Putting up pesto for winter is a great idea when basil is plentiful. Once made, pesto freezes really well in ice cube trays or other portion-sized containers. We have bulk basil available for ordering and also basil and parsley in the PYO patch.
2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1 cup parsley sprigs
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts
3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
In a blender or food processor, combine all ingredients and pulse until desired smoothness is reached. Have with fresh diced tomatoes on pasta or a sandwich.
Summer Squash and Zucchini
Grate summer squash or zucchini or cut into slices. (Food processors are great here.) Blanch for 3 minutes. Toss into a strainer and rinse with cold water until cooled. Store in a freezer bag, in the freezer!
Many folks don’t blanch the grated version, and it preserves well. If you have a zucchini bread or other recipe you really like, freeze measured bags in the quantity that recipe requires.
Freezing peppers is the easiest preserving you can do! Just core out the seeds and cut out any bad spots, chop to your desired size, and freeze. No blanching needed. This is true of all types of peppers, green, colorful, hot, whatever you’ve got.
We just quickly chop them into big sections that are flat for fitting more in the freezer, and then cut those up to whatever size when we take them out for use.
And they are really great color and flavor to have later in the winter chopped up into sauces and stirfrys.
Freezing peppers ready for stuffing is really great also because they don’t need all the baking time to soften. Doing Jalapenos like that for filling with cream cheese is quite tasty.
Heat broiler on high. Roast peppers whole on a sheet pan for 10 minutes. Rotate browned peppers and broil another 10 minutes. Throw into a pot and cover. When cool to handle, slip most of the skin off, de-stem and de-seed. Store in olive oil in the fridge or serve immediately.
Set aside a bowl of cold water. Cut the eggplant in half inch slices or strips and submerge in boiling water. This may be difficult since eggplants like to float, but be creative in keeping them underwater. When the water returns to a boil, wait 40 seconds and then remove and dump them in the cold water to stop all cooking. Place eggplant on a cookie tray and place in the freezer until eggplant is frozen. Frozen eggplant can now be bagged up and individual slices can be removed and defrosted for any of your midwinter cooking needs.
Evenly divide the garlic, dill and cucumbers among four wide-mouthed pint jars. You can cut up the pickling cukes however you want, from slices to halves, etc. (smaller slices soak up the flavor faster). You can pack as many cukes into the jars as possible, even more than the recipe calls for if there’s space.
In a bowl, mix together vinegar, water, red pepper flakes, salt, mustard seed and dill seed to make a flavored brine. Use a funnel to fill each jar with brining liquid. If the cukes aren’t mostly covered, you can add a little more cold water and shake it up. Cap tightly and refrigerate at least one week before eating (or eat some right away and every day after, to see what they’re like:).
9 medium pickling cucumbers, sliced
2 onions, sliced
2 Tbs. salt
1 and 1/2 cups cider vinegar
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp celery seed
1 tsp mustard seed
1/8 tsp cayenne (opt)
1/4 tsp turmeric (opt)
1/8 tsp ground cloves (opt)
Use fresh cucumbers; trim 1/8th inch of the blossom ends off, wash and slice. Slice onions. Mix vegetables with salt and let stand 1 hour. Drain, and rinse with 2 cups cold water, draining that water away too. Combine vinegar, sugar, celery and mustard seeds (and any other spices) in a pot and heat to boiling. Cook 3 minutes.
Pack vegetables into jars (2-3 pint wide-mouthed jars), add hot vinegar mixture, leaving 1/2″ headspace. Seal at once and process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Cool and store.
