Sunday, July 20, 2008

Cheaper By the Frozen

I meant to post an update on my preservation progress before I headed off on vacation, but never fear -- I can catch up now just as easily.

Before heading off, I needed to clean out and rearrange the freezer. I've been adding so much to it that the remains of last year's produce were buried, and I needed to pull those out, ready to thaw when I got back home to an empty refrigerator. So I took the small wire rack from under one of my houseplants and set it in the freezer to delineate the space a little better for storage.

At this point, here's what I've frozen of this year's produce (and bear in mind that though I may use quart-sized freezer bags for the most part, I usually only freeze about two servings per bag):

6 bags pac choi from the garden
1 bag chopped spinach (definitely not enough!)
4 small bags of carrot tops for stock (should be freezing more)
2 bags snow peas
1 bag shelling peas (not enough for samosas and stews)
12 bags broccoli (pizza, here I come!)
1 bag cauliflower
4 bags green beans
16 cubes (ice cube sized) cilantro
1 bag strawberries
1 bag blueberries
2 bags black raspberries
1 big bag gooseberries

While I've done pretty well at putting away vegetables so far (save for peas; but I still have edamame to use and will get more later in my CSA), I certainly haven't frozen much fruit. Fortunately, that's because I've been drying more of that.

And if you're wondering about the progress on my canning, well, I still have applesauce and tomatoes and grape juice in the pantry from last year, but I've been adding to the shelves in small batches:

6 half-pint jars of strawberry jam
1 half-pint jar and 3 half-cup jars of mulberry-lemon-ginger jam
3 half-pint jars of spiced cherries
3 half-pint jars of mixed vegetable pickle
12 pints of hot dill pickles
3 half-cup jars of red onion confit
2 half-pint jars of blueberry chutney

That's pretty good progress, I'd say!

Of course, it's not even the end of July, and there is so much more food preservation to come. But it's good to lean back for a moment, survey what I've done so far, and think how much that will save me on my food budget come winter.

And that's enough incentive to continue.

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