Home > Great Big Greenhouse Blog > August 2017 > BONNIE'S GARDEN--Preserving the Bounty

BONNIE'S GARDEN--Preserving the Bounty

Right now, I’m buried in the bounty of my garden--zucchini and tomatoes piled on the counter, a mountain of green beans and EIGHT eggplant all at once---and how many cucumbers can one person realistically eat anyway?  My neighbors are starting to cringe when they see me coming, bags of produce in hand.  What else can I do with all this produce?  I can freeze it!

There’s something nice about cooking that green bean casserole for Thanksgiving dinner—and knowing the green beans in it are not Del Monte—they’re mine!  That the peppers in the chili I’m enjoying on a cold January day came from MY garden—not the grocery store (where they probably came from California).

I’m not much for canning—glass jars in my house don’t last long—between my slippery fingers and four cats.  But freezing is fast and easy and doesn’t involve anything breakable!  So here’s a quick guide on how to freeze some of that bounty from your garden—or from your local Farmers Market.

Green beans:  Add green beans to boiling water and boil for three minutes.  Drain and immediately place beans in a bowl of iced water until cold.  Drain and place in freezer bags.

Cucumbers:  Cukes retain the best texture if frozen as a pickle.   For the times I’m too lazy to put up my sweet and zesty garlic dills, I slice up enough cukes to make 4 cups, slice 1 onion, add 1 cup sugar, ½ cup vinegar, 1 tbsp kosher salt, ½ tsp. celery seed then pack in pint bags and stuff in the freezer.  When you’re ready to use, defrost in the fridge overnight.  It makes a tasty bread-and-butter type pickle.

Eggplant:  Cut eggplant into one inch thick slices and bake at 350 until just tender.  Cool.  Place on a foiled cookie sheet and place in freezer.  When frozen, place slices in freezer bags.  Thaw to use in eggplant parmesan or however you use eggplant.  You can also make your eggplant dish and freeze that for later.

Peppers:  Peppers are easy to freeze—no blanching necessary.  Just chop sweet peppers and put them in freezer bags.  Hot peppers you can either chop (wear gloves and don’t rub your eyes!) or freeze whole.

Squash/zucchini—To freeze squash, blanch slices for 3 to 4 minutes, drain and place in ice water to cool.  Drain and pack in freezer bags.  If you make zucchini bread or muffins, you can shred and freeze the quantity you need for your recipe.  No blanching necessary.

Tomatoes—Tomatoes freeze well.  I just “stab” mine with a meat fork and hold in boiling water for a few seconds—the skin is easier to remove.  I slice and lay on a foiled cookie sheet.  When frozen, I pack them in freezer bags. Whenever I make soups or stews, I just toss in a few slices.

I’m not saying not to share the bounty of your garden with your friends and neighbors.  Just share some with your freezer too…
Posted: 8/1/2017 by Bonnie Pega | with 2 comment(s)
Comments
Claudia
Sheryl, do you sell any of your veggies? Or would you donate to a food pantry. I am having a drive for the Lions Lioness Food Pantry on August 19. Thanks
8/10/2017 2:37:53 PM

Sheryl
Thanks for all of your posts, Bonnie. I've gotten great tips!
8/5/2017 8:01:58 AM

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