Aren’t I a blogging phenom for not putting all this into Wednesday’s post?
|A pan set I found at a yard sale. It all nests together. I got it for camping, but it’s useful for macaroni and cheese (there are so few of us now!) and blanching veggies in small batches.|
Here are my issues with putting up veggies in the freezer. Maybe you can relate. Not you, Mrs. I-grew-up-on-a-farm-smarty-pants friend. YOU, my overwhelmed-plain-old-smarty-pants friend.
1. They are not all the same size. The ones you buy at the store are, the ones you pick are not — whether we are talking about beans, peas, broccoli, or asparagus, which are what I’m likely to be dealing with in this manner. This bothers me into paralysis.
2. There are often not enough all at once to process, but too many to eat right away. Stalemate.
3. What exactly is blanching, how is it different from plain old cooking, and no matter how well you define it, I will still feel that I’m doing it wrong. More paralysis.
4. I don’t have a vacuum sealer thingy. Wandering around….looking for a book….
5. Even if I go through it all the way you are supposed to, won’t they come out mushy and gross, like regular frozen veggies you buy? (I like frozen corn and peas, but broccoli and beans, sort of yuck.) Feeling the energy draining out of me….
I think I’ve conquered my anxieties.
1. Sort them into sizes.
|Teeny baby ones, medium ones, sort of leathery ones that might be good in a stew, and ones that need to be shelled.|
2. Do this over a few days as things ripen out there, nothing bad will happen. Keep them in a cool place covered with a towel, or if you must, refrigerate.
3. The idea with the blanching is to get the food to the temperature at which the enzymes that cause breakdown will be killed. But not fully cooked. The books say three minutes but with super little beans or tender snow peas, just go until they slightly change color. Maybe between one and two minutes. Use your common sense and you will be okay.
|Just a little brighter after blanching, but not cooked.|
(This book is up my alley, being chatty and strict about stuff that you should be strict about: Putting Food By.)
4. Use freezer Ziploc bags and suck the air out with a straw. Undignified and a little dizzying in the heat, but works fine. Hey, I got eight packages of Ziploc triple-seal bags on clearance at my trusty supermarket’s 70% off bin — 75¢ each! Score.
|So far I have about three times this amount, already tucked in the freezer!|
5. No. They are nice. Not perfectly un-mushy, but fine. The worst that can happen is that you will use them in a stew or soup, and that’s not all that bad! At least, last year’s beans and asparagus were a lovely waft of summer breeze….
|Bridget’s been having visits from the kids who can make it. So happy to see Joseph!|