Believe it or not we’re still eating delicious locally grown eggplant here in Ottawa in the depth of winter. No, we don’t have a secret stash of plants that we’re harvesting from, we’re pulling it already grilled from the freezer and throwing it straight into our favourite recipes. This is the ‘trick’ to eating local all season long, and it really isn’t tricky at all!
Some people worry when considering athat they won’t be able to eat everything before it goes off. Food waste is a major issue in Canada, and one of the best ways to avoid it is learning how to preserve the summer bounty to be enjoyed during the lean winter months. Pretty much every vegetable that we grow and put in the CSA can be preserved one way or another, and we’re here to help you learn the tricks of the trade!
Freeze: There is almost no vegetable that can’t be frozen in some way or another. Most veggies can be chopped, blanched, and frozen and then used in much the same way you might use them when fresh. They will lose some crunch, so they are best cooked, but other than that the options are endless. Add chopped or grated frozen(Jolianne’s favourite!) or muffins, make soup from frozen carrots, beets, or spinach, and add defrosted roasted red peppers to the food processor with a can of chickpeas for hummus.
Can: There was a time not that long ago when every family knew how to can the summer bounty for shelf stable storage for years to come. If this isn’t something you have tried before it’s easy to be intimidated by the process, but it can really be quite simple. There are no shortage of books and websites on the process, and as long as you follow a tried and tested recipe you too can have a cupboard filled with a rainbow of veggie filled jars.
Prepare meals: There is really nothing better than pulling a delicious and nutritious meal out of the deep freeze on a day when you just don’t have the time or inclination to cook. We like to make big batches of things like soup, stew, pasta sauce, and lasagna, and then freeze some extra portions to be pulled out over the winter.
Ferment: We love fermenting! It’s easy, delicious, and filled with the health-giving benefits of probiotic bacteria. Think sauerkraut,, pickles, even ketchup, believe it or not! We have a few of our favourite recipes on the website if you want to give it a try yourself.
Dehydrate: This might sound fancy, but this is probably the least labour intensive method of the bunch. Many of the herbs we grow are easily dried by simply hanging the bunch upside down out of the sun for a little while. Add dried thyme to your holiday stuffing, use dried anise hyssop and lemon balm in herbal tea, or crumble some dried thyme in browned butter for a delicious pumpkin ravioli sauce.
Throughout the summer we’ll be sharing recipes, tips, and tutorials for food storage so that you can make the most of your CSA veggies and keep enjoying them all summer long. If there is something you would like to learn more about please let us know and we’ll do our best to help.