Fruit/vegetable planning for winter cooking

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Post Reply
Topic Author
coalcracker
Posts: 523
Joined: Sat Feb 04, 2012 12:25 pm

Fruit/vegetable planning for winter cooking

Post by coalcracker » Sat Aug 01, 2020 3:07 pm

For a few months in the summer, the farmer’s markets around here (mid Atlantic) are overflowing with near endless fruit and veggie options. It’s easy to forget how bland and flavorless the produce from other continents can be the rest of the year :(

Lovers of food: how do you keep dishes flavorful in the off season? Freeze? Preserve? Pickle? Be more selective with your choices (ie citrus in the winter)?

jebmke
Posts: 11022
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 2:44 pm
Location: Delmarva Peninsula

Re: Fruit/vegetable planning for winter cooking

Post by jebmke » Sat Aug 01, 2020 3:17 pm

Also mid-Atlantic. We have hydroponic farms nearby so leafy greens are available most of the year. Toward fall and winter we will typically eat more root vegetables, winter squashes and dried beans/legumes - either separate or part of soups.

edit: frozen berries are pretty good although they don't usually hold their form - typically I mix with yogurt.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

RetiredAL
Posts: 812
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2017 12:09 am
Location: SF Bay Area

Re: Fruit/vegetable planning for winter cooking

Post by RetiredAL » Sat Aug 01, 2020 4:13 pm

Daughter lives in rural MT at enough elevation that her frost free dates are Memorial Day to Labor Day. She grows a lot in the outside garden during that time. To get things started earlier and have the have temperature sensitive things go farther into the fall, she has a buried greenhouse with only the roof showing. She says it's unlikely to freeze in the greenhouse, but due to a combination of lower temps and not a lot of hours of sun, it's it's of limited usefulness from Mid Dec thru Feb. Picked squash, pumpkins, turnips, carrots, potatoes, onions store well greenhouse. She makes pumpkin butter, berry jams, some of which she grows, some she get in the mountains, and salsa, ect. Tomatoes are not grown outside, only in the greenhouse. A salad at Thanksgiving is fresh picked greens, radishes, and tomatoes.

-20 is not an unusual winter temp, happening most years for brief periods. You know it's going to be a cold day when the predicted high is -10.

InMyDreams
Posts: 801
Joined: Tue Feb 28, 2017 11:35 am

Re: Fruit/vegetable planning for winter cooking

Post by InMyDreams » Sat Aug 01, 2020 10:06 pm

Freeze apples into apple pie filling.
Freeze applesauce or make dried apples.
Freeze tomatoes to use like you would use canned tomatoes - I've given up canning.
Frozen peaches from the farmer's market for fresh peach taste year round.

jbuzolich
Posts: 356
Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2014 9:52 pm

Re: Fruit/vegetable planning for winter cooking

Post by jbuzolich » Sat Aug 01, 2020 10:16 pm

We freeze almost anything if it looks like it will spoil before we eat it or if we just get tired of eating it for a week. Peaches or nectarine when super ripe are great to cut into slices, freeze quickly in a single layer on a metal sheet pan, then after the slices are individually frozen you can put them in a zip plastic bag or lidded container in the freezer. Highly recommend those frozen peach slices tossed in a medium heat frying pan with a little butter and brown sugar and a tiny pinch of salt. Spoon that on a homemade pancake for breakfast. Another favorite is rough cut tomatoes in quarters or eighths, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper then roast at 375-400 until they are softened to nearly mush. Let that cool then place in plastic sandwich bag and freeze. A bag like that of already roasted tomatoes with moderate seasoning can go lots of different ways. They are great in starting a pasta sauce, toss in your beans when making chili, or add to onions, peppers, and meat when cooking fajitas.

LittleMaggieMae
Posts: 252
Joined: Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:06 pm

Re: Fruit/vegetable planning for winter cooking

Post by LittleMaggieMae » Sun Aug 02, 2020 12:22 am

I freeze many of the "ingredients" for fall and winter recipes. Think about your fall "menu plans" and then look for and freeze the produce that goes with those recipes.

I prep and freeze bok choi, pac choi, kale, or chard whatevers look good. I will buy a variety of mushrooms at the farmers market and freeze them too. I like miso soup year round.

If I have any sort of greens in abundance - I will saute them with some onions and garlic and lemon juice and freeze some servings for later. (beet greens, kale, chard, spinach all hold up well in the freezer.)

I've blanched and frozen tomatoes (I had quarts and quarts of them one year... ). I've wrapped green tomatoes from the garden (in late september) and stored them in the basement (they slowly ripen - you have to check them regularly)... some years I have fresh garden tomatoes at Thanksgiving. :)

I prep and freeze butternut, buttercup or kuri squashes (1 pound and 2 pound bags) - great for roasting or making soup.

If I get a visit from the zucchini fairy (some appear on my front porch - a gift from a neighbor) I will shred (in the food processor) and freeze them in 1 cup and 2 cup quantities. I'll make zuke bread or brownies or add it to pasta sauce...during the winter.

If beets are looking good (especially the golden ones or the little magenta ones or the checkerboard ones...) I'll roast them, peel them and freeze them. I might clean, prep, and freeze the greens too.

I "can" some jam (usually strawberry or apple butter - made in the crockpot). I make freezer jam with whatever looks good during the summer - I've got 3 varieties of blueberry "jam" in the jars in the freezer. You can make small batches (2 jars and use less sugar when making freezer jam) I use the jam with plain yogurt for breakfast. google small batch canning and freezer jam. pretty much anything you can put in a jar and hot water bath - you can just put in a container and into the freezer. :)

MP173
Posts: 2103
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2007 6:03 pm

Re: Fruit/vegetable planning for winter cooking

Post by MP173 » Sun Aug 02, 2020 5:35 pm

We are in the midst of a fairly strong garden harvest.

We are canning pickles and green beans now. The time involved with canning beans might lead us to freeze them (successfully done in the past) if we can free up a little room in the freezer. Will also either can or freeze corn.

In addition we will can tomato products - sauce primarily.

DW is very creative and she is exploring new methods to retain foods. Looking at canning potatoes, sweet potatoes, and jams. Also froze 15 pounds of blueberries - absolutely great in the morning with yogart and granola which has become my "go-to" breakfast.

Ed

jlawrence01
Posts: 1639
Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2013 1:34 am
Location: Southern AZ

Re: Fruit/vegetable planning for winter cooking

Post by jlawrence01 » Sun Aug 02, 2020 6:59 pm

coalcracker wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 3:07 pm
For a few months in the summer, the farmer’s markets around here (mid Atlantic) are overflowing with near endless fruit and veggie options. It’s easy to forget how bland and flavorless the produce from other continents can be the rest of the year :(

Lovers of food: how do you keep dishes flavorful in the off season? Freeze? Preserve? Pickle? Be more selective with your choices (ie citrus in the winter)?

What other continents? Well over 95% of the produce consumed in the US is grown somewhere in North America. Yes, we do import pineapples from Hawaii, specialty fruits from Asia, soft fruits from Chile during the winter, apples and strawberries from New Zealand, and the like. However, due to the costs involved with the transport, those have never been more than niche products brought in only when there is no local supply.

But to answer the question, I don't have enough of a garden to freeze nor do I head to farmer's markets. I head to produce rescue places from October - April and purchase all of the fresh vegetables that I can use. As for citrus, we get all of the citrus we can use from neighbors who only ask for a small contribution to the local animal pound. Out immediate neighbors keep us stocked with lemons and grapefruit. in our container garden, we grow a variety of lettuces all winter long as well as cilantro. We also grow okra all summer long. It is one of the few crops that really does well in the heat.

I have never had any problems with finding good tasting produce. I know that there is the implication that certain produce from the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic tastes better than that grown in California, BC, and Western Mexico. I have not found that to be accurate if the produce is handled well.

birnhamwood
Posts: 168
Joined: Sat Jan 19, 2019 5:34 pm

Re: Fruit/vegetable planning for winter cooking

Post by birnhamwood » Sun Aug 02, 2020 7:12 pm

We put up about 100 ears of corn each summer, straight off the stalk and into the freezer, no processing at all. For meals just defrost, shuck, and boil or grill. Easy peasy, and so delicious throughout the winter.

User avatar
lthenderson
Posts: 5027
Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:43 pm
Location: Iowa

Re: Fruit/vegetable planning for winter cooking

Post by lthenderson » Mon Aug 03, 2020 8:34 am

We probably can somewhere around 300 to 400 pints of garden produce every year and fill up our chest freezer too. One thing we have done to avoid food processing burnout is to focus on a few particular veggies and can enough for several years. This year we are focused on tomatoes and pickled veggies since we are about out. Last year we focused more on squash and other root crops. The year before that was sweetcorn, peas and such. By doing it this way, it is only a few intensive weeks per year to preserve things and not a entire summer/fall. I also find it easier to manage the garden for just a few things, instead of laying out lots of things every year. I should note we still plant a number of things like lettuce, garlic, onions, and such that we just enjoy fresh.

InMyDreams
Posts: 801
Joined: Tue Feb 28, 2017 11:35 am

Re: Fruit/vegetable planning for winter cooking

Post by InMyDreams » Mon Aug 03, 2020 11:04 am

jbuzolich wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 10:16 pm
Another favorite is rough cut tomatoes in quarters or eighths, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper then roast at 375-400 until they are softened to nearly mush. Let that cool then place in plastic sandwich bag and freeze. A bag like that of already roasted tomatoes with moderate seasoning can go lots of different ways. They are great in starting a pasta sauce, toss in your beans when making chili, or add to onions, peppers, and meat when cooking fajitas.
OK, I've heard of doing this - and I'm interested but I am not willing to add anymore heat to my house while the outside temps are this hot. Hopefully things will cool off soon.

Peach season soon, might have to make a trip to the orchard's tienda.

I'm trying to store more food than I usually do - don't want to buy another freezer, tho.

Post Reply