This morning has been all about preserving garden goodies. I started out with tomatoes. I’ve been roasting and freezing them lately so that I can make roasted tomato soup this winter. I harvested a huge tub of beautiful tomatoes.
Then I washed them, sliced them in half lengthwise, and laid them in glass baking dishes. I’ve found that it’s best to coat the inside of the baking dishes with coconut oil first (or some other oil that works well at high temps). Otherwise, cleaning the pan afterwards is a two hour job. Trust me on that one.
My counter runneth over.
And you can see a big bowl of whole tomatoes in the upper left corner. I used all of my baking dishes (and all my oven space) but only had room for about half the tomatoes. So I’ll be starting another tomato roasting session this afternoon.
I put all of those dishes into the oven – preheated to 375 degrees – and let them roast for about 90 minutes. The kitchen smelled nice.
While the tomatoes were roasting, I bagged up some peppers that I had frozen last night. Peppers are pretty easy to preserve. I chop them up, spread them on a cookie sheet, and put them in the freezer. Once they’re frozen, I use a spatula to get them off the cookie sheet and dump them into a bag. It starts as this:
Then they get chopped and frozen:
And ends up as this, perfect for sauces and stir fries this winter:
Once I finished with the peppers, I moved on to chard. I made another trip out the garden and filled that giant bowl with chard:
Apparently I also harvested a lady bug and a wasp, both of which were returned to the outdoors, since I doubted they wanted to be blanched or frozen.
I washed, chopped, and blanched the chard in four batches, and now it looks like this:
I haven’t counted lately, but I would guess that I have about 60 of those bags full of greens in the freezer. My hope is that between the cold frame over one bed of greens and the bags of frozen greens, we won’t have to buy greens at all this winter. Right now it seems do-able, but winter lasts a long time, so we’ll see.
Once I had finished the peppers and greens, the first batch of tomatoes was nicely roasted.
Once they cool a bit, I’ll put them in jars and freeze them. I prefer to use glass for food storage whenever I can, and roasted tomatoes work pretty well in glass jars. You just have to make sure they’re not too tightly packed, and leave them room to expand as they freeze. But it would work just as well to store them in ziplock bags in the freezer.
Now it’s time to get cracking on the second batch of tomatoes. I love seeing our freezer and pantry shelves fill up with food from our backyard. Fall is definitely in the air these days. We’re starting to see nighttime temperatures in the 30s, so I’ve got a fire under me to get the garden harvested as much as possible before it freezes.
Hope you’re all having a wonderful Friday!