Wednesday, 23 July 2014

The First Preserving

Over the weekend, the first of the season's preserving began.  We bought garlic scapes at the farmer's market on Saturday and combined them with our own Genovese basil (bottom right), parmesan cheese, good olive oil and a pinch of salt to create a delicious pesto.  We ate it on pasta for supper that night and the rest went into the freezer for winter meals.  I love it in place of tomato sauce on homemade pizza (which we eat lots of in the winter as it warms the house up nicely).  I like to freeze pesto flat in little ziplock bags then stack them like books in the freezer once they're frozen.  They defrost quickly this way which makes it convenient for last minute meals.  Slow food (fast) at it's finest!   I hate using plastic, but as we are down to one freezer, canning jars will take up too much room leaving me no space for all the rest of the season's offerings (veg, fruit and meat).

I'm also growing Dark Opal Basil this year and the colour is gorgeous (the burgundy leaves in the top picture).  I decided to steep the whole lot in 2 jars of vinegar for use in salad dressings.  After just a few days, this is the colour of the vinegar:

 It smells fantastic so hopefully it will make salads taste as good as it smells.  It might make good Christmas gifts (I've saved lots of small bottles for this purpose).

Speaking of colour, the cutting of flowers has begun!  I LOVE delphiniums and can't get enough of them.  Soon the zinnias will be blooming in full force.  You can also see my most recent free cycle find - a bag of embroidery floss (boasting an equally riotous shock of colour, I might add!).  I want to begin a few embroidery projects when things slow down in the garden and this looks like it should get me started nicely.  I love free cycle :)

Back to the kitchen!  Broccoli is coming in in full force,

as are the peas (snap, sugar and shelling) which results in lots of vacuum sealed bags of fresh veg.  I love to use a Food Saver for this because the veggies stay crisp and fresh tasting for many months with NO freezer burn.  In years past, I've been very disappointed with other storage methods - the taste and flavour are not even remotely comparable to this method.  It's a lot of work to grow food and prepare it for storage so I want it to taste as fresh as possible.  I buy the bag rolls in bulk at Costco and save and re-use them again and again (not if they have had meat in them), reducing waste (both plastic and money).  

To close off this post, I thought I'd show you a cool picture of two grasshoppers that were languishing on a tall seed head in our front yard.   Although they are helping themselves to a fair bit of leaves in the garden, the "hoppers" themselves are also food for a great many birds (our chickens included).


  1. Wow you have been busy and I love your comment "slow food fast" I think that's definately the way to go. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane

  2. That is a lot of work you have ahead of you, Sherri. Thankfully we can grow veggies year round here as we don't get the really hot weather others get for any long periods. It must be very satisfying for you when it is all finished.

  3. It must be very satisfying to stash the cupboards and freezer. As we have just moved I have no power in the outhouse for the huge freezer and so I am relying on the small one attached to the fridge. Its very frustrating and I miss bulk cooking etc. Hopefully next year the garden will be productive and the freezer up and running once more.
    When you have vacuumed the produce do you just put them in the freezer as normal? Do you blanch the food first? xxx

    1. Yes, I do blanch before freezing. There are a lot of guides online to indicate how many minutes to blanch various veggies. The taste is far superior when the veggies are blanched. I believe it's something to do with starches and sugars???

  4. Love the idea of the basil vinegar I am hoping to grow a really good crop of basil this year and will use your idea of freezing some.

  5. Quick question about the food saver.....I also blanche and freeze but I seem to have trouble getting a good seal. I drain the vegetables and let dry on a towel for awhile, but it seems like there might be residual moisture affecting the seal. Do you manually do the seal once most of the air has been removed? Thanks!