Sunday, October 31, 2010

The End of the Harvest

Halloween marks the end of the harvest here in  Western PA.  The small towns shift from harvest festivals to Christmas Light up nights and Holiday Craft Shows.  George and I have spent the weekend beginning to tighten things up for the winter.  He has pulled his beloved Tommato plants and  we made our final trip to our Farmer's Market, which closes today until next July. Most of the preserving I have written about up to now has been canning, but I also do some freezing and cellaring.

I dont't have a fruit cellar exactly, but we do have a storage room under what used to be and enclosed porch and is now our entryway.  It is quite a bit cooler than the rest of the house, but doesn't freeze, and it has no windows.    This year we are trying storing a box of apples and a box of winter squash.  We wrapped the squash and apples in paper to avoid spreading of spoilage then carefully placed them in boxes.  Here I should mention that a good portion of the squash were an acorn variety that came up as a "volunteer" in our compost pile.  I love those little presents from mother nature.

I also do a small amount of freezing for the winter.  The reason that the ammount is small is that I tend to forget about the food that I have frozen for some reason, and in the many cases, such as tomatoes or soup, it takes too long to thaw them.  But this year I froze a few things, such as the potatoes and green beans I mentioned before, and today I froze some more potatoes, this time with bacon.  Without fail, however, I always sock away a gallon freezer bag full of frozen sweet peppers. 

Frozen Sweet Peppers

1)  Wash, seed and slice the peppers.
2)  Place about 1/4 to 1/2 a cup of sliced peppers in a sandwich bag, remove the air and seal.
3)  Place all of the sandwich bags into a gallon freezer bag and freeze.

These keep very nicely all year, and are very usefull for adding to stir fries, pizzas, cheesesteaks, omlets, etc.  The flavor is a little stronger in the frozen peppers, so you may not want to use as many as you would fresh.  They are also much cheaper than buying fresh in the middle of winter.

This year I also did this with onions. 

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