It’s very easy to make this soft cheese; and it can be used in so many ways - it’s the one homemade cheese that I think anyone with dairy animals should know how to make. It can be used in any recipe that uses cream, farmer, or other soft cheese; and it freezes well so you can make cheese when milk is plentiful and preserve it for use when there’s no milk. It can be made with milk from your own dairy animals (if you use goat milk then it’s soft chevre cheese) or with whole cow milk from the store.
To make this cheese, you do need to obtain DVI (Direct [...]
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I love harvesting winter squash – as we’re rushing to get all the other garden veggies harvested and processed for winter storage; all the winter squash need is gathering, curing, and storing – chopping, cooking, canning or freezing not required! We’ve got a record batch this year too – I saved seed from several varieties last year, so we’ve got lots of squash and pumpkin coming in.
Winter squash should be harvested after the fruit turns a deep color and the rinds harden (usually during September and October), but definitely before heavy frost. The fruits should be cut from the vine carefully, leaving [...]
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We love avocados, and tend to buy them in quantities so they’re less expensive. But, then we run into issues when they all ripen at once and we can’t eat them fast enough. So, I’ve started freezing and vacuum packing them when they’re just ripe; and, we can have avocados any time. This works better for recipes like guacamole where the avocados don’t need to hold their shape – they don’t do that well after being frozen. They still taste great though, and now we really stock up when they’re on sale.
It’s really simple to do:
1) When the avocados are just [...]
Continue reading Freezing Avocados (or Guacamole Anytime!)
I love this stuff – it makes one of the best quick appetizers around and an instant gift too. It seems that sweet and jalapeno peppers are abundant in the garden every fall as the frosts start, so it’s a good time to stock up. This is a recipe that we prepare by water bath canning.
1 cup green bell pepper (seeded & diced small)
1 cup red bell pepper (seeded & diced small)
½ cup jalapeno pepper (seeded & diced small – be careful handling the hot peppers, be sure to wash hands well before touching eyes/nose or may want to wear gloves)
1 ½ [...]
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It’s the time of year when there are usually excess vegetables in the garden that need to be taken in before frost destroys them. Many of these vegetables can successfully be stored for months if the right storage conditions are provided. Even without a garden, buying quantities of these vegetables while they’re fresh and “in season” and storing them for later winter use can make sense. Both of these approaches provide fresh vegetables more economically than buying from the supermarket in the winter when it’s most expensive. In addition, vegetables picked and stored at their peak maturity usually have better [...]
Continue reading Long Term (Winter) Vegetable Storage
We have a chest freezer, but I had no idea what was in there anymore. So, as part of a more organized New Year, I decided to organize it and keep an inventory. This picture shows what it looked like before – kinda scary huh?
For the inventory, I just used an Excel spreadsheet. The simple inventory set-up I created in Excel is shown below. It has cagegories for which freezer, the location in the freezer, description of the food, how much, what measure, and the date it was frozen. Hopefully, this will help us find what’s in there, and use up the oldest food first.
What’s In That Freezer?
Every year it seems that there’s an overload of tomatoes in the fall, so I make and freeze this sauce to use up all those great tomatoes. It gets us through until tomatoes are fresh again next year. The recipe is adapted from The Victory Garden Cookbook by Marian Morash.
7 lbs. tomatoes
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups finely chopped onions
1/2 cup finely chopped carrots
1 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1 cup finely chopped red or yellow pepper
1/2 cup beef, chicken, or vegetable broth
1 cup tomato paste (this can be omitted but the sauce must be simmered substantially longer to achieve consistency)
2 bay leaves
Salt and freshly ground [...]
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I think this was the predecessor to catsup, and it’s much better. Catsup seems kind of bland to me – but boy do I like this stuff. We first tried it on hamburgers (and it completely ruined any chance catsup had of getting on my hamburger again). If using fresh tomatoes, make sure they’re big, bold, high flavor tomatoes – don’t bother with insipid hybrids. It’s good on pork, beef, grilled onions, roasted vegetables, and I’m wondering about a cracker with goat cheese. Anyway, I found it at “The Splendid Table” ” blog (see Favorite Links) under Sweet and Piquant Tomato Jam. I also [...]
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I love summertime when the berries start to ripen; the home-grown ones just taste so much better than store bought (and cost a lot less too). As they ripen, and we pick, I make sure we have some of that fresh summer flavor preserved for those cold, dark winter days. And today, with the advent of vacuum sealing, we can freeze them whole (without worrying about freezer burn), and use them later for whatever strikes our fancy – cobblers, pies, jams, muffins, pancakes – you get the idea.
Fresh Picked Strawberries
We vacuum pack strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries; but the process [...]
Continue reading Vacuum Sealing Summer Berries