A month ago I was writing about what to do with eggplant because I had so many in my kitchen. In that post I talked about making fried eggplant and eggplant parmesan. When eggplant love is new it tastes so sweet and delicious. After a couple months of eating and freezing the stuff, I start to think about other vegetables again. My husband stopped watering his garden about a month ago, after he harvested everything else. He left his eggplants to their own devices while it was very hot and dry. We had almost no rain that whole time. But to our surprise, the eggplants have thrived while gardens have withered all over the Upstate.
We have trouble giving eggplant away. Our friends and neighbors mostly don’t like or never tried an eggplant and don’t show any signs of changing their minds. I was tempted to just let those eggplants go to seed, but they looked so big and beautiful; it would have been a shame and a waste. So yesterday I went down in the field and picked most of them, and also dealt with them very quickly after looking for some new ideas online and finding a couple at FreshBitesDaily.com.
Mostly, when I try something new in the kitchen or garden I start by reading a book or going to the World Wide Web. But the real initiation comes with learning by doing. If my efforts culminate with the desired results then I can say I know something. I am far from an expert cook or gardener and I am not writing this blog to repeat what I’ve learned from people writing other blogs. I’m more like the one who walks you through your initiation, and then walks you through it again as needed. I know you need encouragement sometimes, because I do too.
The more I learn, the less I know. Sometimes it feels like that. Really, I should say that the more I learn, the more I realize how little I know. About a decade ago I thought that I was doing something great making bread with a bread machine, and that pickles could only be made with vinegar, and that I could pick pears from the tree when they are ripe. Looking back on the ten years of living and working on this same little piece of the world on Paris Mountain, with my indispensable mate, I do feel a sense of accomplishment. But what I feel more, is that I am still a virgin.
I started off baking bread by assembling the ingredients, mostly flour and water and yeast, dumping them in a bread machine, and pushing a button. It was easy and the fresh bread tasted so much better to me than the packaged bread in the supermarket. But after awhile I wasn’t satisfied with that. I wanted to do better, a little foreplay, you could say. So I started using the bread machine only to knead my dough for me and let it rise the first time. I committed to a second phase of massaging the dough in various ways, and then leaving it in suspense for an hour or so, for a second rise.
Greens can be thoroughly washed, drained, sliced and then frozen raw.
When you first start gardening, it is enough to just enjoy what you grow. But even as a beginner you run the risk of growing more than you can use of notorious growers like zucchini. If you don’t keep a garden, but miss the farmer’s market in the winter time, you could think about buying in bulk in the summertime and cooking up some double portions for now and later. Freezing is the quickest, easiest way to save your abundance for later. If you’ve never frozen more than the occasional leftovers, and your freezer is just for ice cream, you’re missing a chance to put a little convenience into your healthy diet.
Not all vegetables are created equal. There are some that really don’t take well to freezing unless cooked first, like cabbage. Others, like cucumbers, you can’t freeze at all. There are some authoritative sites on the web that you can refer to for specific vegetables, and squashes. One of my favorite sites is Pickyourown.org. Clemson University is also a great resource for detailed information. But you don’t have to be an expert to get started. You really don’t have to know much at all. You can freeze most vegetables quickly and conveniently. Continue reading →