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.