Saturday, July 07, 2007

The Super Market

Week after week, the local farmers' market provides an endless source of vibrant color, good conversation, excellent food, and sheer delight. I'm having so much fun there these days that I'm constantly going over my "budget" for shopping there (and I'm thankful that I can spend more when needed or wanted) so that I can put away more food.

Today I actually made two trips to the farmers' market... the second time was because I had left something behind at one of the tables, and since I decided I had to go back for it, I stopped by the ATM to pick up more cash and then bought a couple more items. What can I say? "Low sales resistance" must be my new middle name... plus I keep thinking about how best to get through the winter with buying very little added food.

Anyway, without further ado, here's this week's finds:

--From the Original Organic Farmer, a big bag of green beans (easily 2 qts) and a chocolate cherry pie;
--From one of the newer farmers -- who greeted me this morning by saying, "Hey! There's the Potato Lady!" -- a bag of red potatoes (she's had good ones for the past few weeks!);
--From a veteran farmer, a quart of pickling cucumbers;
--From another new farmer, the Herb Woman, a small bag of nasturtium blossoms and leaves (as I had requested last week), a bundle of herb fettucine, and an edible bouquet
filled with nasturtiums, calendula, bee balm, onion blossom, and sage;
--From the Granola Lady, a bag of her homemade maple-hazelnut granola;
--From the Cheerful Lady and Handyman Joe, more fresh organic broccoli, garlic, basil, and tiny perfect carrots;
--From the Corn Queen, no-spray blueberries;
--From the Fiddlin' Farmer, zucchini and a small eggplant;
--From the Gentleman Farmer, tomatoes and a thyme plant;
--From the New Organic Farm, a bag of mixed baby lettuces;
--From the Maple Man, a pint of local maple syrup; and
--From the Berry Farmer, a quart of sweet cherries.

And believe me, there was much more I would have liked to buy and eat or preserve for later, but I knew I would have limited time this weekend to work in the kitchen with my Fabulous Aunt (and Uncle!) coming into town.

Once I got home, I immediately started to work on what need to be packed away in the freezer. I spread the blueberries over a tray and set them in the freezer to harden, packing them into a freezer bag once they were like marbles (and about as easy to pick up!). I trimmed, steamed, blanched, and froze two quart bags of green beans, followed by two quart bags of broccoli. And in between all that, I made a small batch of pesto, spooning most of it into an ice cube tray to freeze serving-size portions and saving the rest for lunch.

Later today, I'll make the rest of the dill pickles for this year, and I also hope to start drying those sweet cherries for next winter's baking or granola.

And let me tell you, if I hadn't kept myself busy all morning with all of this, I probably would have dashed back down to the market for more goodies!

What a super way to spend a Saturday!


At 7/08/2007 12:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice work.
Have you frozen broccoli before? If so, how does it hold up and how did you cook it?

I usually prefer mine steamed, but I worry that frozen broccoli may not hold up well to such a simple treatment. Let me know...

(from the Ethicurean)

At 7/09/2007 6:52 AM, Blogger The Baklava Queen said...

Peter, I generally like my broccoli steamed, too, so freezing is something I approached a couple years ago with trepidation.

What I do is steam the chopped broccoli for about 2 minutes, then immerse it in icy water to stop the cooking. (I'll usually put the stem pieces of the broccoli at the bottom of the steamer basket.)

When I thaw the broccoli, it's usually a little limp and not as good as I would like, but it works well on pizza or in soups or casseroles.

And frankly, I never get enough broccoli frozen as I eat it constantly throughout the year (one of the few things I'm unable to limit to its season). I'm trying to rectify that this year, but I doubt this year's work will get me through the winter. Worth a try, though!


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