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Monday
Aug222011

Preserving the Harvest Party

What a bountiful harvest we're having this year. The sugar snap peas were perfectly crisp, the spinach mild and tender, the corn bursting with sweetness, and winter squash is coming on. 

Sigh ... I wish I could say I grew it all.

One day this nomadic family will put down roots—literally and figuratively—and will get back to the soil. For today, our "garden" is made up of three pots of hail-blasted herbs. For produce, we rely on local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and small family farms...

This summer I have blanched bunches upon bunches of Grant Farms spinach and loaded up on pounds of fresh, organic strawberries.

Last week my neighbor and I blanched and froze the half bushel of Italian green beans we purchased from Top 'O The Hill's roadside stand for $15. We commented on how fun it was to do together and that in less than an hour we had prepared and "put up" enough green beans for 15 meals. And, it didn't even feel like work! It was more like a party.

And, we'll be "partying" again soon—it's peach season.

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A Preserving the Harvest Party—What You'll Need

A Friend or Two. The more the merrier.

Some Produce. Decide what you want to preserve. Pick it from your garden, find a local farmer, or visit a Farmers Market and buy in bulk.

Some Simple Directions. Visit the Colorado Extension's online publications page for FREE information on preserving, how long to blanch, how to can, etc.

The Equipment. If you're blanching and freezing, all you need is a big stock pot, a colander (very helpful), lots of ice, jelly-roll baking sheets, food storage containers or bags (glass or Ziploc), and freezer space.

Getting Down to Business (it's so easy)!

STEP 1: Wash. Trim. Chop 

STEP 2: Blanch (these beans took 4 minutes)

STEP 3: Plunge in ice-cold water

STEP 4: Spread out on jelly-roll baking sheet and freeze. When frozen, transfer to Ziploc freezer bags or other container. Done!  

Reader Comments (4)

I have been preserving too :) We have done corn on the cob, dill pickles, bell peppers, and onions so far!

August 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie

What a great post, Lexie! I love the photos and the concept. Work always becomes fun when doing it with others. :-) Splitting large quanities of veggies (BTW, what a deal!) is a great idea to begin with, but why not go the extra step and finish the process together? ;-) My one friend who is a transplant from New Mexico has a green chilie roasting party every year. Folks greatly look forward to it and don't mind the work at all!

xo,
Shirley

August 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShirley @ gfe

Lucky!!!!! I grew up doing stuff like this! The peaches and corn were the most work, ugh! But awesome stuff! I've had trouble finding CSA farms near me... and I need to be better about making time to attend the local farmers markets. Your posts are so encouraging, Lexie! Thanks for sharing!

August 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJune Scott

I LOVE this post! You make me want to have a garden! I've got to check out our local market this weekend. I absolutely adore Italian green beans (we call 'em pole beans in the south).

Thanks for the inspiration.

Jen

August 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJen

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