If you’re like me, you’ve probably found that you have an abundance of crop, and not enough time to eat it all. Well, if the supermarkets can find a way to preserve the food that you buy from them, I’m sure we can find ways to preserve the food that we grow at the allotment.
To blanch or not to blanch, that is the question…
The term blanch is French and means ‘to whiten’, but in cooking terminology this means to soften, or cook using boiling water. To blanch your greens and root vegetables, (including runner beans, french beans, cauliflowers, broccoli, carrots and Brussels sprouts) shred or chop the vegetables to your liking and bring a saucepan of water to the boil, dunk your vegetables into the water for about two minutes, no longer and then cool your vegetables in cold or ice water straight away. The vegetables go straight into a freezer bag and then straight into the freezer.
Last year, I spent a good deal of time blanching my vegetables and sticking them in the freezer and one day I was at the allotment and I asked a colleague, “do you bother to blanch your vegetables” and the response I got was “I used to, but I found it really didn’t make much of a difference”. So now, I don’t bother.
To unfreeze or cook your lovely preserved vegetables just cook them in boiling salty water, drain and serve.
When you dig up onions, garlic or potatoes, the chances are you’re going to store them in a plastic bag in the fridge. If these haven’t been dried properly then you increase your chances of condensation forming and this will lead to your fruit and vegetables rotting. My advice to you would be to leave your potatoes, onions and garlic in the shed for about a week to dry out.
Onions are a well used staple in the kitchen, so the chances are you’ll use these up fairly quickly. Store your potatoes in a hessian sack, this will keep them dry and reduce moisture from building up in the sack – eventually rotting your potatoes.
You won’t believe the amount of years I’ve been sloppy with the drying out of my potatoes and ended up with a half rotten sack of potatoes.