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What are you setting aside?

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6:26 am
August 19, 2008


rgardner

Moderator

posts 49

1

Local eating should not subside come fall.  You can eat local using the growing winter market movement, but more importantly, you need to set aside via freezing, canning, cellering and drying.   What are you doing to be ready to eat local when the ground freezes?

I've been tracking what my family and I have set aside since last February.

11:58 am
August 19, 2008


Michael Morowitz

Admin

Chicago, IL

posts 40

2

I've never done any canning, but I want to try preserving some tomatoes this year. I use a lot of canned, chopped tomatoes when I cook.  Cookie isn't crazy about the fact that canned tomatoes are lined with a material that contains BPA (I'm not too worried, but I'm not the boss).  We switched to the parmalat tomatoes in a box, but I'd really like to explore canning my own this year.

Michael Morowitz, Editor in Chief, The Local Beet

8:57 am
August 20, 2008


kennyz

Member

posts 19

3

I'm sure canning is great, but I have to admit I've always been a little intimidated by it.  I prefer to just cook the diced tomatoes in some olive oil, then freeze in an airtight container.  I realize it's not the same as having raw tomatoes available, but it still works in most recipes.

6:06 am
August 25, 2008


Michael Morowitz

Admin

Chicago, IL

posts 40

4

kennyz said:

I'm sure canning is great, but I have to admit I've always been a little intimidated by it.  I prefer to just cook the diced tomatoes in some olive oil, then freeze in an airtight container.  I realize it's not the same as having raw tomatoes available, but it still works in most recipes.


This probably makes a lot more sense from an effort-return perspective.  I cook and freeze tomato sauce all the time from canned tomatoes.

I'm seriously considering investing in a chest freezer and a FoodSaver so I can comfortably put things in deep freeze for six months without worrying about freezer burn.

Michael Morowitz, Editor in Chief, The Local Beet

1:04 pm
August 25, 2008


rgardner

Moderator

posts 49

5

As an observer of my wife's diligent work (as well as slight helper) I can say that pretty much all work to get ahead for the hungrier months is, well work.  For instance, before setting to can 6 quarts of tomatoes, my wife skinned,pitted and froze a 1/2 bushel of peaches for pies and cobblers down the line.  Work.  Corn, not as much work, but work.

Canning is a hassle, not the least for the steps required to sterilize and process.  Still, there are real benefits to canning.  Foremost, you are not taking up freezer space.  I've seen Michael's freezer.  He has room still.  Us, with our cow, hog and lamb, we are near capacity.  Canning saves room.  Also, there are flavors and recipes that are better created by canning, I think.  Pickles and relishes obviously, but having also froze tomatoes in various forms, I think canned tomatoes have a place in the repertoire.

The other thing to emphasis, canning or freezing or what not, now is the time to go after local food.  I was in Caputo's in Elmwood Park again today.  The value of local food there is incredible.  Michigan plum tomatoes are 39 cents/lb; local cabbage was like 3 lbs for a dollar; Illinois corn was 5 for a dollar; a wide variety of peppers for less than a dollar a pound.  This is the type of stuff to go at with relish (hahahaha, get it).  Via freezing, canning, drying (we are oven drying some tomatoes), packing in oil–good for peppers, cold storage (cabbage) cellering  (potatoes, apples, roots), you can very easily take your local food diet into the winter and beyond.

1:26 pm
August 26, 2008


rgardner

Moderator

posts 49

6

Last night we made a big batch of spiced peaches and finished the tomato concentrate.  Also peeled and froze peaches. 

Cause I'm such a good husband, I bought my wife another bushel of tomatoes today.  She's busy at work doing the hot pack this time.  Also, this batch is tomato puree, not whole tomatoes.

8:10 am
August 27, 2008


kennyz

Member

posts 19

7

I'm using Tom Colicchio's ingenious method of preparing tomatoes for storage:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Slice tomatoes in half through the equator, and place in a big bowl with some whole garlic cloves and olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper and mix gently to coat evenly.  Place halves skin side up filling your largest sheet pan (need to use on with slightly raised sides), and scatter garlic cloves and a few sprigs of thyme around the pan.  Roast for about 20 minutes, after which time the skin should be loosened enough to remove it easily.  Do that, then lower the oven to 275 degrees and continue roasting for 3-4 hours.  Every 45 minutes or so, take the pan out for a few secs and pour off the tomato water that has accumulated.  The great thing about this method is that you end up with 3 distinct and delicious ingredients that store well: the roasted tomato halves, the roasted garlic, and the tomato juices.  All can be frozen pretty much indefinitely.  The tomato water/ juice is really the highlight for me – I love to use it to cook risotto, or to reduce it down then whisk in some butter for a terrific sauce over some fish.

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