I gave half my garden a rest this year. (Have you noticed that sky-blue tarp spread out on the ground in my garden pics this year?) That rest zone meant I grew far less than fills my winter-larder. ("Just what is a larder?" a fellow blogger asked the other day. Well, whatever it is, mine is more sparsely stocked than in years past--with homegrown fare, that is.) What's more, it was such a dry season that what did grow wasn't up to the standard of previous years.
Supplementation is the key at this point. See the 7 quarts of tomato sauce cooling on the back of the stove? They're the result of that 25 lb. box of tomatoes from the farm veggie-store. I mentioned them in a post the other day.
I also got sweet corn from a local producer. $4 for 10 ears this time of year. (Well, $5 if you want to include the dollar I gave Junior Gardener for shucking them and toting the inedible remains to the compost heap.) Mid-summer, the corn was even cheaper. In fact, the Brussels sprouts are the only thing in the freezer-ready basket that actually came from the back yard, but they aren't the only thing that's nearly fresh from the vine.
So what if the green beans spent a day or two traveling from the bean patch to the farm store shelf to my shopping basket. I'm sure that when I pull a bag out of the freezer come Thanksgiving, I'll never have a clue whether it's a bag from my own garden or from someone else's. They will still have that "kicked-up-a-notch" flavor that I want gracing my holiday table. And, they were only five and a half bucks for this 3 lb. bag.
A couple of pointers about freezing produce:
- Blanche before freezing. If you're not sure what blanching is all about, check out this post from the deep freeze: http://http//suburbansettler.blogspot.com/2010/11/blanchits-not-just-your-great-aunts.html
- Expel as much air as possible when using freezer bags. Freezer burn is less likely.
- Finally, make sure you let anything in glass jars cool completely before you freeze it. Otherwise, you'll open your freezer to a scattering of glass shards.