Saturday, September 3, 2011

Food Storage Friendly Friday

I love this time of year. I love visiting the farmers markets when I can, the fruit stands and the grocers who carry local fresh produce. I only have one problem and that is that there is so much fresh goodness available that it is hard to do everything I want to do at once. I have found a few ideas that help to get everything done at once; dry some while you are canning the rest or blend some to make jam, jelly or salsa. Whatever you do, don't let the season pass without preserving some for the winter months ahead.

I'm not a great advocate of freezing fresh fruit unless you can use it up fairly rapidly because after about 3 months you loose some of that fresh goodness. I do like to freeze some peaches occasionally in small containers for lunches or to heat for ice cream toppings, smoothies or cobblers. I like having some canned peaches on the shelf as well as some of my favorite peach jam, which is quick and easy to make.

I also like canned pears but many people don't. One of my favorite things to do with canned pears (because I had children who had texture issues) was to open them and blend them to make pear sauce or chop them to make pear bread. I also loved using the canned pears in my favorite set salad, "Hidden Pear Salad". I'll post the recipes for these below.

I've been drying strawberries for snacking or to add to cereals, snack mixes and even muffins. They are even great chopped into pancake or waffle batter. I also freeze some in 1 c. portions for smoothies and my favorite fruit pie. I also freeze raspberries and some blueberries the same way, but just enough that I can use up. Many fruits can be frozen using the ICF (individual quick frozen) method if you plan to use them in jams or jellies or even some pie filling recipes. This makes it easy to wash, remove stems and spread them on wax paper and freeze, then measure and put in baggies until you are ready to can them.

Twice in the last month I've needed a quick dessert to take to a friend with a birthday, a new baby or the loss of a loved one. I have loved having frozen fruit in my freezer to throw a pie together in no time. I'll share the recipe for this delicious pie.

Tomatoes are in abundance right now. I love making the chili sauce I recently posted but even more I love slicing and drying the tomatoes. This is a quick way to preserve them. They are great in recipes or just plain. Try them with a dip served like a chip. They have so much flavor. I also love canning stewed tomatoes. They can be eaten straight from the bottle with a little salt and pepper or sugar, used to make a fresh salsa or added to any soup or stew. They are so delicious.

Corn is just starting to come on here. I freeze enough for a few meals but general use the rest in fresh corn salads, eaten off the cob or bottle some corn relish which I have posted before. I want to first share the easy pie that I love to make (AND EAT) and is a great way to share your fruit with friends and neighbors. I'm including some of my other recipes that use these fresh fruits in different ways.

Take advantage of all the harvest goodness that you can. It's a shame to let it go to waste.

Berry Cheesecake Pie
2 vanilla wafer pie crusts
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 c. powdered sugar
1 c. cool whip
1 pkg. raspberry or strawberry Danish Dessert
1¾ c. cold water
1 c. frozen sliced strawberries
1 c. frozen blueberries
1 c. frozen raspberries
Whipped cream
Blend cream cheese powdered sugar until smooth; stir in cool whip. Divide evenly and spread over the bottom of the two shells. Combine Danish Dessert and cold water. Bring to a full boil and boil 1 minute stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in frozen berries. Cool slightly; Pour over cream cheese layer. Chill. Garnish with whipped cream around the edges (looks very pretty) or on individual slices of pie.

Frozen Peaches
Put peaches in boiling water for 30 seconds then into cold water. Peel and remove pit. Slice into solution of 1 quart water, 3 c. sugar and 4 t. fruit fresh, (1 t. per cup of water). Pack fruit into bottles or Ziploc bags. Fill with syrup (juice they were sliced into), to within ½” of top of jars. Freeze. These are good frozen in baby food jars and packed in lunches, or to use as ice cream topping or for peach pie or cobbler.

Peach Jam
15 c. peaches, crushed
15 c. sugar
5 packages orange jell-o
Boil peaches and sugar 10-15 minutes. Add jell-o. Stir until completely dissolved. While mixture is boiling, bottle and seal. Water bath 10 minutes.

Hidden Pear Salad
1 can or bottle (16 oz.) pears, liquid drained and reserved
1 pkg. (3 oz.) lime jell-o
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
¼ t. lemon juice
8 oz. cool whip (or 1 envelope dream whip mix)
In a saucepan, bring reserved pear liquid to a boil. Stir in jell-o until dissolved. Remove from heat and cool at room temperature till syrupy. Puree pears in a blender. In mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and lemon juice until fluffy and smooth. Add pureed pears and mix well. Prepare whipped topping (if using Dream Whip mix) or use cool whip and fold in cooled Jell-o. Pour into a jell-o mold or a quart dish. Chill overnight. Y: 6-8 servings

Pecan Pear Bread
1 c. sugar
½ c. vegetable oil
2 eggs
¼ c. sour cream
1 t. vanilla
2 c. flour
1 t. soda
½ t. salt
¼ - ½ t. cardamom
½ - ½ t. cinnamon
1 ½ c. chopped peeled pears
2/3 c. chopped pecans
½ t. grated lemon peel
Combine sugar and oil. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add sour cream and vanilla. Combine dry ingredients; add to sour cream mixture and mix well. Stir in pears, pecans and lemon peel. Spread batter into a greased 8x4x2” loaf pan. Bake at 350ยบ for 65-75 minutes or till toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes and remove to wire rack to cool completely. Y: 1 loaf.

Stewed Tomatoes
10 c. chopped tomatoes (about 18 medium)
1¼ c. chopped celery
1 large green pepper, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
½ c. sugar
2 cans (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1 T. salt
Scald and peel tomatoes and chop as fine as desired. Put onion, celery and peppers in small pan with a little juice from tomatoes. Boil about 10 minutes and add to tomatoes along with sugar, tomato sauce and salt. Bring to a good boil and boil about 5 minutes. Put into hot bottles and seal. Process pints and quarts in boiling water bath.

Tomato Sauce from dried tomatoes
1 c. tomato pieces
1 c. water
In a pot, combine tomato pieces and water. Let sit for about 15 minutes until dehydrated. Use in any recipe calling for tomato sauce. Y: 1 1/3 c. tomato sauce

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