Food

The Food Group is working to develop public food gardens where anyone can join in the harvest and enjoy fresh, delicious local food. The project is called Transition Incredible Edible. If you would like more information about this project or other activities of the food group, please email food@transitionhoco.org.

Eazy Freezy: Items that You Can Easily Preserve by Freezing

Many produce items have a relatively short harvest period. If you are growing produce in your yard you know that you can be inundated with a large number of raspberries or tomatoes at one time. If you don’t grow your own produce you may notice that there are certain times of the year when you can buy certain produce in bulk at a very low price. Maybe you haven’t take advantage of this because it’s more than you or your family can consume before it would go bad. Whether you are growing your own or looking to save money at the grocery store, you can take advantage of bumper crops by freezing items. Below are some examples of items that you can easily freeze with very little prep time. Try it out this summer and fall when crops are at their peak harvest. You are only limited by your freezer space!

1. Berries: To prepare berries for freezing, first rinse and then lightly dry them. Spread them out on a cookie sheet so they aren’t touching. This way they freeze as individual berries instead of a clump of berries. Place the cookie sheet(s) overnight in the freezer. The next day dump the frozen berries into a freezer bag or other freezer safe container. Mark the container with the name of the contents and date. This process works for raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, etc. When you need berries, you can measure out as much or as little as you need. You can use the frozen berries in smoothies or pies, muffins, or other baked goods. Or mix them in with your morning cereal or oatmeal.

2. Tomatoes: Tomatoes are one of the easiest items to freeze. Wash and cut away the stem scar on each tomato. You can cut the tomato into pieces depending on how you plan to use your frozen tomatoes. If you are going to put them in a stew where they are going to break down then slicing it isn’t necessary. Just put the tomatoes into a freezer bag or other freezer safe container. Mark the container with the name of the contents and date. You don’t need to remove the skins before freezing. To peel a frozen tomato, simply rinse it under warm water and the skin will slip right off. It doesn’t get much easier than this.

3. Onions: Onions can also be frozen. These do require a little more prep work as you typically don’t want to put an entire frozen onion into a recipe. Clean, peel and chop the onion to whatever size you desire when you cook. Put the onions into a freezer bag or other freezer safe container. Mark the container with the name of the contents and date. IMPORTANT NOTE: when you freeze onions you will notice a strong onion smell for a day or so emanating from your freezer. This is normal but just be prepared for it.

4. Herbs: Many different types of herbs can be frozen in ice cube trays. This works for herbs like basil, rosemary, mint, sage, cilantro, and more. Like onions, these require a little more prep time as you sometimes don’t want the stems when you are cooking. Clean, chop or otherwise prep the herbs as you would when you are cooking. This might mean simply removing the leaves from the stems. Put the parts that you want to keep in an ice cube tray. Fill each cube as full as you want for an individual recipe. Once the tray is full or you have run out of herbs then put a small amount of water into each cube to help hold the herbs together. Put the tray(s) in the freezer overnight. The next day put all of the herb cubes into a freezer bag or other freezer safe container. Mark the container with the name of the contents and date. You can use the herb cubes in your stews or other recipes.

If you have other EAZY FREEZY tips, please share them with info@transitionhoco.org

You can find great information related to food safety at www.foodsafety.gov. Here are a few resources from our Repair Cafe mini-workshop on Food Safety.

shelf life USDA (1).pdf
Food Facts Power Outage.pdf
2017-01-24-FoodFacts-Buffets Eng.pdf