I’ve been gardening for about 6 years now. Each year I plant different thing, and each year I have varying levels of success. Each year, my garden has gotten bigger and bigger.
And yes, I’ve already got plans for expanding my garden next year. I mean, the contractors who built my garage dug up all the space around the foundation, so it is just asking to be planted with veggies. (Let’s ignore the fact that the space they dug up used to have flowers. Beautiful flowers.
Beautiful veggies will replace beautiful flowers, but never fear. Plenty of my yard is still covered and dripping with flowers.
One thing I have never done a good job of in all my years of gardening is preserving the food.
Mostly, I’ve given away the excess. I’ve dried herbs and frozen a couple veggies, but nothing beyond that. Until this year.
This was my year. I have had the best success in all my years of gardening’ I’ve harvested over 125 pounds, for a total market value of almost $400!
Which means, as you can imagine, that I’ve had some excess.
I’ve frozen a lot of it, some just in regular old ziplocks, some using the fancy vacuum sealer I’m borrowing from my friend. (I never blanch anything before freezing it. I know you are supposed to because of enzymes and blahblahsciencblahblah, but I just don’t.)
I’ve vacuum sealed fresh herbs. Lots of them. Like four times this many.
And tomatoes. But even if you don’t have a vacuum sealer, tomatoes are the easiest thing ever to freeze, because….
Did you know you can freeze tomatoes whole? Just pop them in a ziplock and freeze. When you thaw them, the skin slips right off and you can use them as you would canned. No point in canning them, if you have the freezer space.
Which, I do.
And good thing too, because the tomatoes show no signs of slowing down.
I’ve also found some great deals at the farmers market recently. I got purple bell peppers for 25 cents each and sliced and froze those in a few packets. This would be way cooler if I also had a sous vide cooker, so I could just freeze them and throw them in there, but I don’t have one. It’s still cool to have frozen veggies though.
I also got 10 pounds of green beans for $5! Some of those, I ate fresh, some got canned (more on that later) and some got frozen in the aforementioned vacuum sealer.
On Friday, I did a monster harvest after work. I had SO MUCH STUFF. Tomatoes, in particular, were nuts.
FIVE pounds nuts, kids. (That’s way nuts, right?!)
Remember I planted about 8 different kinds? I’ve mostly been only getting the cherry tomatoes and Sun Golds and TONS of yellow pears so far, but last week the big guys started to ripen.
The Purple Cherokees (the 3 that are deep red with greenish tops), the Pink Brnadywines (the HUGE red one in the forefront), and the Tie-Dyes are really sweet and are perfect snacking tomatoes. I just slice them and sprinkle with a tiny bit of salt, and can easily eat a couple at a time.
But I can’t eat them all like that and I’ve already got a lot of whole tomatoes frozen, so I wanted to come up with something else to do with them. Hmmmmm……what to do, what to do?
Make soup! Roasted tomato soup!
I’ll post the recipe later this week, but it was crazy easy. I froze them in individual servings for those crazy rushed mornings that I know are right around the corner.
Frozen soups are great grab-and-go lunch options.
So my freezer is stocked with vegetables, herbs, soups, mashed cauliflower (another farmers market steal, but I really really want to plant cauliflower next year), and OH! Those kale cubes.
I made more kale cubes this weekend, because I still harvest kale every time I walk out to my garden. Apparently I planted the kale that keeps on giving. And giving. And giving.
It is still giving, in fact. It gave to me last night. Good thing I have four more starts for my indoor greenhouse/room this winter. Because I swear that stuff outside has to stop growing at some point….right?
Oh….right. I made more progress on that greenhouse/room I mention every now and then.
Shelves are set up, I’ve got the shop lights going, some LED lights, and all kinds of goodies growing IN MY HOUSE y’all.
I even got all fancy and got a timer so the lights all come on at 7 am and go off at 7 pm. Fancy or crazy? To-may-to, to-mah-to.
Come back for that Roasted Tomato Soup recipe AND for more preserving talk. (Spoiler: I’ve been a canning FOOL.)