Saturday, August 1, 2009

Forty-Two Ways in Forty-Two Days- Summer Produce

Happy August Everyone!

One of the best things-and worst things- about living in the midwest is the abundance of fresh produce in the summer.

I will get the worst thing out of the way first- the summer produce is SO good- that when it is not available- the stuff at the grocery store is FAR inferior. To the point that most of the winter we shop at Whole Foods Market for our fresh produce. Now- I love Whole Foods, but it is a tad on the expensive side, and also a 20 minute drive to the other side of Louisville. Fine when it is nice out- but a little tough to justify in the middle of an ice storm.

Now for the good stuff. What is not to like about fresh fruits and vegetables? Crisp apples and peaches (I like them pre-ripe), juicy berries, corn just hours off the stalk, beans, tomatos, cukes and more just out of the garden. It is a completely different taste than the stuff you get in stores- whether they are fresh, frozen or canned. One thing I have learned is that if we pick things like corn or beans, then blanch them, we can freeze them in wonderful containers that we buy at GFS (sorta a restaurant supply crossed with Sam's without the membership fee) in half pint (perfect size for Jim and I), pint or quart sizes. If done immediately- they will still taste fresh- not frozen- when we take them out later in the year. As we learn to do this properly- it helps out with our winter veggie needs.

Speaking of "fresh/freezing", my mom is the queen. Last season I was there when the corn came in and she let me work with her to put up a ton of it so that I would learn how. When the strawberries came in- we worked together and made strawberry freezer jam that is just so good and we are still eating it. Yesterday they called to tell us the corn had come in and ask how much we wanted. We told them how much we would like- and today they drove half way here and met me to "deliver" 25 half pints of beautiful corn. Between that and what we have left- we have enough for the whole winter! Hopefully when I go back to their house in two weeks, the next crop will be in and we can put up enough to fill their freezer.

Tomorrow morning I am heading up to Huber Family Orchard. I am getting some early freestone peaches. In just a few hours after my MTX nap, I can freeze peaches to keep me happy for a long time.

I love this time of year and I am grateful for the wonderful fruits and vegetables that are grown right here in the area. Even more- I am grateful to my mom for teaching me how to put them up so that we can enjoy them year round.

No comments: