We accumulate empty canning jars as a result of winter cooking. As the integration between our garden and kitchen continues, I’m learning which things we will use and which not so much. I’m also comparing various ways to preserve vegetables. It has been a good winter of meals.
Canned and frozen tomatoes, garlic, vegetable broth, frozen kale, apple sauce, apple butter, and dried herbs are most used. There is plenty of each to make it to next season.
The flavor of what we ate improved. We recognize when the flavor of a dish is sub-optimal. There is a long way to go, yet growing awareness of flavor will be good for our life and diet.
Making vegetable soup uses the largest variety and amount of preserved vegetables. Soup is based on a mirepoix of carrot, celery and onion with a few bay leaves. I start each batch with a quart of canned tomato juice or vegetable broth. This is where the stems of leafy green vegetables get used, along with their leaves. Barley thickens the soup and lentils add protein. If there are root vegetables, especially potatoes, they get peeled and diced, and go in. I preserved parsley in ice cubes and a couple of those go in. Whatever is available goes in. Soup makes many a winter meal.
My project to make hot sauce by using up old jars of preserved hot and dried peppers has been a roaring success. The flavor is better than anything store bought. After extracting the sauce, I blended and froze the pulp in a muffin tin. That has become a useful ingredient in fried rice and other spicy dishes. Home made hot sauce is superior in flavor. There is enough of it to last until the next pepper harvest.
We make a lot of taco filling. Our vegan, non-spicy version has bell pepper, onion, garlic, black beans, leafy green vegetables and tomato sauce. When I’m cooking for myself, I use guajillo or hatch chili pepper sauce instead of tomato, and lots of red pepper flakes. We buy our tortillas raw from the wholesale club. We like them because they have simple ingredients and no additives. The addition of white miso and Mexican oregano elevates the dish.
I use garlic in everything and there is plenty left from the July harvest. Home grown garlic proved to be the best.
We began to use apple sauce more quickly because we put it in vegan cornbread. After opening a quart jar, the rest gets eaten. Apple butter remains aplenty. Going forward, I don’t need to make so much of either when our trees have a bumper crop of apples. A dozen jars of apple butter serves through winter and gifting to next year’s harvest. Maybe two dozen pints of sauce, and a dozen quarts. The rest can go to sweet cider and apple cider vinegar.
We miss fresh vegetables in winter, yet we get by with flavorful meals. As a cook I am learning to adapt to the availability of vegetables.
You must be logged in to post a comment.