More notes on last season's garden harvests . . . in the freezer.
Broccoli - I have trouble growing broccoli. Or I should say, I have trouble growing broccoli without worms. This past year I protected all the broccoli plants from the dreaded white cabbage moths (who have the audacity to lay their eggs from which the worms hatch in my broccoli) by covering them with our newly constructed screen cages.
How'd that work? Well, upon soaking the freshly harvested broccoli heads in warm, salt water (to kill any worms), I'm sad to say I found the broccoli was not worm-free. But only a few worms were sent to their demise as they floated out compared to many, many of them in years past. So the screen cages did help. Somewhat. I think.
We ate a lot of fresh broccoli right from the garden, but only enough for 12 meals made it to the freezer for winter consumption. No matter what I try, frozen broccoli lacks that crisp crunchiness I get when cooking fresh, non-frozen broccoli. But the frozen broccoli makes excellent Cream of Broccoli soup so that's most likely where the remaining packages will go.
Brussels Sprouts - These were grown under screen cages also. Nary one worm was found. (Hurray!) We ate many (we both love Brussels sprouts) as they matured during the late summer/early fall. Five servings (a serving being enough for the two of us for one meal) made it to the freezer. They are long gone. I had 16 plants in the garden. Is this an inefficient vegetable for me to raise, or am I doing something wrong?
Peas - I put up 42 servings of shell peas. We love 'em and eat several servings a week. They are the first preserved vegetable we run out of. There are still some in the freezer, but I'm not going to check to see how many because then I'll be sad there are so few left.
Beans - Oh, my. I really overdid it on the beans this year. I usually plant one 16' row of green beans and one 16' row of yellow beans. That gives us an ample supply for the year. This year my first plantings did not germinate well at all. So I panicked, went crazy and planted beans in every spare piece of garden soil I could find. I ended up with waaay too many beans. Even after giving a lot away. Naturally, I couldn't waste any so I put them up. I mix the green and yellow beans together (for pretty on the plate) and ended up with 75 servings. We will have enough beans until the 2014 crop comes in. I'm sure.
Green Peppers - I made 34 servings of Stuffed Green Peppers. We have them about once a week and I've served them a couple of times as a company meal. We have plenty left. I also put about 2 quarts of chopped green peppers in the freezer to use in cooking over this winter.
Chives - I prepped and froze 11 one-cup size containers of chives. I love them and use them all winter long. With luck, I shouldn't run out before the chives pop up this spring.
Blueberries - Will we ever have enough blueberries? We are already down to the last three gallon bags of them. (Plus, adequate jars of jam on the pantry shelves.)
Raspberries - Can you have too many raspberries? In our case, the answer is yes. Today I counted 7 gallon bags of them still languishing in the freezer. That is probably more than we can use before the next crop comes in. I made jam and concentrate, but still ended up with too many in the freezer. If this coming season is good, I may sell some of the fresh berries to our local co-op.
Strawberries - I still have 8 quarts of frozen smooshed strawberries. These were intended to be used in smoothies. However, this winter has been so cold we find ourselves not wanting (cold) smoothies as a breakfast. Or a lunch. Or anytime of the day. I've been experimenting using the strawberries up in baked goods, and made a really good strawberry cobbler earlier this week. This cobbler may make more appearances on our table this winter yet. And, yes, there is plenty of strawberry jam put by.
Rhubarb - Only one rhubarb pie filling left (started with 5, but I'll make more this coming season) and 2 pint containers of rhubarb sauce.
That's it for this post. Only the food put by for the poultry to cover yet. That will be next . . . and much shorter!