Storing your vegetables
Has your garden grown overnight? Are you wondering what to do with all of the produce? Well, a lot of the veggies in your garden can be stored and used in the winter. In this blog I will tell you how to store kohlrabi, green peppers, green beans, and zucchini.
Bring 10 to 12 cups of blanching water to a rolling boil. Then, rinse your kohlrabi and trim off the top and bottom. Cut the rest of the fibrous outer layer of the enlarged stem until you have only the tender center. Cut the bulb into thick sticks and then cubes. Measure out one or two cups of cubed kohlrabi and dump into the boiling water. Set the timer for 4 minutes and run a large bowl of cold water. Next, add two trays of ice cubes. Remove the kohlrabi from the boiling water and into a sieve and submerge vegetables in the ice water bath. When the kohlrabi feels cold, drain and pack into dated freezer containers or zip-top freezer bags, squeezing as much air out of the bags as possible. Lay the bags flat on a cookie sheet and freeze. The kohlrabi should be eaten within 10-12 months of freezing.
Green Peppers -No Blanching
Core the peppers with a sharp chef's knife. Discard or compost the stems, pith and seeds. Cut the peppers in half. For rings, cut the green peppers in half along the equator. For all other shapes, cut the peppers in half from north to south. Remove the white pith inside the peppers. Next, rinse the peppers inside and out with cold running water. This will help remove any remaining seeds and loose pith. Pat the peppers thoroughly dry with towel. Remove all excess moisture to prevent freezer burn. Slice the peppers. This step is optional; though frozen peppers can be sliced after freezing and prior to use, it may be a little harder on the knife. Package the peppers raw in freezer-safe containers. Leave no empty space in the packaging. The air in the empty space will contribute to freezer burn. Freeze the peppers in the coldest part of the freezer. This will preserve raw, unblanched green peppers. The peppers should be eaten within 8 months for best quality.
Wash the green beans well in cold water. Snap off the stem ends. Depending on how long your green beans are, you can either opt to leave them whole, or chop them into 1 to 2-inch long pieces. While you are preparing the green beans, have a pot of water coming to a boil on the stove. Also, get a big bowl of ice water ready. Once you have pepper the beans, drop the green beans into the pot of rapidly boiling water. Let them cook for 3 minutes. Drain the green beans in a colander. You can choose to steam the beans for 3 minutes rather than boiling them. Immediately transfer the blanched green beans to the bowl of ice water. Leave the beans in the ice water for 3 minutes. Transfer the beans to a colander and leave then to drain well for a few minutes. Spread the beans in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze for 1-2 hours. Then, transfer them to freezer bags or containers and label with the date. They will keep for 1 year.
You could chop up your zucchini and freeze it just as it is, but its worth your effort to blanch it first. Blanch for a minute in boiling water. More than that will cook the zucchini too much and will make it mushy after thawing. If you freeze the zucchini right after blanching, it will freeze up into a solid zucchini ice cube. A better solution is to freeze the zucchini in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with a silicon baking mat. This freezes each cube of zucchini individually so that they can stored as a loose bundle in a freezer bag or container. Try shredding the zucchini if you are looking to make zucchini bread or muffins! The zucchini will last for up to 3 months in the freezer.