Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Make Hay While the Broccoli Shines

One of the things about living in Pennsylvania as opposed to some place like Florida or California is that for several months of the year, nothing much edible grows. So, if you want to eat local in January, February, March or April (and even May), you need to preserve the Summer and Fall harvest.

There are different ways to store different fruits and vegetables. One good way for a number of things is to freeze them. And a good way to get these things is to buy in bulk from a helpful, local farmer.

So, I asked Farmer Art King of Harvest Valley Farms about some things my family likes which I am hoping to preserve for the winter that seem to be in season right now: peas, broccoli and green beans. He told me that he can sell at retail all the peas he can harvest because they are so time consuming to pick. Hmm. Bummer. But he did offer to sell me a great big crate of broccoli.

After making an arrangement in advance, I picked up this crate at the East Liberty Farmer's Market for $15.00. It actually was more full -- by the time I took the picture, I had already sliced up several broccoli heads. I used the book The Busy Person's Guide to Preserving Food by Janet Chadwick which I find very helpful.

1. That same day after I bought the broccoli (i.e. ASAP), I chopped up the broccoli into smaller pieces and let them

2. soak in a sink full of salted water for thirty minutes.

3. While the broccoli was soaking, I filled a big canner with water and heated it up to a boil.

4. After thirty minutes and the water was boiling, I placed one pound of the broccoli in the boiling water, returned it to a boil and cooked it for 5 minutes.

5. I then removed the broccoli to a sink filled with ice water to stop the cooking process and let it hang out there for 5 minutes.

6. Next, I put the broccoli onto some towels to dry.

7. After the broccoli was dry, I placed it on wax paper-covered trays or cookie sheets and put those into the freezer.

8. After about 24 hours, I removed the broccoli from the cookie sheets and placed it into labeled and dated plastic ziploc bags.

Now we have broccoli for the rest of the year!

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