Monday, October 1, 2012

If you do one thing this week: Put Summer on Ice

Imagine biting into juicy strawberries or crisp green January. With the help of your freezer and tips from Teri Gault, CEO of the deal finding website, you can savor the deliciousness of colorful fruits and veggies all year round.

Stock up on :: berries, tomatoes, and stone fruits like peaches, plums, and nectarines.
To preserve :: Wash and pa dry with paper towels. Hull strawberries and cherries and quarter tomatoes. Peel, slice and toss stone fruits with lemon juice and simple syrup to prevent browning. Place fruit in a single layer on a baking sheet (to keep it from sticking together) and freeze; transfer to zip-top bags.
Use within :: 3 to 6 months. Label the date of when you packaged with a Sharpie. Toss if you notice crystallization.

Stock up on :: zucchini, green beans, peas, and spinach. Avoid produce with a high water content such as cucumbers.
To preserve :: Blanch first - drop vegetables in a pot of salted boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes, then plunge into ice water to halt cooking. After they've cooled, dry with paper towels, spread on a baking sheet, and freeze. Transfer to zip-top bags.
Use within :: 3 to 6 months. Label bag when packaged.

Stock up on :: dill, rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano, basil, parsley, and cilantro.
To preserve :: Separate leaves from stems, then wash and pat dry. Chop and add 1 tablespoon of herbs to each well of a flexible ice cube tray and fill with water. Once frozen, remove cubes and store in a zip-top bag. The next time a soup, sauce, or stew recipe calls for fresh herbs, simply pop in a cube.
Use within :: 12 months. Label bag when packaged.

{HINT: When freezing produce in bags, leave a bit of space at the top for expansion.}

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