As we transition into late summer, your wonderful harvest of fruits and vegetables is changing into items that you can freeze or store for later in the fall/winter. You will be receiving several tomatoes and types of squash over the next few weeks, so my blog this week features some ways to preserve and store your harvest for future use. With a little extra effort, you will be able to pull out a bag of roasted tomatoes and add to pasta, soup or make a roasted tomato soup from your freezer. As this week’s weather turns a little chilly, think soup and turn on that oven to bake some muffins!
This week you might receive ripe and green tomatoes; peppers; Swiss chard; broccoli rabe; onions; beets; zucchini; spaghetti squash; yellow summer squash; and turnips.
· This is fun and simple! Turn your oven on to 300 degrees. Wash, and quarter or half tomatoes with the cut portion up. Place on a cookie sheet or large aluminum/glass oven safe dish. I line the dish with parchment paper, so the yummy fruit does not stick. Drizzle olive oil, some herbs of your choice (fresh or dry) with a little salt and place in oven for close to 1.5-2 hours. Do not worry, they are not burning, you are slowly roasted the tomatoes, so they char and turn a little dark and shriveled.
· I eat them right off the pan and drizzle more olive oil on them. Hard for me to freeze them as I love them so much.
· I typically freeze in smaller bags so I can use single portions in soups or pasta sauce.
o Note on freezing-if you put the tomatoes from the pan into a bag, they will clump together. If you want them to break apart, freeze them on the pan, then put them in a baggie or container and they will not clump together!
· How to ripen green tomatoes-place in a cool space and wrap them in a brown paper bag. The gases from the tomatoes will emit and they will ripen. Or you can place them in a cardboard box and line box with newspaper. Put your green tomatoes in the boxed lined with newspaper and do not stack them. Lay newspaper on top of your tomatoes and keep in a warm dry place. Check on them, and they will ripen up nicely. This takes time, so make sure you turn them occasionally.
· This is a type of broccoli only more tender. Be sure and use most of the stem, very nutritious and yummy to eat.
o Sautee with butter or olive oil and garlic
o Grill-yes, we are still in grilling season!!
o Add to any stir fry with a protein
o Roast and add make an omelet with cheese! Delish!
· Turnips are a mild root vegetable and can be used much like you use a potato. I like to shred them and use as a crust for a quiche. I cannot eat gluten, so this is a great alternative. If you are going to do this, make sure that you take the water out of the turnip by squeezing the freshly grated root between a towel. Mold into a pie pan like a crust and bake on 350 degrees until slightly brown. Add your quiche filling and finish baking! Enjoy!
· Roast them and drizzle with olive oil
· Mash them and add all the cream/milk/ butter like you are making mashed potatoes
· Eat them raw and dip in your favorite dressing!
· I think the easiest is to bake this whole. Turn oven on to 350 degrees and bake until a knife can easily pierce all the way through. Once cooled cut in half and scoop out the seeds. Use as a substitute for pasta and scoop your yummy roasted tomatoes on top of this. Season with herbs and olive oil and a beautiful dish for dinner. Add some goat cheese or any type of Parmesan and enjoy!
Curing and storing Winter Squash
· It is very easy to cure and store winter squash. I have read on this topic and it requires little effort and the best website that I could find is below. Feel free to call me-and please do not be intimidated! Our goal is having fresh squash in the winter from the garden!
Let’s make soup!
· Roasted veggie soup-
o I would roast tomatoes, zucchini, onion, peppers, yellow squash. Remember when you roast the goal is to caramelize. For tomatoes follow the “slow” process above. For the rest, set oven to 400 degrees and roast until brown/shriveled and caramelized. Finally chop and you are ready to add to your chicken stock or vegetable stock. Add plenty of spices to your liking (garlic, thyme, basil for a finish, chives for a finish, garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning-all just suggestions).
o Add chicken or sausage and your have a lovely one pot soup.
o For a heartier soup, throw in some rice or pasta-and enjoy! Don’t forget to dip your bread in the soup!
Please feel free to call me if you have any questions about your basket or need to talk through a recipe idea!!! Laura 303-877-9889. I love to talk through recipes if you are stuck or need a new idea.