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Tales From The Pantry: Fresh Produce To Freeze

Larry Henderson for local2 sault ste. marie
September 15th, 2012 at 8:51am

This article is a column or editorial.
The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of LOCAL2.


After a lengthy absence from this column, letís go back to the kitchen.

Local farmers are selling produce and what better time to buy veggies for the winter ahead. The process of blanching is not difficult if you set aside the time to do it.

Take a large pot of water and bring it to a rapid boil over high heat. Add some salt but just enough to give the water a slightly salty flavour. In a good sized bowl or pot, add some ice and bring to three quarters full by adding cold water.

Take veggies, cut to size and drop into the boiling water for two to three minutes. Add only enough veggies so the water does not lose its boil. Once the time is up, place into the ice bath. When no longer warm, remove, drain and prepare to freeze. Place the veggies on a cookie sheet to freeze before bagging so they do not clump in the freezer. This method works for most veggies but cob corn requires a longer boil time, of about eight minutes while mushrooms take five.

We often blanch rutabaga as they tend to be too big for a Sunday dinner for two. When fresh is not available, one can still enjoy it any time of the year by taking the time to blanch.

It is a great idea to have a basket to submerge in the boiling water to speed up the process but a slotted spoon will do if you donít have one.

There are also some wonderful deals on fruit so donít be afraid to freeze some for the coming winter. Berries are so easy, as you can set them on a tray, freeze and just bag for future smoothies, pies, or salads. As for me, those apples make great applesauce which really freezes well and I can enjoy that year round.

Over the summer, we had a number of delicious barbecue meals. This year we enjoyed chicken more than steak or burgers and only had sausages once. How sad!

My daughter and son in law managed to visit a few times which meant either of us guys were the grill masters. It was great fun with Andy (son in law) whipping up some tasty pancakes and myself some mighty fine grilled cheese. What a great idea the barbecue griddle is. Just ask my grandson Noah, a grilled cheese aficionado.

If you want to enjoy incredible carrots and potatoes, try this rotisserie treat.

Soak small red potatoes, unpeeled, pierced with a knife, along with carrots cut lengthwise and quartered in hot tap water for thirty minutes.

Dry veggies and toss in olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Place in rotisserie basket and cook until tender. They caramelize and are very tasty as a side dish and if the basket is large enough, you can toss in chicken breasts for a complete rotisserie meal.

Something I discovered this summer was Tuscan Seasoning which my sister in law presented to me. Very nice on chicken but also added to vinegar and oil, makes a nice dressing for salad.

All in all, a great summer, on the beach and on the grill. Keep enjoying your free time and tasty treats as we ease into fall with some new ideas here at LOCAL2.


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