Saving the Summer Harvest
Words & Photography by Autumn Kern
It is sort of painful to lose summer. The heat begins to disappear and slowly, yet very noticeably, we lose the invitation for summer adventure, the celebrated warm evenings, and the fresh produce of the previous months. Fresh berries are replaced by the apples of fall, which are replaced by the root vegetables of winter. An understood cyclical relationship between farmer and crop, and yet, I find it always to be painful – that losing of something so good. Thankfully with the proper planning and thoughtfulness, we can all save a bit of the summer harvest for the long days of winter.
Fruits: Clean well with a damp cloth and allow for complete drying. Remove any plugs or seeds before freezing. For larger fruits, slice into quarters; smaller fruits can remain as is. Some fruit oxidizes in the freezer and should be sprinkled with fresh lemon juice and/or honey to help maintain color and sweetness. Lay the fruit out flat on a baking sheet and quick freeze by placing the pan in the freezer for 2-3 hours. Store in a labeled plastic bag for up to 6 months.
Vegetables: Clean well with a damp cloth and quickly blanch them in boiling water, about 2-3 minutes. Place the vegetables in a bowl of ice water immediately after boiling and then dry them well. Blanching destroys the natural enzymes that would cause the vegetables to spoil or lose flavor. Once completely dry, lay the vegetables out flat on a baking sheet and quick freeze. Store in a labeled plastic bag for up to 6 months.
Herbs: Chop and blend with a small amount of water in a food processor. Freeze in an ice cube tray. Store in a labeled plastic bag for up to 7 months.