Preserving Fresh Produce, or The City Kid Goes to a Pick-Your-Own

So tasty! So healthy! So PRETTY!

So tasty! So healthy! So PRETTY!

The DH has never been to a Pick-Your-Own farm, at least not in Canada, so I figured it was high time he experienced the fun that is sweating in the fields. I find that the further you drive out of the city, the cheaper the PYO prices are, but the DH, my sister, and I only wanted a half-day jaunt, so we didn’t drive too far. As such, the cost of the PYO was actually roughly on par with what you’d pay in a store. So why did we do it?

Well, aside from the novelty factor (and yes, I recognize that only a city kid could say that), it makes for a shorter distance between farm and table. You pick the fruits and vegetables at their peak, as opposed to having them picked before being fully ripened and then being either falsely ripened in a facility, or just never fully ripened. So it’s healthier and more nutrient-rich! And, when it comes to strawberries at least, also tastier!

The family and I picked autumn strawberries (did you know there was such a thing?), green beans, and baby eggplants. I like to store strawberries in the freezer so that in the winter I can make delicious fruit dishes without having to pay through the nose (what an expression!) for fresh ones from out of the country, or frozen ones with the prices jacked up. So, today I’m going to show you how to freeze your strawberries and blanch your beans for freezing!

First things first…show me the produce!

Oh, the strawberry dishes I'm dreaming of!

Oh, the strawberry dishes I’m dreaming of!

Freezing Strawberries

Wash and de-leaf (and possibly hull) your strawberries. Place on cookie tray in freezer until semi-frozen. Place semi-frozen strawberries in freezer bag. Label. Done! Luxuriate in your pioneer prowess!

And now on to the beans! Let’s get blanching!

Blanching Beans for Freezing

Wash beans and snip off the ends. Cut in pieces if you want. Boil water and dump beans in water for 2-4 minutes. Drain beans and dump into container of ice water. When cool, drain and place in freezer bag, making sure to empty out all air. Label. Done! Boast about your homemaker skills on twitter, because everyone should know just how hard you work!

Ice, ice, baby! (Does that reference age me?)

Ice, ice, baby! (Does that reference age me?)

And…that’s it! It’s really not that hard. It’s a good feeling to know that you’ve put up fresh produce; when you pull it out of the freezer, you remember the day you picked it.

What happened to the eggplant I picked, you ask? Well I’m not really sure how to preserve it. So I’ll likely just sauté it in some oil with a dash of sesame oil and eat it as a side dish. Mmm…I do love me some eggplant. When it’s done properly, the bitter juices have been drawn out and the sugars caramelize and make a luscious dish. Maybe I’ll make some now! What’s your favourite way of preparing eggplant? Let me know in the comments!

Next Post: Most likely the promised Oatmeal Substitution Bread. Or a Salsa Smackdown. We’ll see what I’m craving tomorrow!


7 thoughts on “Preserving Fresh Produce, or The City Kid Goes to a Pick-Your-Own

  1. Cathy

    Thank you for visiting a farm. Sounds like you had a great time, I knew you would.
    My favourite way to cook Ontario eggplant is to make Eggplant parmesan. The Looney Spoon sisters have a great recipe but I am sure there are others out there. You can even freeze the slices once you have breaded and baked them for a complete meal down the road.

    1. Margaret Post author

      Thanks for commenting, Cathy! Eggplant parmesan is a great idea! I didn’t realize it could be frozen after baking — I’ll have to try out that recipe and freeze them. Mmm…now I know what to do with my eggplant! 🙂

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