Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Veggies

My mom taught me that traditional methods of canning rob your food of significant amount of nutrition, so we've had to come up with some alternatives this year as we harvested our first crop of our very own organic veggies! Here's what we did:

We chop the tomatoes



Then some get bagged and go straight into the freezer for chili or skillets meals.



Some also get turned into salsa and bagged and frozen. To prepare, run under hot water until thawed and add a bit of tomato paste to thicken the "broth". We eat a lot of salsa around here!



We chop the peppers,





and freeze them on trays (well, whatever doesn't go into the salsa), and then put the frozen pieces into ziplock bags. This means we can take out as much as we need for a dish without having to thaw out the whole bagful.



The hot peppers go in the oven on about 150 till they're dry. Then they're chopped into flakes in the Vitamix (don't breathe this in!!)



I'll also freeze our corn on the cob, and dry my herbs. Sorry no pics of that yet. And now my freezer is full and Sofi says we are ready for the winter!

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.....

(Lord, please don't take that too literally... It was really just poetic license. I'm sooo not ready for snow.)

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I guess you already know this, Lis, but if you freeze tomatoes as the first step to processing, you can slip the skins off and don't have to deal with tough skins in your salsa. Cutting frozen tomatoes is hard, though, as you know, and a little too much for Judah and Sofi. On the other hand, if you can tolerate them, skins are really good for you. Also, seeds are good for you (we've been learning just HOW good in connection with Pop Pop's cancer). That means eating the whole pepper or tomato or apple or pear, with core and seeds included. Apricots are particularly good, eating the seed inside the nut, but they are totally off your subject of freezing peppers. It was a great post!

Herb of Grace said...

Thanks, Mom! :) I did mean to mention the frozen whole tomatoes, but didn't get a photo and so, forgot...

Sarah said...

I can ask both mother and daughter, what step in canning reduces the nutrition of vegetables? Freezing sounds great but I don't have a freezer to store food in this year. Is there a silver bullet? Does it help if I can the vegetables raw?

Herb of Grace said...

Hi there, Sarah. From what I understand, it's the over-cooking involved in first cooking the veggies and then waterbathing the canned food. It's always better to eat your fruits and veggies as close to raw as possible. But canning raw fruits and veggies can lead to growth of bacteria and nasties. So freezing is better-- no over-cooking, no nasties. I'm not sure how drying your produce might fit into the nutrition spectrum... Maybe Mom can answer that...?

Toni said...

I understand that drying is the best as far as preserving nutrition is concerned. Dried tomatoes are a VERY EXPENSIVE delicacy (if you opt to buy them)and lose only a small percentage of the nutrition in the fresh produce. You need a dehydrator, however, to make it easy. The oven can be used on a low setting with the door partly open for circulation--some instructions even insist on a fan in the oven--but I have found it undependable and inconvenient, mostly because my oven is not known for its even heat circulation. Even if you should decide to dry your tomatoes, however, you still might want to shed the skin. If you have a small refrigerator-freezer, you can freeze small amounts just long enough to be able to slip the skins off in hot water. Then set them to dry. I've never tried drying tomatoes with the skins, but I would imagine them to be really tough. Eating skins is for FRESH produce, not preserves, as far as I know--but I don't know a whole lot.

Sarah said...

Thanks so much. With my tomatoes, I decided to blanch, skin, quarter and water bath them for 15 minutes. Almost as close to raw and I can get. Next time perhaps I could skin them by freezing instead. Great news about the nutrition of dried tomatoes! I bought an inexpensive dehydrator ($50) and have been drying tomato slices with the skin, delicious! (I tried the oven and had every one of those problems) Happy freezing!