Make It Last – Ideas for Preseving Your Last Market Purchases

November 1, 2010 at 10:57 am

We have written a series of posts detailing our advice for best practices for preserving the crops you find in Chicago area farmer’s markets.  This one covered the early crops.  We provided a mid-Season update. Finally, we gave you an end of season guide.  In addition, for general background, we have always referred you to our article on Making the Most of the Seasonal Bounty. Even though we know you are paying attention, getting ready to eat local lady, we know you can use some final reminders and tips. If you are like us, you’ve been buying like crazy the last couple of weeks.

Please find below, some preserving ideas for your end of season purchases.  Also, we note some items we especially believe you should stock now.

Sweet Peppers

Roast and pack in oil – We saw sweet peppers, both green and colored in the markets last week.  We bought a ton.  Some we will eat raw, but most we plan on packing in oil after we roast.  Kept in the fridge, this will supply you in antipasto for at least two months.  We swear.

Asian Pears

Cold store, use in salads - Because most local farmers pick their “regular” pears ripe, they do not store well.  On the other hand, Asian style pears cold store very well, not quite as long as apples, but long.  Besides eating out of hand, Asian pears go very well in salads with cold weather greens like rocket.

Green Tomatoes

Relish – We love the tart taste of green tomatoes in pasta sauce, and we are never unhappy having them fried.  If you have too many green tomatoes because of the cold, or even if you have just some green tomatoes, you will find they make excellent relishes.  You can then can for shelf-life or you can keep in your refrigerator.

Hot Peppers

Pickle – We saw even more hot peppers this weekend than sweet peppers, mostly jalepenos, with some habanero and serrano thrown in.  We are fine just keeping them in the fridge and using as needed, but we know we can extend the season just a bit longer if we use an easy pickle.  The sisters at 3 Sisters Farm offer up this easy recipe: equal parts water and vinegar (rice vinegar preferred for its mild taste) and then enough salt until the mix tastes, well salty. 


Pickle – Middle Eastern cookbooks contain good cauliflower pickle recipes, but if you cannot find a recipe, just toss the cauliflower in with your hot peppers.


Cold store - We saw many farmers giving deals on large amounts of apples this weekend.  Take advantage.  If you cannot find a cold spot in your house, use your fridge.


Cold store – Garlic stores easily, especially if kept dry.  Cold is good but not vital.  On the other hand, you may not find any local garlic for a long time, so stock up now.


Save – We hope you have already been putting away root vegetables and potatoes.  If note, get a-goin’ on those things.  We note that one of the last things you will see in the farmer’s markets in the fall are also one of the last things you need to eat.  When all of your other preserved foods have run out, you will have your sunchokes.  A bag or two kept in the back of the fridge will last you just fine until you need it.  When you get around to the sunchokes, the Sustainable Cook has a recipe for you.

Celery Root

Save longer – And when you have eaten your sunchokes and you are still hungry, what’s left?  The celery root.  These may truly last forever in your fridge.  You can use them raw, classically with a mustardy, remoulade, dressing or in a mash with potatoes.

If you have any last of the season purchases that you are unsure what to do with, let us know.