Too Much Fresh Produce?

Hi again blogreaders!

I was thinking that now is the time when you may (or may not) have too MUCH fresh produce and you are either trying to gift to strangers or thinking it’ll all have to go into your compost pile… well I may have a better idea:

how about storing it for the upcoming winter??  

Now is definitely the time for harvesting and honestly, you have to get it when it’s good. But, you may be hesitant because you don’t know what to do with it. Honestly, I own a small deep-freezer and found it to be an excellent way to store most of my food so that I can have farm-fresh produce all year round!

I especially wanted to focus on how to freeze and store greens like collard greens, kale, spinach, and even Swiss chard.  If you have ever frozen fresh produce before, the method is pretty similar across the board: blanch, ice-bath, package, and freeze. I’ll go through the process with a bit more detail though.

For preparing to freeze greens you will need:

  1. Fresh greens you wish to store
  2. Large pot of boiling water, 2/3 of the way full
  3. A bowl filled with ice and cold water
  4. Strainer
  5. Vacuum food sealer or ziploc freezer bags for storage
  • Before you begin with the fresh greens itself, I find it easiest to set a pot on the stove to begin boiling the water and prepare the bowl for the ice and cold water.
  • First, you will want to use fresh, crisp greens.  Wash them first before you use them and then you can choose to prepare them whatever way you would like (tearing them into smaller pieces; chopping them; dicing; etc).  You will want to remove any tough stems and damaged pieces.
  • Then, with the water at a good boil you will blanch the greens by placing them into the boiling water for a few minutes (2-3 minutes).  The blanching process can counter the aging process in the plant allowing it to stay for a pretty long time.
  • After the 2-3 minutes in the boiling water, you will want to scoop the greens into the ice and water bowl.  Generally, you will give them a cold-bath for the same amount of time as the blanching process.
  • After the greens have bathed in the cold water for the allotted time, you are able to place them into your storage bags.  I like to use smaller ziplock bags for easy use after they are frozen and then place the smaller bags into a large freezer bag.  Once you have as much air out of the bags as possible upon sealing the bag,  you can place them in the freezer and you are DONE!  You can leave greens in the freezer for about a year, just don’t forget about them!
    • Note: you can use a strainer for any of these steps where you have to remove greens from the water.

If you want more information, you are welcome to visit this site for freezing fresh greens.

If you wanted to freeze other fresh produce, usually a rule of thumb is the thicker the vegetable itself, the longer (but not by much) it’ll have to blanched.  I’ve found that zucchini, bell peppers, green beans, and carrots are all easy and last to the freezing process. This website has a pretty good list of how to do other vegetables and this one will tell you how to long to blanch those vegetables.

Eisenhower Center Holiday Gifts at Farmers Market Tomorrow

Green Things Farm and The Farm at St. Joe’s will not be bringing produce to the farmers market at St. Joe’s tomorrow. Jill and Farmer Dan are taking a winter break, and will be back January 8 with local produce through the rest of winter and spring.

Eisenhower Center will be set up from 11-1, Wednesday, December 18, with holiday gifts including gift baskets, lip balm, lotions, soaps, hand sanitizer, candles, wooden toys and more. Holiday gifts from Eisenhower Center are homemade, and are produced by Eisenhower Center clients through enrichment programs.

If you have any farmers market questions you can always email Farmer Dan at bairdz@trinity-health.org.

Farmers market takes winter break

The Farm at St. Joe's is much quieter this time of year.

The Farm at St. Joe’s is much quieter this time of year.

There will be no farmers market today and we will be on winter break until further notice. This is our planned winter break, which offers Farmer Dan a time to reflect on the past year and plan for the next.  Stay tuned to this blog for further updates.

Thank you for your loyal patronage at our little market this past year. It has been a successful growing season for us and Tilian Farm Development Center.

I’m starting to prepare for seedling production in the heated greenhouse at Matthaei Botanical Garden. Did you know that we start all of our vegetable plants from seed starting in late January?

Thank you, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and yours.