Freezing 101

Freezing Bell Peppers and Onions

Freezing chopped peppers and onions is a great way to enjoy garden produce when summer days are long gone. Store frozen green peppers and onions in re-sealable freezer bags. Green peppers can be frozen for up to 6 months, and onions can be frozen up to 1 year.

Just picked bell peppers from my garden and from my sister Agnes' garden (in the pic below). We both had bell peppers in our summer and fall gardens. I still have several peppers growing, and they are so easy to grow. Check out the small pot that Agnes and I are picking from. No yard – no worry! Plan to freeze what I don’t eat, but might not be much left. So delicious!

Bell Peppers 7

What doesn't freeze well?

The quality and texture of certain items just don’t hold up after they are defrosted. I bet you’ve had this happen from time to time.

Casseroles – made with mayonnaise, sour cream, yogurt or cream cheese will separate after thawing and might have an unappetizing, watery texture or curdled look.

Raw Produce – with high water content, such as cabbage, celery, lettuce, other leafy greens, cucumbers, radishes, watermelon, tomatoes and citrus fruits, become limp and waterlogged after thawing.

Cooked Potatoes – used in dishes like salads, soups or stews become soft, mealy and waterlogged after thawing. But mashed and twice-baked potatoes freeze well.

Cooked Pasta – used in soups or added to sauces before freezing may be soft and mushy after defrosting. For best results, undercook pasta before cooling and freezing.

Freezing Okra

Wash it, blanch it, cool it quickly and drain it on a paper towel. I like to slice mine, arrange it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place it in the freezer until it’s frozen. Then once frozen, I just place it in a heavy duty re-sealable plastic bag and return it to the freezer. And then pull out the amount I need for my recipe. When frozen this way, the okra is not all clumped together and you can remove individual pieces.

Where to Place Items in Your Freezer

I finally invested in a small deep freezer and it has become invaluable. But if you don’t have a deep freezer and are using the freezer attached to your refrigerator, here are a couple of good tips I’ve either learned on my own, or picked up from Taste of Home.

Keep Them Cold

Store meats and berries near the bottom or back of the freezer, where it is the coldest. If there is a power outage and food begins to thaw, the drips of water won’t leak onto the other food.

The Door

Because the door is opened so often, it’s warmer than other areas and best suited for freezing things like nuts, flour, juice and dairy products.

What Goes in the Far Back of the Freezer?

Here’s where you should put new unfrozen items because that’s where the freezer is the coldest. The low temps will help your food freeze quickly, preventing those dreaded ice crystals from forming on your food.

Falling in Love with Fall Produce

What’s in Season?

EARLY FALL

Beans & Peas
(Fresh Shell & Snap)
Cucumber
Eggplant
Melons
Okra
Peppers
Squash (Summer Varieties)
Tomatoes
Watermelon

 
LATE FALL

Apples
Beets
Broccoli
Brussels Sprouts
Cauliflower
Cabbage
Carrots
Celery
Chard
Collards
Fava Beans
Green Onion
Kale
Lettuce
Mustard Greens
Pears
Pecans
Persimmons
Pomegranates
Potatoes
Pumpkins
Radishes
Rutabaga
Spinach
Squash (Winter Varieties)
Sweet Potatoes
Turnips

FALL FARMER’S MARKET RECIPES

This collection of recipes takes advantage of fresh, fall farmers market produce. Get inspired by recipes for apples, pears, grapes, pumpkin and winter squashes.

Read more: http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/seasonal-recipes/fall-farmers-market-recipes#10#ixzz3FbnclZZk

http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/seasonal-recipes/fall-farmers-market-recipes#10

Fall into recipes:
http://www.farmersmarketfoods.com/fall-into-recipes/

Cilantro

Did you know?

With its slightly sharp flavor, cilantro – also known as Chinese parsley – gives a distinctive taste to Latin American, Caribbean and Asian dishes. The spice coriander comes from the seed of the cilantro plant.

Eat Your Greens!

Collard Greens

It's that time of year and I know many of you will be making a pot of collard greens. I've included a healthier way to prepare your greens, but if you insist on enjoying  the longer cooking version that we all grew up eating,  there are still some healthier alternatives.  Instead of using salt pork use smoked turkey instead. Wrap your turkey leg in  foil and heat it in a 350 oven for about 30 minutes until it is heated thoroughly, and then add it to your greens.  Let it cook with your greens until it  falls of the bone. You can also cook your greens in a good chicken broth (homemade is better) instead of water.  Can also season with a little liquid smoke and some red wine vinegar.

Why You Need Them:

Of all leafy greens, collards are best at binding your stomach’s bile acids, which can help lower your cholesterol levels and even protect you from some cancers. Collards also contain a special class of phytochemicals that nourish the body’s natural detoxifying system.

How to Eat Them:

Boiled collards are a soul-food staple, but unless you eat the broth, you’ll miss out on many nutrients. Steaming preserves more nutrients and increases bile-acid-binding activity. Jill Nussinow, a dietitian and chef, recommends kneading sturdy greens like collards or kale with olive oil for a few minutes before cooking to increase their flavor and make them easier to chew. Or massage with tahini and braise in garlic and lemon juice.