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Archive for the ‘Freezing’ Category

Berries, berries, berries.  In other words:  BEST HARVEST EVER!   The cultivated blueberries are ripening, the black raspberries are in full gear, and I am in heaven.  I adore berries.  They are my favorite fruits.  And I buy them exactly never, because I cannot believe how expensive they are (and they are usually gross from the supermarket anyway).  I’ve been going out ever day and harvesting the berries as they ripen.  We don’t have a lot, especially since the blueberries are only starting, so I’ve been freezing my daily harvests until I have enough to make some jam.  At the moment I’ve probably picked about 2 pints. 

Most days I forget to bring a vessel out to the garden with me (as I’m usually running into the garden the moment I get out of my car) so lots of my shirts have berry stains on them now.  Oh well!

I did a lot of weeding last week (though not nearly enough…sigh) so I actually got a nice veggie harvest when I cleared a big patch of Purslane from the base of my watermelon plants.   Wait?  Purslane?  That vigorous weed?   Yup- if you haven’t tried Purslane already, you really should.  I think it is quite tasty, and I hate most greens, and on top of that it is CRAZY good for you.  And it makes weeding a little more fun.   Toss it into a salad, soup, or stir-fry. 

I think Purslane is a particularly beautiful plant- that shimmer isn’t a trick of the light.  The succulent leaves literally sparkle. 

Want to share your harvests?  Go see Daphne!

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Freezing without Blanching?

My parents tell me that they don’t blanch any of their veggies before freezing them anymore. I was under the impression that blanching was a non-negotiable step in the freezing process. Daddy told me that he thinks it has something to do with the quality of freezers these days- that they cool and retain their temperature so efficiently- that keeps the veggies fresh-tasting without blanching. Mom did make the caveat that if you are planning on freezing something for a year or longer then you should probably blanch.

Does anyone have any insight on this? The blanching process is such a pain for me- I just hate doing it for some reason. If I knew I didn’t have to take this step to freeze my food, that would be such a relief for me.

I tried it yesterday with some broccoli and shell beans that I bought mom and dad bought for me at the farmer’s market, so I’ll make sure to let you know the results when I eventually eat them.

So what do y’all do? Blanch? No blanch?

This yielded three quarts of broccoli florets, a bowl full of broccoli stalks that I’ll use for Cream of Broccoli soup and stock, and about a cup of peeled broccoli stems that I julienned to throw in my bag of stir-fry mix. I also threw in my first handful of Sugar Snap Peas that I’m growing as my fall crop. They are doing pretty well so far!

These are the shell beans that I got at the farmer’s market also. Aren’t they gorgeous? I just LOVE beans. I have no idea what the variety is (forgot to ask!). There were a few pods that had almost dry beans in them, so I saved those 10 beans to try and grow a few next year. I’d love to have some shell beans in the garden. Truthfully, if I had more room I’d probably grow a hundred types of beans. They fascinate me!

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