The end of summer is a busy time in my kitchen as it is harvest time, this wonderful old fashioned term is still relevant for today’s kitchen spilling over with the fruits of the season. I’ve always had a vegetable garden of some sort even if it only contained some herbs and silver beet and now with so many people rediscovering the joys of growing your own vegetables it always seems there is an excess of vegetables all ready at the same time.
Through the Food in a Minute website I often answer questions on what we should do with these excesses or asking if we have a recipe for a chutney or a pickle. These sorts of recipes are not what we usually make on Food in a Minute so I often refer people to one of my favourite books “Digby Law’s Pickle and Chutney cookbook a New Zealand classic”.
Freezing vegetables is another question asked and it is also another way of saving those excess vegetables. Unfortunately it’s not as easy as popping it in a bag and freezing it; You will need to wash and prepare the vegetables, blanch them, (dropping them in a large pot of boiling water for a 2-3 minutes) , this is best done in batches and then quickly drain and cool in icy water this stops the cooking process and then place in bags seal and freeze it fast so have your freezer at it’s coldest setting while you are doing this and try not to open the door to often.
The entire process needs to happen quite fast to ensure the nutrients are maintained. It makes you realise just how convenient those Wattie’s frozen vegetables are. I found this website which maybe of help if you are thinking of freezing OR check your user guide which came with your freezer for more tips.
I personally leave the freezing now to the experts and enjoy using my excess produce to give away and swap with other gardeners for something I don’t have growing at that time. But I also believe in eating and enjoying what is in season as the flavours are always at their peak. Next time I will let give you some ideas on how I’ve been enjoying those excess vegetables in my garden.
Happy cooking!Lisa, Food Editor