Fresh produce can go bad quickly, so one of my weekend chores is to go through the fridge and decide what needs to be taken care of right now. I try to plan ahead and keep up with the preserving through canning, freezing and dehydrating so that everything is used and also so we have seasonal ingredients all year.
Canning – last night I canned 5 jars of jam that my daughter made for my husband. Salsa is our big thing, and when the tomatoes come in we will be full on salsa canning, but right now I just did a small batch of jam.
Freezing – green beans were blanched and they have been put into bags with the air sucked out and frozen. I also had a bunch of green peppers starting to wrinkle. While these aren’t too pretty in the salad, they will be great for cooking with, but I don’t want them to go bad, so I will freeze them as well.
Dehydrating – Green peppers are also terrific dehydrated, but they shrink a lot. A very big amount of peppers will give you a very small amount of dehydrated pepper, but they are so tasty. Tomatoes with spots or holes will be cleaned, sliced and placed into the dehydrator as well. My son loves to crumble dried tomatoes into soups, stews and sauces. It adds a lot of flavor without adding any liquid.I do the same with Kale. I’m not a fan of kale chips, but they crumble nicely into soups – and my son added them to the mac and cheese too. Though I’m not a fan of Kale chips, Zucchini and Crookneck squash make great salsa chips. Instead of high calorie, high cholesterol chips, we’re using zucchini and squash to dip into our salsa. I dehydrated mushrooms that were starting to dry out, then I ground them down to a powder and sealed them in a jar to use in sauces and gravies.
I have some peaches I need to take care of because they have some bruises. I still have plenty of canned peaches from last year, but I like to freeze peaches too or dehydrate them. My daughter crumbles them over yogurt and granola. The frozen fruit make great quick desserts. Pour into a glass dish and heat up with granola over and top with ice cream. I didn’t do any of those though, I used the peaches and blackberries along with mint and white wine to make a nice fruit salad. Preserving is good, but using fresh when you can is better.
I do try to use up as I go along as well. We’ve had green beans with potatoes this week, zucchini and tomatoes were sliced into salads – as well as into the eggs. Using fresh is my first choice, but if you have more than you’ll use, figure something out so you aren’t wasting money and resources. I still end up with all the bits, and ends going into the composter. Yellowing and spotty can happen, but if you have a plan, you can stay on top of it. And you can always give some away to your neighbor.
How do you keep up with the produce in your fridge?
PS – Excuse my not so pretty labels. I use painters tape and as you can see, didn’t bother with scissors, just rip.
Related posts you might also like:
- How to Make Kale Flakes (or What To Do With Those Kale Chips).
- What To Do With All Of Those Cherry Tomatoes…
- Zesty Green Tomato & Pepper Relish
- Corn Salsa
- Diana’s Great Tasting Homemade Salsa – by the gallon
- Peach Canning Newbies
- Graduation/Birthday Party
- Grilled Turkey and Avocado Salad
- Family Salsa Making
- Grilled Veggie Salad