busy harvest, for sure. But luckily, my enthusiasm for harvests knows no bounds. Not even the bounds of sleep.
I love getting to follow the season along as it moves from one crop to the next. Cherries will be up shortly, soon to be followed by cucumbers and corn.
Do I sound like a complete food-preserving-nerd, or what?
I'll fly that freak flag. Ain't no shame in it.
Ah, what a blessed life we live! Thank you, Lord, for your beautiful bounty!