2 lbs zucchini or summer squash
2 medium onions
¼ cup kosher salt
2 cups cider vinegar
1+ cup sugar
2 t. mustard seed
1 t. red pepper flakes
2 t. celery seed
1 sliver fresh ginger
Place the vinegar, sugar, mustard seed, celery seed, ginger, red pepper, and salt in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the sliced onions and bring to a boil. Pack canning containers tightly with squash and fill with hot brining liquid. Submerge closed jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
Sofrito is a delicious flavoring substance that is classic in Puerto Rican cooking. You add it to anything from rice and beans, to soups and slow cooker dishes, to omlettes, to sauces for meat dishes. Once made, sofrito freezes really well in ice cube trays or other portion-sized containers for winter! It will also keep well in the refrigerator for about 3 weeks.
1 green pepper
2-3 cloves garlic
1 bunch cilantro leaves
1/4 tsp oregano (more if fresh)
2-4 tbs olive oil
salt to taste
1 tsp capers (opt.)
1-3 hot peppers (opt.)
1-2 roasted red peppers (opt.)
a few to a bunch of pitted olives (opt.)
Other optionals: black pepper, cayenne, paste tomatoes, cumin, culantro, annatto, celery, parsley, and many more!
No hard and fast recipe here! Something to play with! Multiply recipe for winter freezing. Wash, deseed, trim as needed. Chop into large chunks. Put all in blender, in batches if need be. Mix everything in a bowl at the end if you did batches. Then refrigerate and freeze for later use. Or use some now!
To use, put some in a pan with oil and saute to meld the flavors before adding rice to boil or whatever it’s in your plans to make.
Lovely with red peppers too!
From Sarah Voiland, 2011
Here’s a quick description of how we make our sauce here, the short-cut way. We like to do just tomatoes, and then add our other sauce ingredients like onions, carrots, frozen peppers, garlic etc. in the winter when we go to use the sauce. Then you can make anything you want with it, from spaghetti sauce to tomato soup.
- We get lots of tomatoes and wash them and cut out the stem parts and bad spots.
- Then chop them in large chunks and puree them, skins, seeds and all in the blender or food processor.
- Then put the puree in a big pot, and bring to a boil then simmer on low, stirring, until you get the thickness you want. The real key is having a good pot with a thick bottom that will keep stuff from sticking and burning on the bottom, and keeping an eye on it. A stirrer with a flat bottom edge that you can swipe across the bottom of the pan is great.
- Once you have your thickness, you can it, using the boiling water method, 30 to 45 minutes or whatever your how-to-boiling-water-bath info source says. We’re a big fan of the wide mouth quart jars -easier to clean later on.
Here’s a great resource for canning recipes and methods: The National Center for Home Food Preservation.
Varieties of Tomatoes for Sauce
You can make really flavorful sauces from mixed heirloom varieties. Heirlooms may take a little bit longer to cook down, but the flavor is great. Paste or Saucing Tomatoes have less juice and cook down faster, and also taste really good. I make big batches with the paste tomatoes, and then I like to make some batches with certain varieties of tomatoes, like an all Brandywine Sauce, and a sauce with only white, yellow and orange tomato varieties. Red Slicing types are great for salsa, and can also make good sauce with a little longer cooking time than with paste varieties.
This is a lactofermented recipe, so once you have made it, it will last a long time in your refrigerator as a topper to salads or condiment for sandwiches etc.
1 big daikon radish or enough to mostly fill a quart jar
1 inch of ginger
2 tbs salt
1 quart water
Wash and then peel any tougher skin at the top of the daikon. Slice daikon thin, easy with a Cuisinart slicing tool. Slice up an inch of ginger, skin on is fine. Mix 2 tbs salt with 1 quart water. Fill a quart glass jar up with the diakon and ginger, pour the salt water over it to cover. Stick a glass of water (or something) on top to hold the daikon down under the level of the salt water. Cover with a cloth to keep dust out. Leave it on your counter for a few days, tasting as you go until you like it, then refrigerate.
Place all ingredients in the food processor and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust as desired. Use on pasta, pizza or sandwiches.
Makes about 1 cup.
Place all ingredients in the food processor and blend, adding back bean water until desired consistency is reached. Serve on crackers or toast with fresh rosemary as garnish.
Makes 2 cups.