Freeze Now, Feast Later


Last year I discovered the art of freezing produce. My friend Lois told me how to freeze berries and I spent the summer squirreling away strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries to last throughout the winter months. I enjoyed them for breakfast in yoghurt, oatmeal, and pancakes right up until about March, when I ran out.

After attending a freezing and canning workshop last fall, I thought I would start canning this year. It looked so much easier than I remembered from the first time I did it and failed. But, I have simply fallen back on what’s easiest for me: freezing. It takes less effort, equipment, and time.

And, when I learned you could freeze some vegetables–such as green onions and leeks–without blanching first, that opened the door beyond berries.

What I learned last year is freezer bags are a necessity. And, instead of packing my produce into gallon baggies, this year I bought quart-sized bags (which I will recycle, btw) so that it takes less time to finish off a bag and I’ll avoid trapping air inside every time I grab a handful of berries or onions or leeks.

Yesterday I bought green onions from CJ Veggies at the Holland Farmers Market. To freeze them, I simply washed and trimmed them, let them dry, and chopped them up. Then I put them in bags marked with the date they went into the freezer.

I’m telling you, looking at produce in the grocery store in Michigan in the wintertime is getting more and more repulsive and depressing. But freezing your stock takes planning and time. While my friends are out in boats on Lake Michigan or sauntering around West Michigan beach resort towns this Independence Day, I am “putting up” (is that the term for freezing?) my produce for next winter. And I know I will appreciate it then.

Who couldn’t resist opening a bag of frozen Michigan berries for breakfast in the middle of February? I’m so excited at the thought of it. That’s what motivates me to buy extra local produce to freeze now. I will certainly feast later.

Advertisements

8 responses to “Freeze Now, Feast Later

  1. Stumbled onto your blog while looking for advice on cooking grass-fed burgers at my bbq tomorrow. And now appreciate the reminder to freeze some stuff. I’ve forgotten already! This is going to be my first year doing it.

    Great blog!

    On another note, I tried to subscribe to your blog via RSS and I keep getting an error message. Thought I’d let you know.

    • Hi Kerri,
      Thanks for visiting my blog. Grassfed burgers are a very popular search topic, I’ve noticed! Glad I could help remind you about freezing produce, too.

      Thanks for the observation on the RSS feed. I will look into it. I appreciate your comments!

      Happy Fourth of July!

  2. I just did this year’s first bit of canning a few days ago! Will probably blog about it soon. Good luck with your freezing! You’ll certainly be glad of it later in the year.

    • So admirable of you to be canning, Nick. What are you putting up? Fill me in sometime….

      Thanks for stopping by!

      • Last year was about learning how to can, and since I’m getting the hang of that now, I’ve decided that the goal for this year is to can as responsibly as possible. That means only gathered or local food, as much as possible. The first batch was mulberry jam from some trees down the road.

      • Marcia Davis

        I like your goal, Nick. You’re lucky to live in the Hudson Valley region where native and locally farmed foods are plentiful!

        BTW, I add your blog to my Blogroll!

  3. This is a great reminder. Freezing is so much easier than canning. Our only obstacle is our tiny freezer compartment — we need a dedicated freezer to keep us happy through the winter!

    • That does seem to be a challenge for many people, John. Do you have a neighbor that has a big freezer you could borrow?

      I found that our meat storage and produce freezing cycles complement each other nicely. Right now our meat supply is winding down so there is room for the cookie sheets of berries that need to freeze before the berries go into bags. In the fall, the meat will fill up the space again. We have an 11 cubic foot upright freezer….not huge but not too small. We can fit a quarter cow, half a pig, a whole lamb, and some chickens in it all at once.

      Thanks for your comment!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s