Posts tagged preserving foods
Last spring I had a bumper crop of snow peas. So many we couldn’t possibly eat them all. I decided to try freezing some of them to see how they did. I’d always read that you needed to blanch vegetables before freezing them.
Blanching is not a lengthy process, but I felt that if I could just clean them up from the garden, allow them to dry, and then freeze them without any processing it would help preserve even more nutrients.
Of course I’m not trying to freeze to keep something for eternity either. I had preserved them to use in the winter. The only thing is I forgot about them, as my freezer got packed full of more and more stuff.
I found them just a few weeks ago, when my new crop of peas had just been planted. They’re only about 3” tall now so have a long way to go. First I brought out a bag of blanched peas. I thawed them and used them in cooking. I have to admit that snow peas are not my favorite frozen vegetable. I used them in a stir fry, but think they would go better in a soup or stew. They were limp as could be and had nothing left of crispness like fresh peas.
Next I opened one marked un-blanched. Absolutely no difference in taste, but they were actually a little less limp than the blanched.
Bottom line is that I didn’t really like either. I now realize that shelling peas are really the only ones that hold up in the freezer, so if I have a bumper crop this year I’ll find some unsuspecting friend to foist them on.
Share Your Experiences With Freezing Foods
What have been your experiences with freezing various fruits and vegetables? Which have worked out well, which have been a fiasco, and why?
Last post I promised that I would talk about the different types of basil and how to use them. Nowdays there are many more flavors of basil than just sweet. One of the most popular is lemon basil.
Lemon basil has a delicate flavor, distinctly lemon with a hint of basil spiciness. It is not as robust, nor does it grow as large or with as big of leaves as sweet basil. The essential oil that creates the lemony flavor is easily destroyed with high temperature cooking, so it is best to add lemon basil at the end of the cooking cycle, except in baking when it cannot be added at the end. Lemon basil is excellent in raw dishes, too, especially salads and in salad dressing.
Low temperature dehydrating is a must for this type of basil in order to retain its delicate lemony taste.
Next is licorice basil. It is distinctly licorice with a strong basil spiciness, too. It is a smaller plant and leaf, as well. It is delicious in both cooked and raw dishes. It’s flavor is robust and strong and not easily damaged with cooking. It is excellent on pizzas in place of or combination with sweet basil.
Dry it the same way you would sweet basil.
Cinnamon basil has a sweet cinnamony pungence with sweet basil overtones. It also is a smaller plant and leaf than sweet basil. It holds it flavor well in cooking and can be used in raw dishes as well.
Dry it like sweet basil.
Holy basil. This basil has a very distinct flavor. The plant is smaller with smaller leaves than sweet basil. The leaves and stems are slightly hairy. I’ve only used holy basil for tea, so don’t know if it works well in cooking or raw preparations.
It dries excellently and is a prolific self-seeder in this area (zone 7a).
All basils are best if cut and dried before flowers set, but that can be hard, especially with holy basil, which seems to blossom almost from day one.
More basils next time. (Yes there are even more to choose from.)