Friday, June 20, 2008

The Big Picture

Eat Local Later

I may not have much in common with Tony Soprano, but when he confesses to Dr. Melfi that he admires the Gary Cooper type. I nod. I may not exercise my anger quite in the same way as T, but I long to be a bit less temperamental. To help, my wife reminds me to look at the Big Picture. So, if a driver going North on Narragansett is going less than 20 mph as I work my way into the city, I should look at the Big Picture. I'll get to my destination, say Khan BBQ, soon enough. As I remarked the other day in my Foodways talk, the locavore needs to look at the Big Picture too. You cannot just focus on what's for dinner this week. You have to think about what will be for dinner in the weeks when there are no farmer's markets, no CSA deliveries.

My family is in luck because our CSA provider, Farmer Vicki of Genesis Growers looks at the Big Picture too. The boxes she provides each week often contains more than can be expected to be finished that week. Farmer Vicki expects you to set aside when times are flush for times that are lean. This week, for instance, the box came with about 30 stalks of asparagus.

The easiest way to preserve vegetables for future use is to freeze them. The process of freezing them is hardly complex. Blanch, which means boil and then shock in cold water, for up to three minutes, essentially until the color of the veg intensifies. Let the vegetables cool as much as possible before bagging--if you put hot stuff in your freezer, it will raise the temperature in your freezer. Put in plastic bags. Try to squeeze as much air out of the bags as possible.

Frozen vegetables can be used in nearly all preparations, except for some salads. A few minutes in the microwave, a dab of butter, and you have a side dish. We have had success freezing most everything but tomatoes (although some say you can), and I would not try cucumbers, zucchini, eggplants, radishes or other watery veg. I would say avoid freezing vegetables that are actually fruits, but bell peppers freeze nicely if cut into strips (use for pasta). Still, some vegetables freeze especially well, and nicely enough, the vegetables that need to be eaten the soonest after harvest are also the ones that freeze the best. In other words, not only can you freeze these, you should freeze these (if you cannot eat them soon). These for freezing include peas, corn and asparagus.

I'm of the mind for freezing because my hard workin' wife froze some asparagus yesterday. Yes, dear reader, she does the work, I do the blog. You can read about what we have put away here. I'll update as we set aside more.

No comments: