AS I PLANT MY PARSLEY, PICK ASPARAGUS and get ready for tomato transplant time, it gets me thinking about tomorrow (as in “the offseason”) when my Northern garden doesn’t offer up so much food as it will the next few months. No worry, because I am a hoarder—of fresh garden and farmer’s-market produce (though not on sagging shelves like that 1940 Farm Security Administration slide, above!). Plan now to grow, or acquire, enough for extended enjoyment, using my top 17 tips, and maybe using one of
two four sets (update: response has been so huge I had to get more!) of six snazzy Weck canning jars (below) that I bought to share with you, too. Feeling lucky?
Details on the giveaway are down at the end, but first, a word about not just canning but also freezing in glass: You may recall that last year, with increasing evidence about how problematic plastic is in contact with foodstuffs, I shifted even more of my storage containers to Ball jars and Pyrex containers and such. This year, I’m investing in getting rid of the rest, so the tips list starts with that subject.
17 Tips for Canning and Freezing
- Why I’m not just canning, but also freezing in glass: It’s about mounting evidence on the dangers of Bisphenol A (BPA). And glass is just great.
- A year of parsley, in freezer “logs,” or…
- …a year of most any green herbs in green ice cubes (pestos), such as parsley, sage, chives, garlic scapes, rosemary, cilantro…you name it.
- Frozen whole tomatoes: Why bother with tins from the store? Pop whole ones into bags, jars or freezer boxes; pop some out as needed. (Remember them from this other post?)
- Tomato junk: What I do with the dregs of the vegetable garden, an all-purpose base to soups, stews, chilis. Waste not…
- Freezing garlic: Why put up with withering cloves in winter and spring when you can have peak-of-perfection garlic on hand?
- Frozen peppers: They’re cheap at peak harvest time, pricey in winter, and so easy to freeze. (So is rhubarb, by the way, and asparagus, though that last one wants the quickest blanching first.)
- Fast broth or stock: Don’t waste your trimmings or less-than-perfect veggies. Make stock.
- Easy refrigerator pickles: A hand-me-down recipe (and A Way to Garden’s most popular story ever). And an fyi on pickling salt: Why some batches of pickles get too salty; mystery solved. Oh, and you’ll need pickling spice, too.
- Applesauce? I freeze the year’s worth every fall, and here’s how. Same with love-apple sauce (meaning: tomato sauce!).
- Baked beans: My recipe is delicious, good for you, and freezes beautifully, so make a double batch.
- A final tip: With soups, broth, and other liquids, I don’t dilute as much as I would if I were serving immediately. “Concentrated” liquids take up much less freezer space.
- Or maybe I should have made the final tip say: Make sure you have strong shelving!
How to Win the Canning Jars
TWOFOUR EXTRA 6-PACK SETS OF WECK JARS from Kaufmann Mercantile to share with you for this giveaway. Most of my jars are basic Ball Mason jars, but I have long coveted some of the Weck beauties, so I indulged. To enter to win, just tell me something delicious that you plan to stash this spring or summer to savor in the offseason–whether in the pantry as pickles or jam, perhaps, or in the freezer or whatever.
You know me–I won’t force you to say anything specific, and your entry will count even if you just say, “Count me in” or “I want to win” in the comments below. But of course I prefer to hear what your “putting foods by” plan for 2011 is.
The seductive Kaufmann Mercantile catalog just stocked up on Weck jars of various sizes and shapes, so if you want to buy some for yourself you can get a $7 credit on your order by registering for their email newsletter (they already offer free shipping on orders over $25). Weck jars can also be had directly from Weck, or from Heath Ceramics, among other places. Each vendor has a slightly different assortment (some in 2’s, others in 6-packs, etc.) and offerings vary as to shipping and so on.
(1940 Farm Security Administration photos from the Library of Congress archive. Weck jar photo from Kaufmann Mercantile.)