food prep and preservation

IMG_4939I got to spend much of my day in the kitchen, and yes, it really is a privilege. The stars seemed to align, however briefly, and our littles were content to share popcorn and football with Daddy. I was free to putter around and periodically fill Beansie’s requests for “more,” delivered to me over the baby gate, usually punctuated by raised eyebrows and a furiously bobbing head.

IMG_4950 IMG_4952The tomatoes are slowing down. The girls and I have been eating most of them straight off the vine but I was able to fill a small bucket with the yellow cherries this morning, and picked five or six larger fruits to bring in. I didn’t have enough to make any sort of sauce, so decided to follow this guide to roasting and freezing, on a smaller scale. I’m sure it will be nice to have them when there is six feet of snow outside our door.

IMG_4945IMG_4948 IMG_4949 IMG_4954I also added three large containers of vegetable stock to the freezer. I’ve mentioned before my aversion to food waste, and veggie scraps are no exception. When I prepare our meals, any trimmings go into a gallon zipper bag in the freezer. You can see the pods from peas, the ends off of fresh green beans, bell pepper tops, bits of onion and celery, even slices of zucchini. When the bag is full, I toss in a couple of whole peppercorns and set it to boil on the back burner. It simmers down to a rich dark broth. This gets strained and poured into clean yogurt containers (reuse!), and stashed in the back of the freezer for soups and other recipes. I do the same with ham bones and whole chicken carcasses (isn’t that a dreadfully disgusting word?). They get picked clean and popped into the freezer until I have the chance to deal with them.

Making veggie stock this way doubles your food investment. You can take it a step further by composting the scraps when the stock is drained off. I tossed mine out in the weeds rather than into the trashcan. I’m betting that backyard chickens would also enjoy the leftovers, in which case you’ve tripled your money by saving on traditional feed – has anybody tried that? I cannot wait to put that last theory to the test myself!

IMG_4944 IMG_4941Swee and I made pesto on Friday, and baked muffins this morning. We added another jar of pickles to the fridge, and there’s a bunch of kale on the counter to be made into chips. I’ve got a good old-fashioned casserole planned for dinner. Can you tell I’m feeling ready for the cooler temperatures?

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