We’re already approaching the end of summer. And while the hot weather may linger a few weeks longer, soon we’ll be in long sleeves and scarves again, switching from iced tea to hot tea, and craving heartier, warming soups and stews.
Okay, okay. I’m with you. It’s still summer! Let’s not rush these last weeks. Go jump in the ocean (so warm these days!) and enjoy the longer nights while they last. Take pictures to help savor the summer. And on that note, let’s try to savor summer fruits and vegetables, too. How do we make summer fruits and vegetables last long into the cold, dark nights? I have some ideas. Read and enjoy.
1. Pickling: An age old technique. The basic concept is placing your vegetable or fruit of choice into a brine with additional flavors. Here is a basic guide. Here is a recipe for bread and butter pickles using summer’s abundant cucumbers. Here is a list of 20 surprising things you can pickle.
2. Freeze your herbs in oil: See here. This method works best with “harder” herbs like rosemary, sage, oregano, and thyme vs. “softer” herbs like basil, parsley, or cilantro. It’s great because you can simply take the oil/herb ice cube out of the freezer and throw it right into a hot pan before sautéing your vegetables for your winter soup. What a great flavor base!
3. Dehydrating: Even if you don’t own a dehydrator, you can dehydrate your fruit. Use your oven! By removing the moisture from the fruit or vegetable, it will last far longer. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. Here is a good article/ recipe for dehydrating peaches! Sounds so good!
4. Pestos: Pestos can be made with any herb (my favorites are parsley and basil), a variety of nuts (pine nuts, walnuts, almonds), and even different oils (but olive is my favorite.) The oil preserves the herbs, and pestos can be stored in the fridge for a couple weeks, or the freezer for months. Use the same technique as #2 and freeze in ice cube trays, then transfer to a ziplock bag once frozen. Spread pestos on a baguette, toss into spaghetti, or use as a sort of salad dressing for a roasted vegetable salad- perfect for when we start seeing squash pretty soon.
5. Sauces (to freeze): Immediately what comes to mind here is tomato sauce. Make a big batch, freeze in smaller containers, mason jars, (or an old Happy Pantry jar!) and eat “summer” pasta dishes into the winter!
Here is a link to my (loose) recipe for a roasted pepper and coconut milk soup from a couple years back. It’s different- but wonderful. Enjoy!
My advice is to label your frozen, preserved creation. Make a celebration out of enjoying your treats when the weather is cooler. And while you eat, remember these hotter days, and the sweet fruits they brought with them.
See you Sunday at the Market!