Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Food Saving Tips for your CSA Vegetables (Week 11 Newsletter follows in the next post)

Occasionally you will receive more vegetables than you can eat in one week. Try preserving your veggies by canning or freezing them. You can also make big batches of soups, stews, pesto or sauces and put them in the freezer for quick meals, or when there are no fresh veggies in the winter. The Internet has tons of ideas but for canning I would recommend buying a good book and following the steps carefully.
  • Always keep your leafy vegetables and herbs in tied plastic or Ziplock bags in the fridge. If you don’t put them in plastic, the moisture will evaporate and the leaves will wilt within hours of being placed in the crisper.
  • Your herbs can be left out to dry in a well-ventilated room and then crushed and stored in air-tight containers.
  • Zucchinis, cucumbers, leeks, broccoli, cauliflower and corn last longer if placed in plastic before going into the fridge.  Zucchinis, cucumbers and corn can be left on the counter if you plan on using them within a couple of days.
  • Tomatoes are best kept on the counter and eaten at room temperature. If you want them to last longer, put them in the fridge. To freeze, cut tomatoes in half and lay cut-side down on a baking sheet. Put the baking sheet into the freezer until they are rock solid. At this point, you can put the tomatoes into freezer bags and keep frozen until you can make a sauce. When they thaw, the skin will slide right off. Easy!
  • Squash, pie pumpkins, potatoes, garlic and onions should be kept in a cool, dry place for storage, like a pantry or cellar. Keep the squash and pumpkins from touching each other. Excess moisture will cause mould to form. If you plan on using these vegetables within a week or two, they will keep on the kitchen counter.
  • Potatoes should be kept in a dark place to avoid turning green, which can be poisonous. If green spots appear, simply cut them off. The rest of the potato will be fine to eat.
  • Arugula, basil, chard, garlic scapes, kale and spinach can be used to make pesto. Different pesto recipes can be found on the Internet or on this website (see the recipe tabs above). Pesto can be frozen in Ziplock bags and stacked like books or plastic containers/glass baby food jars (leave plenty of room so the pesto doesn't expand and break your jar) and can be eaten year-round on pasta, meat or bread as a spread.
Please let me know if you have any new or better ideas for making your veg last longer!

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