If you thought that because I've been stuffing my face with lobster that I haven't taken the time to be preserving food…
…well then, you're plum wrong.
As I've told you before. It's a sickness. A disease. It's an uncontrollable urge. And I shan't fight it.
While we were gone over the weekend, our green beans and kale went into hyper-drive. I spend a few minutes this morning preparing them for the winter.
While canning green beans is a common way to preserve them, frankly, I find that it can tend to make them mushy and flavorless. Instead, I opt for freezing. Yes, it does take up more storage space in the freezer. But if I'm organized (like I should be!) then I can make it fit.
In order to preserve them, I simply snip off the ends and then quickly blanch them in a pot of hot water. After a minute in the water, I transfer them quickly to a bowl of ice-cold water.
See how nice and pretty and green they get?!
This helps them to retain their color and texture through the deep-freeze.
Out to dry for a few minutes…
…then into the freezer they go!
How easy is that!
This blanching/freezing method also works great with kale. Super, super easy.
I've also been freezing my dill flowers, which is a great way to preserve them until you're ready to pickle. And you know what else I've been freezing?
I just snipped 'em into wee pieces with scissors…then froze them in a thin layer on a plate. After they were frozen, I transfered them to a mason jar. And voila. Couldn't be easier. I've found this method of chives preserves the integrity of the tender chive much better than dehydrating.
Coriander (the seeds of cilantro!) has also been dehydrated, as well as dill, rosemary, thyme, and oregano. Mmm.
You know, it's funny – this weekend, I was talking with Aileen's Mom Terri about the ballet of preserving food. We talked about how she used to love to can and freeze and dehydrate, but then eventually, she just lost of the love for doing it. And you know what? That's okay.
If I didn't love doing this, I wouldn't do it.
We are blessed to live in a time that someone has to grow our food – but it doesn't necessarily have to be us. Isn't that interesting? You can feed your family for their entire life – on food that you never planted, grew, or harvested.
But I do love it. I love seeing the cans in the cupboard and the bags in the freezer. I love the intense flavor of the herbs and the spices that season foods all winter long. I love savoring dried fruit that was grown a few feet from my porch. I love knowing where my food came from, how it was grown, and the method involved with processing it (or lack thereof). I love dirt beneath my fingernails after digging in the garden. And I love finding sweet surprises as I rummage through the mess of branches and leaves. I love bouncing from one harvest to the next – eagerly awaiting the warm, ripening days ahead. I love harvesting our side-dishes minutes before they are prepared into dinner. And I love knowing that we are getting high-quality, nutrient rich food from healthy soil. I love canning. And talking with my Mom as we peel peaches. I love the smell of dehydrating apricots and the humidity it adds to the kitchen air.
I love eating our food we grow.
…And pretty much eating in general.
I know that homesteading is not everyone's cup of tea. But this girl….sigh…well, this girl, at this moment, is very much in love with this homesteading/gardening/preserving/squirrel-mode world.
…And pretty much this world in general.