Preserving the Harvest Party

What a bountiful harvest we're having this year. The sugar snap peas were perfectly crisp, the spinach mild and tender, the corn bursting with sweetness, and winter squash is coming on. 

Sigh ... I wish I could say I grew it all.

One day this nomadic family will put down roots—literally and figuratively—and will get back to the soil. For today, our "garden" is made up of three pots of hail-blasted herbs. For produce, we rely on local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and small family farms...

This summer I have blanched bunches upon bunches of Grant Farms spinach and loaded up on pounds of fresh, organic strawberries.

Last week my neighbor and I blanched and froze the half bushel of Italian green beans we purchased from Top 'O The Hill's roadside stand for $15. We commented on how fun it was to do together and that in less than an hour we had prepared and "put up" enough green beans for 15 meals. And, it didn't even feel like work! It was more like a party.

And, we'll be "partying" again soon—it's peach season.

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A Preserving the Harvest Party—What You'll Need

A Friend or Two. The more the merrier.

Some Produce. Decide what you want to preserve. Pick it from your garden, find a local farmer, or visit a Farmers Market and buy in bulk.

Some Simple Directions. Visit the Colorado Extension's online publications page for FREE information on preserving, how long to blanch, how to can, etc.

The Equipment. If you're blanching and freezing, all you need is a big stock pot, a colander (very helpful), lots of ice, jelly-roll baking sheets, food storage containers or bags (glass or Ziploc), and freezer space.

Getting Down to Business (it's so easy)!

STEP 1: Wash. Trim. Chop 

STEP 2: Blanch (these beans took 4 minutes)

STEP 3: Plunge in ice-cold water

STEP 4: Spread out on jelly-roll baking sheet and freeze. When frozen, transfer to Ziploc freezer bags or other container. Done!