Preserving the Harvest

I did a little preserving this weekend, and I think it turned out pretty good. We got a killer deal on some heirloom beefsteak tomatoes—they had some surface cracking so we got them for a dollar a pound. I bought ten pounds to make salsa and Bolognese sauce with. I know beefsteak tomatoes aren’t typically used in sauces, but since I’m making a meat sauce, I think I can still get the texture I want and besides, I really like their flavor. I made the salsa last night, and it only took me about an hour and a half. I adapted a recipe from Stocking Up III. I decided to freeze what I made, and it was just a small batch, so it ended up going into two small freezer containers. This is the recipe I used: 

Mexican Tomato Salsa (adapted from Stocking Up III)

1 onion, finely chopped

3 stalks of celery, finely chopped

4 mini sweet peppers (or 1 small sweet pepper), diced

1 Serrano pepper, diced 1 garlic clove, diced

4 medium-large tomatoes, diced

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon honey

½ teaspoon whole coriander

½ teaspoon whole cumin seeds 

Cook onion, celery, sweet and hot peppers, and garlic in olive oil until just translucent, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, honey, lime juice, coriander and cumin and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Take off the heat and let come to room temperature, then package into freezer containers and freeze. Its great served with chips, sopaipillas or chicken.  

I also made a freezer pickle recipe. I’ve never heard of pickles in the freezer, but I thought I would give it a try. I also adapted a recipe from Stocking Up III, according to which these pickles can be stored for a week in the refrigerator or up to three months in the freezer.  

 Freezer Pickles (adapted from Stocking Up III) 

 6-8 medium-large pickling cucumbers

1 red onion, sliced (you can dice it if you want) Handful of fresh baby dill

½ cup vegetable or canola oil

1 ½ cups white vinegar

½ cup honey

½ cup water

2 garlic cloves, crushed and diced 

Whisk together the oil, vinegar, honey, water and garlic and set aside. Slice the very ends off of each cucumber then slice each cucumber lengthwise into thirds. Layer the cucumbers and onions into two quart-sized freezer containers. You should be able to fit three to four of the sliced cucumbers into each container while still leaving and inch and a half to two inches of headspace. Place the dill on top and pour the vinegar mix over the pickles in each container, again leaving about two inches of headspace. Cover and put into the freezer.  

 I haven’t made the Bolognese sauce yet, but I plan to this afternoon. Most of it will go into the freezer for future meals. I also plan on making a big applesauce spice cake for the freezer and maybe some pumpkin spice pancakes. I am also considering making my crumb coffee cake recipe in muffin tins and freezing it to have on hand for breakfasts, though I’m not sure how well it will freeze. But I guess there’s only one way to find out! But all in all, if this ends up being the only preserving I get around to this year, I’m pretty pleased with what I’ve been able to do.