Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Preserving Summer Part Two

 Mary Oleksowicz, MSTOM , L.Ac.

One of my favorite summer crops are peppers both hot and sweet. It seems as though they come in bumper crops especially as the summer season ends. One way to save these wonderful veggies is to chop or slice them then freeze the pieces on a cookie sheet until they’re solid. You can then transfer the pieces to plastic freezer bags which allow you to take out just enough that you need for a particular recipe. Thin fleshed peppers such as cayenne or jalapeno can be dried outside. Pepper can be hung on a string or dried on a screen lined with brown paper in an airy, shady spot, as long as your weather is still hot and dry. Upcycling old screens found at tag sales is often sufficient and eco-friendly. You can also use “splatter protectors” available at the local discount stores.  I have also experimented many times with homemade hot sauces. For hotter sauces retain the seeds for milder sauces remove the seeds and add fruits. Pineapple is usually a wonderful surprise.

Herbs can also be preserved by air drying similar to the aforementioned method used with peppers.  I tend to use this for herbs such as mints which will be used as teas. For herbs used for cooking , blending the herbs with oil or butter ( or both ).  Place washed and de-stemmed herbs in a  food processor with 1/3 cup olive oil for every 2 cups leaves, or 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick) per 2 to 4 tablespoons leaves. Feel free to add garlic or ginger if you like. Package the herb blend in quart size freezer bags and allow them to freeze flat so that just the right amount can be out and added to your favorite recipe.  Mixing the herbs with butter or oil allows for the aromatic oils and prevents the  herbs from being soggy as can occur with  frozen water methods. On average these blends last six months in the freezer. 

The best way to preserve herbs is in oil or butter

I hope you have enjoyed these simple yet effective ways to preserve summer freshness for the remainder of the year.


Post a Comment

About Me

Kaplan Center for Health and Wellness
View my complete profile