Sunday, August 2, 2009

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

It has been a difficult week for produce. We were out a few nights, and there were several things we didn't get to cook when this week's share was ready. I thought a lot about my friends Courtney and Matt, who just started their CSA share, and were already overwhelmed with their bounty. They indulged in one of America's rapidly dwindling arts; "putting things by." In a fit of canning madness, they pickled cucumbers, and then rutabagas, and then kohlrabi.  And then realized they hadn't used distilled water and spent many of the following days wondering if they would contract botulism.

I am not ready to purchase pickling spices, jars, and distilled water so that I can boil glassware and preserve my produce there, and I have enough problems with anxiety without having to worry about botulism. I admire Matt and Courtney for doing it, but I'm just not ready. In a similar fit of madness, I engaged in another age-old pastime; filling the freezer with things I will probably never use in the future. I had two weeks' worth of chard, and it hadn't gone bad enough to justify throwing it into the compost. I also didn't want it mocking me each time I opened the refrigerator. I'm not yet ready to give up my battle with chard, but today was not to be the day I would find the perfect chard recipe. Instead, today was a good day for Blanche. At the suggestion of one of my high school friends, Susan, I decided that chard would best be used thrown into things like spaghetti sauce, where it might take a back seat to other flavors in the mix. I blanched it, chopped it fine, and threw it in the freezer. Presto, change-o. No chard in my line of vision; no chard in the compost.

While I was at it, I blanched last week's carrots, which were enough for a meal. I feel a little bit better about them. I know we'll eat them, but I have carrots from the store, two small bags of mini-carrots from the store, and this week's Chubby Bunny carrots; an extravagant abundance of carrots. I know that I can pitch a handful into a soup or stew this winter, or I can saute them, or I can probably mash them up for a cake or muffins. The possibilities are endless.

I'm thinking that my friend Blanche might be a good solution for the green beans and peas growing in my garden as well. They're ripening in small batches; there is not enough at any one time to make a meal, but I think they'll continue to produce for a while. Perhaps if I blanch them in small batches and keep adding them to container in the freezer, I can come up with a few meals' worth. I think it's worth a try.

With a great deal of sarcasm, Jamie echoed my feelings about the chard stash in the freezer: "...because I know I WANTED to be able to eat chard this winter." It may end up in the compost after all. And if, for some mad, crazy reason, you share our interest in food preservation, check out the website of the National Center for Home Food Preservation, which is a great resource for canning, pickling, dehydrating, freezing, and possibly even burying your food in the sand until you're ready for it. I will skip the sand and continue to fantasize about a small, chest freezer in the basement...mmmmm.
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