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On Your Table Blog

August 30, 2023

Chill out garden

Chill out garden

By Kelli Bowen

It’s harvest season!! The garden has been producing and now it’s time to prepare vegetables so we can enjoy them long after the garden is done.

We made our first bucket of refrigerator pickles this year. When people think pickles, they usually think of jars of pickles that have gone through the water bath canning process. This makes them shelf-stable for a couple of years. Refrigerator pickles are good for 6 months, and live in…drumroll: the refrigerator. My kids will eat pickles by the pound so refrigerator pickles work well for us as I’ve never met a jar of pickles that has survived more than one month in our household, so having a half year to eat a bucket is more than enough time.

I haven’t gotten into water-bath canning too much, other than jelly, so my main method for food preservation has been freezing. Sweet corn, sweet peppers, hot peppers and zucchini have all taken up residence in our freezer.

Sweet peppers are easy enough: wash the peppers really well, then take out the seeds and membranes. Then slice, dice or chop peppers into whatever shape you like best. We like pepper slices as that’s generally how we cook peppers and we can always dice them if needed.

Once cut to your liking, place on a baking sheet and freeze for at least an hour-just until frozen. Then toss in a freezer bag removing as much air as possible, or vacuum seal.

Pre-freezing helps so peppers don’t freeze together once bagged, so we can easily divide them and just take what we want for a recipe later. Then just squeeze the air from the bag again and toss the remainder back in the freezer.

Another great thing about food preservation, it’s a family affair. Miss E and Miss A love husking corn and helping prepare veggies for freezing. Miss E said she likes smelling the peppers even if she doesn’t like eating them and thinks we should give bags of corn to family for Christmas, because it’s THAT good.

Happy freezing!

Kelli BowenKelli makes her home in Cass County with her husband, two daughters (11 and 8) and two dogs. She works for a regional seed company by day and tries to be an alright mom, wife, friend and writer by night.

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