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Posts tagged ‘csa tips’

Preserving the Harvest (Part 2)

I always thought I hated tomatoes. Unless they were presented as pasta or pizza sauce (and occasionally ketchup) I avoided them like the plague.

Then one day, after touring her garden, my friend Libby offered me a slice of a brandywine tomato. My first words? “It tastes like SOUP.”

I’m not sure what that means, but what I was trying to communicate was the complexity of the flavor. It tasted like something I had never had in my life…it tasted like a real tomato. I think that was the first time I really realized the difference in quality, organic food. I had eaten organics off and on for over a decade at that point, but that tomato was really eye-opening for me. I mean, come on. You cannot tell me your grocery store tomato looks like THIS:

tomatomg

tomatOMG

My CSA is offering five different types of tomatoes this week. It is not uncommon for me to have 2-3 different varieties in my fridge at once. Matter of fact, right now I have four. Heirloom, roma, red grape, and red cherry. Although I have plenty of tomatoes, it will not stop me from ordering more this week. Why? Because I want delicious, fresh tasting salsa for months to come. In fact, our CSA is offering  20 pounds of organic “cosmetically challenged” red tomatoes for $30 right now, which means that next week, it’s ON. I will be out of town this weekend, so hopefully they will still have 20 pounds available next week when I can devote more time to stocking my freezer and pantry with my favorite thing in the world.

Fresh salsa.

Easy, fast, tasty, and super nutritious, it’s the perfect condiment. I love the stuff!! It is the perfect way to add more veggies (and technically fruit) to your diet without much effort.

I am going to make a small batch today to add to my ever-growing stash in the freezer. Here is what I am starting with:

salsa1

 

A ton of roma tomatoes, some white onion, serrano chilies, “cherry bomb” peppers, lemon juice, sea salt, and about 20 minutes of my time. When I thaw the salsa for use, I will add fresh cilantro to freshen it up a bit. 🙂

For each batch, I use 1/4 of a white or yellow onion, 6-8 roma tomatoes, 2 serrano chilies, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a sprinkling of sea salt. You really can’t go wrong with measurements on salsa, guys. If you like more onion, add it. If you don’t like spicy, omit the peppers. You get the idea. I toss it all the food processor, pulse until all is combined and uniform in texture, and pack into freezer bags for later.

salsa2

 

I will do most of it with serranos (my fave) but plan to do a batch or two with the cherry bomb’s. Gotta see what all the fuss is about. 😀

My favorite uses for salsa?

2 TBSP (or more) mixed in with my scrambled eggs.

A heaping spoon-full over the top of shredded beef or pork that has been stewed all day…or crock potted. YUM.

Right out of the bowl with “Food should taste good” brand chips. OMG!

Or maybe my go-to quick lunch: A can of organic white meat chicken (the kind that looks like it’s in a tuna can) mixed with about a half cup of salsa, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a sprinkle of “real salt”.  Straight out of the bowl or with whole grain chips. My favorite meal these days. 🙂 Quick, easy, and full of protein and veggies (and yes, fruit.) Here are a few of the reasons you should be eating the wondrous tomato:

number103ok

Now is the time to capture the deliciousness of the tomato. You will thank yourself for the effort made when you are enjoying chips and fresh salsa in December!

 

 

 

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Preserving the Harvest (Part 1)

One of the things I love about eating locally grown, organic food is that you are always eating the best of the best. When you eat a peach, in season, fresh off the tree, you are experiencing what a peach should really be. Eating one out of a Del Monte can, or one that has been in cold storage for who-knows-how-long just isn’t the same.

The only problem? When they’re gone, they’re gone.

Unless…

You learn to preserve the harvest. 🙂

This time of year, I spend a good amount of time “putting up food”.  I order extra tomatoes in my CSA box. I purchase more bell peppers than I normally would at the farmers market. I order bulk quantities of certain items so that I can can, freeze, or pickle the things I use most throughout the year. This usually means jalapenos, tomatoes, peaches and some herbs are making their way to my kitchen in large amounts.

By investing a little extra time and effort, I am able to make sure that I have fresh, locally grown, organic food at my fingertips year ’round.

Today, it’s bell peppers. They are super easy to preserve and super delicious.

I have been ordering a few extra bell peppers in my boxes lately.  I have quite a stash saved up, and today, they go to the freezer. Here are just a few.

bellpeppers

Its a simple process:

Core the bell peppers, removing the seeds.

Decide if you want slices, strips, or diced peppers, and cut accordingly.

Layer the peppers on a cookie sheet and pop into the freezer until the pieces are coated in ice (maybe 3-4 hours?)

Package into freezer bags.

Pre-freezing (or flash freezing as its called) will keep the peppers from sticking to each other in the bag. 🙂

Use later for egg scrambles & omelettes, chili, pizza, fajitas…the options are endless. 🙂

Their health benefits are amazing too. (Ignore the fact that those aren’t bell peppers in the picture, LOL!)

bell-pepper

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