Freezing peppers and other produce: yummy eggplant recipes.
We are preserving and storing for the cold doldrum of winter. We still must eat and we want to eat good--and we can. We have been busy in the kitchen with all the preserving we do here. This past week we were busy with making all the barbecue sauces and ketchup for both our family and our farm's Winter CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Pantry Share, along with pizza sauce and grape juice. We put up beautiful jars of raspberry and grape jam that are lining the shelves now. I was able to use all the leftover grapes from the steamer after I got the juice out. I put the "pulp" into a stainless steel colander over a large kettle and left it to drip. We did five bushels of grapes and got almost 100 quarts of grape juice and then from all the "waste" I was able to get another eight quarts of juice that I made our grape jelly with. I had some cranberries in the freezer, so I cooked some of those down, used the juice and substituted that for some of the grape juice. I added the cranberries and got some super yummy Cran-Grape Jelly. (See the recipe below.) My CSA Work Share ladies got all the basil harvested so Taylor and I got the beautiful pesto made for both our family and our Winter CSA Pantry Shares.
What To Eat And When?
While reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, the author does a superb job in giving us the details on what's in season and when. If you are a regular at the farmers markets, you probably have a fair amount of knowledge in this area, but for those of you who are just getting your feet wet in this wonderful world of "real food," I say, "Welcome!"
A really great site to go to can be found on my blogspot, www.fordragonfliesandme.blogspot.com. If you scroll all the way to the bottom of the page, you will see a site where you can get what is in season all across the world.
Freezing Peppers is Easy
Wash your peppers in cold water and remove any debris and bad spots along with stems. Cut your peppers in half and remove stem end and all seeds; either dice or cut into strips. I do some of both--diced are great for putting into chilies, gumbos and on pizza, and the strips are perfect for stir fry or fajitas.
Place on a cookie sheet and place in your freezer until close to frozen; use a metal turner to pop the peppers loose and place them in freezer containers. I like to use one-gallon ice cream buckets. I also place a piece of wax paper or foil wrap over the top before I put the lid on, this helps prevent freezer burn. Downsize your container as you use your peppers.
You can use this same method with raspberries, strawberries, rhubarb, blueberries and any other item that doesn't need blanching or steaming.
Here is my homemade CranGrape Jelly I created by chance!
Cran-Grape Jelly Prepare lids and jars Measure out exactly 7 cups of sugar in separate bowl; set aside Prepare liquid as follows: You will need exactly 5 cups of liquid--at least 4 cups of grape and the remaining from the liquid used to cook down the cranberries. You can add more grape juice to make the five cups if you don't get enough from the cranberries. Place 1-1/2 cups frozen whole cranberries in a 2-quart sauce pan with about 2 cups of water. Add frozen cranberries; bring to a boil then turn down heat and simmer for five minutes. Drain liquid and reserve. Place cranberries in a bowl and mash. Add cranberry juice to grape juice until you have exactly 5 cups of liquid. Measure exact amount of prepared fruit juice into a 6-8 quart saucepot. Stir in 1 package of fruit pectin powder (I use Sure-Jel). Add 1/2 teaspoon butter to prevent foaming. Bring mixture to full rolling boil (a boil that doesn't stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in sugar quickly. Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam. Ladle quickly into prepared jars, filling to within 1/4-inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Place lid and ring on tightly. Place jars on elevated rack of water bath canner and cover with hot water, covering jars by at least 2 inches. Process jelly for 5 minutes--adjust processing time according to your altitude. Remove jars and place upright on a towel or cooling rack to cool completely. Let stand on counter for 24 hours and put on your shelves. If any jars didn't seal, place in refrigerator and use first. Roasted Eggplant Dip 1 head garlic 1 large eggplant, cut half lengthwise 1 small onion, sliced thinly 1 large tomato, cored, sliced in half 3 tablespoons lemon juice 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint 1 tablespoons olive oil 1/2 teaspoon salt Dash of pepper Preheat oven to 450[degrees]F. Cut top off the head of garlic to expose a bit of the cloves. Wrap loosely in foil, bake until soft, about 30 minutes. Let cool slightly. Meanwhile, coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Place eggplant halves on the prepared baking sheet, cut side down. Roast for 10 minutes. Add onion slices and tomato halves to the sheet and roast until all the veggies are soft, 10-15 minutes. Let cool slightly. Squeeze the head of garlic, releasing the soft pulp, into a medium bowl. Mash with the back of a spoon. Slip skins from the eggplant and tomatoes; coarsely chop. Finely chop the onion. Add chopped veggies to the garlic pulp and stir in the lemon juice, mint, oil, salt and pepper. Serve with sliced raw veggies, crackers or pita bread/chips. Veggie Stuffed Eggplant 1 medium eggplant 1/2 cup chopped onion 2 garlic cloves, minced 1/2 cup each; mushrooms, chopped zucchini and sweet pepper--red, green and yellow mixed 3/4 cup chopped tomatoes 1/4 cup toasted wheat germ, optional 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper Dash crushed red pepper flakes 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese Cut eggplant in half lengthwise; remove pulp, leaving a 1/4-inch thick shell. Cube pulp; set shells & pulp aside. In a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, saute onion and garlic until onion is tender. Add the veggies and eggplant pulp; saute for 4-6 minutes or until veggies are crisptender. Stir in the tomatoes, wheat germ, parsley, thyme, and seasonings. Cook for I minute. Divide mixture evenly between the eggplant shells; sprinkle with the cheese. Place on a baking sheet. Bake at 400[degrees]F for 20-25 minutes or until shells are tender.
Visit the Smiths at www.thegardengatefarm.com.
BY JEAN SMITH
THE GARDEN GATE CSA FARM[TM]
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|Publication:||Countryside & Small Stock Journal|
|Date:||Jul 1, 2013|
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