Preserving the Tastes of Summer

Eat fresh from the garden all winter with these quick tips for preserving your produce.

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how to preserve broccoliBroccoli
Freezing preserves broccoli’s taste, texture, and nutrients. Cut up the heads into small florets so the pieces blanch uniformly. Blanch cut-up florets and little side shoots only for a minute before freezing. Cool the blanched broccoli, then pack it into plastic bags and freeze.

 

how to preserve pumpkinsPumpkins
Many pumpkins will store until spring in an ordinary cool basement. You can also cook the pumpkins, then freeze the cooked flesh in plastic freezer bags. Cooking pumpkin is simple: Just cut it in half, remove the seeds, put the halves cut side down on a baking sheet, and bake at 350ºF for 20 to 40 minutes (it’s done when the skin begins to turn brown and you can easily push a fork through it).

Scoop the flesh out of the skin and either puree it or just mash it up with a fork. You can spice some of it with cinnamon, allspice, and apple juice concentrate before freezing. Then it will be ready to make into a pie later.) Pack the cooked pumpkin in plastic freezer bags in 1 or 2 cup quantities—that makes it easy to use in recipes later.

how to freeze squashSummer Squash and Zucchini
Tender summer squash and zucchini get mushy in the freezer. So puree yellow and green summer squash in your blender or food processor, then freeze the puree to use in cakes, breads, and soups.

Dried zucchini chips are great with sandwiches or dips. Before drying, slice them into 1⁄4-inch-thick rounds and quick-blanch them (just a few seconds in boiling water). Then dry the rounds overnight in the dehydrator. They're ready when they snap in half when bent.

 

how to preserve eggplantEggplant
Coat slices of fresh cut eggplant with an egg-and-bread-crumb mixture, bake until almost tender, let them cool, and then freeze them in plastic bags. You can use these breaded slices as a kind of crust for pizza—top them with dried tomatoes, roasted peppers, and cheese and then bake until the eggplant is crisp and the cheese is melted.

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