“Winter is hungry season.” I often think of Barbara Kingsolver’s quote as I stare at produce in the grocery store come March. The tomatoes are especially tasteless. The broccoli oddly discolored. The peppers disturbingly bruised. And don’t even get me started on the sky-high prices! I dream of Saturdays belonging at the farmers’ market yet again.
Although our farmers market tents fold up for the season on October 13th, you can keep a little market flavor in your freezer all winter long. All it takes is a little fun preparation now! Here are seven easy steps to freeze your favorite farmers’ market veggies:
1] List the veggies you would like to freeze for your winter dishes. I stock up on Vaiuso’s green onions to flavor my soups. Gentle Giant’s organic tomatoes are essential to my crockpot chilis. I love River Crest’s peppers for my omelets.
2] Stroll to the market with an extra bag or two in hand! You will spend a little more than usual now, but you will save so much later. Veggies are much cheaper at the market now compared to at the grocery store during the winter.
3] Chop your veggies to your desired size.
4] Blanch the veggies. Don’t be afraid! Blanch is just a fancy term for boiling the veggies for a minute or two, before dropping them in an ice bath to stop the cooking process. This step preservers the freshness of the veggies.
5] Using a paper towel, dry your veggies completely.
6] Spread your veggies out on a baking pan. Place in the freezer for about 2 hours. This will prevent the veggies from sticking together.
7] Now frozen, toss your veggies into a plastic container or bag. Seal 'em tight before stashing 'em in the freezer. Use within 10 months.
Have fun with the process! Put on your favorite playlist, uncork a bottle of wine, and sneak in a few tastes as you chop up your fresh veggies. Call a few friends over to join in on the fun. The warmth of cooking together will collectively thaw your winter dreads.
Stock up while enjoying the beautiful fall weather while it lasts at the Downtown Milford Farmers’ Market. For a few more weeks, Saturdays simply belong here. 9 to 1, 58 River Street, October 6th and 13th!