For the last several weeks, I’ve been spending some time every few days preserving our garden harvest. I’ve canned a few batches of tomato sauce, and this afternoon I’ll be roasting tomatoes to store in the freezer so that I can make this amazing soup during the winter when fresh tomatoes are scarce. I’ve also frozen lots and lots of chard and turnip greens – I’m hoping that between the frozen greens and our cold frame, we won’t have to buy greens this winter at all. We’ll see.
One of my favorite preserving projects so far this fall has been pumpkins. We grew a pie pumpkin plant this year, and our son helped me harvest these four beautiful little pumpkins a few weeks ago:
I put them in the oven (I think I set it to 350 and cooked them for about 40 minutes?) until they were soft enough to stick a fork into them. Then I peeled them, removed the seeds (which ended up in that day’s green smoothie), and blended up the pumpkin flesh. Then I added a few apples and a pear, along with lots of ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. I didn’t measure any of the ingredients, but I used quite a bit – I love fall spices! I blended it all up into a wonderful pumpkin spice mixture, and added just a touch of maple syrup (maybe 1/4 cup, and I had a 64 ounce blender full of pumpkin puree).
From there, I spooned the puree into ice cube trays and made little frozen cubes of pumpkin spice deliciousness.
I saved quite a bit of it and used it fresh that week in smoothies and in my oats. But ever since, I’ve been loving the frozen pumpkin cubes that I have stashed away in the freezer. Something tells me they aren’t going to last long. I may have to buy a wagon load of pie pumpkins at the pumpkin patch when we take our boys over there next month for the hayrides.
Most mornings, I melt one of these into my oatmeal, and I’ve also been on a banana/pumpkin smoothie kick lately. A banana, some almond milk, two cubes of spiced pumpkin and a few seconds of blender time = instant fall goodness.
For all of you with gardens, what have you preserved this year? I’m wishing I had frozen our spinach before it went to seed. We had a ton of spinach in the early summer, and we were using it every day. But then it all went to seed and we replaced it with other greens. If I had frozen it instead of letting it go to seed, I could make lots of amazing spinach artichoke dip this winter without having to buy spinach. Definitely on my list of things to do next year!
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