Preservation is not just for Summertime...
Fall is here and that means it’s truly harvest time here on the farm! Autumnal crops offer a host of flavors and nutrition that are comforting staples in the cold weather months. That said, if you want to make the most of the season then preserving some of the fall harvest is a must! We wanted to share with you some of the different ways we like to preserve the bounty at the end of the official growing season.
These ruby-colored beauties can’t be beat for making delicious pickles! Puns aside, beets are rich in nutrients like iron, manganese and folate (not too mention downright tasty and sweet). Try pickling beets with flavors like clove, allspice and rosemary. Beets are also the perfect addition to sauerkraut (click for a recipe!) and can even completely substitute cabbage for an “all beet” kraut.
If you make traditional red velvet cake with beets you can also shred, portion and freeze beets for your favorite cake recipe!
Greens: Freeze It, Ferment It!
Collards, kale, turnip and mustard greens are all excellent candidates for blanching and freezing (click for how to guide!) . After that they can be used the same way you’d use frozen spinach, but will keep their typical flavors. Simply wash and chop the leaves, then boil them for a few minutes. Quickly transfer them to a bowl of ice water after boiling. Afterwards strain the leaves from the water, pat them dry with paper towels and freeze in portions in a freezer-safe container of your choice. Sauerkraut and kimchi preparations also make great use of these greens as well as their close cousin and kraut/kimchi superstar cabbage. Added bonus: these delicious ferments are rich in probiotics (just in time for cold and flu season!).
Sweet winter squashes like butternut, acorn and kabocha are fantastic for roasting and making a purée. These homemade purées are easy to make and beat canned pumpkin every time. We like to portion out our squash purées for recipes we know and love, then freeze these portions in containers or zip top bags. Then when you’re ready to make “pumpkin bread” or winter squash soup simply defrost a portion in the fridge and voila! Little known fact: most canned pumpkin actually comes from a type of winter squash. Granted, all of these squash (pumpkins included) are closely related and can be used interchangeably. You can also skin, seed and cube winter squash and then freeze the cut pieces. These are great for soups and stews. Tip: freeze the cubes in one layer, atop a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, with no pieces touching . Then transfer the pieces to a freezer-safe container. This will keep the pieces separate and prevent them from freezing into one solid block.
Daikon Radishes: Pickle 'Em!
Although it might be hard to tell, radishes are actually related to cabbages (as well as broccoli and kale for that matter). And just like their cousin cabbage, radishes are perfect for fermenting. We love the Daikon Dills from Hex Ferments ! They’re a great example of how you can pickle and ferment with winter radishes (try this recipe!) for a tasty veggie treat. Savy DIYers can make similar delights at home. Ferments are a hallmark preservation method that combines flavor, shelf life and probiotics in a nice little package. What are your favorite ways to preserve fall veggies? Let us know on Facebook , Instagram or in person!