Nice Weather Shortcut

I’ve discovered a great way to quickly store my garden bounty without spending much time in the kitchen during the final days of gorgeous summer weather.

I harvested all the ripe tomatoes plus the zucchinis that I let grow “too big”; the kind that master gardeners would most likely throw onto their compost piles.

After rinsing the vegetables with water, I cut the tops off the tomatoes and quartered them. Then I sliced the huge zucchinis into 2 inch cross-sections, and chopped them into chunks; skin, seeds and all.

I had enough to fill two, five gallon stock pots. I then turned on the stove burners and put on the lids. I didn’t add spices, onions, garlic or anything, and just allowed the tomatoes to break down and make their own juice in the cooking process.

When the zucchinis and tomatoes were thoroughly cooked and tender, I turned off the stove, removed the lids, and allowed everything to cool. When cooled, I put the stewed vegetables into one-gallon zippered bags and stored them flat in the freezer. They look like a bunch of stacked books.

Now I can pull out a one gallon “book” of cooked tomatoes and zucchinis, cut the plastic bag off, place it in a stock pot, and use it as a base for almost anything.

For starters, this past week I made a batch of bean and vegetable soup; adding onions, garlic, Mato Zest, previously cooked lentils and garbanzo beans, fresh cut corn, and a frozen bag of each: collard greens, green beans and brussel sprouts. It was delicious! For my family I added a little bit of cooked, ground turkey and they absolutely loved it! (In another post I’ll tell how I gradually transitioned my family into eating nutrient dense foods.)

I’m almost ready to rip the tomato plants out, till the soil under, and start planting my kale and spinach seeds for the fall and winter harvest.

Here’s to eating for health to all!

Do you have a harvesting short cut to share?

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Comments (6) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Shera Barger - September 14, 2009 9:24 AM

Emily,
I found that when freezing tomatoes, you don't even need to cook them. We cut a cone out of the top of each tomato to remove the stem, then put them in the VitaMix with the speed just high enough to chunk them up. At that point they can go right into baggies and the freezer. I found that a sandwich bag holds about the equivalent of a can of diced tomatoes. And you can peel off the bag and throw the frozen tomatoes right into the stock pot to make soup, stew, or even our favorite hearty-soup version of Dr. Fuhrman's Portobella Mushrooms and Beans.

Emily Boller - September 14, 2009 1:11 PM

What a great time-saving tip! Wow, I can grow 3x the amount of tomatoes next year and just freeze them without cooking.

Thanks for sharing!

Mary - September 14, 2009 3:39 PM

With tomatoes I just blanch in boiling water for a few seconds peel and remove stem and put in gallon freezer bags. When the bags are full I mush them in the bag and freeze flat.

I had an over abundance of kale this year so I chopped the kale up, put in a large pan then cooked it up with what ever spices I had. Some of this I put in smaller bags so I could refrigerate and put on my salads cold. ( I just hate raw Kale but can eat it this way no problem). The rest went into freezer bags to add to my soups this winter.

Peppers can be frozen whole or chopped. I freeze the jalapenos whole and chop the green peppers. I dont blanch these I just freeze raw.

Im still trying to think of ways to store my cabbage. So if anyone has any ideals. Ill probably do what I do with the kale.

Anyways I love gardening there is nothing like making a soup and your garden is your superstore!!
Mary

Kara - September 14, 2009 5:01 PM

What a great idea. I like to buy things in bulk at the farmer's market and freeze for later.

This year I bought an entire flat of strawberries for only $12. I washed, stemmed and froze them on a cookie sheet. I then stored them in gallon freezer bags. I use them for green smoothies!

lois - September 14, 2009 6:52 PM

great ideas!!! someone just offered us THREE 5 gallon buckets of tomatoes.... happy i will NOT have to cook them all. i LOVE my vita mix!!!

aunt cia - September 15, 2009 4:10 PM

I did all my tomatoes in my VMix this year. I added mushrooms, peppers and onions. It came out so nice! I canned it and now I have the base to many pots of soups for cold winter days!

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