This time of the year, preserving the flavors of the garden has to be on every gardener's mind. I thought about it a lot before I actually did it. It was intimidating at first, there are so much to learn and so much I didn't know... You know what? the best way of learning is by doing. Try different ways of preserving a particular veggie until you find you favorite, and stick with those. You will find your efforts will be well rewarded!
Late August is time when I begin to put extras from the garden away, pickling, preserving or freezing. There are a lot of dos and don't, a few things that have always worked well for me, and I am here to share them with you.
Many veggies can be frozen. However, the flavor and texture of frozen veggies can be quite different from fresh ones. The question you want to ask yourself is: "Am I going to eat what I freeze?" I find come up with specific ways to use what you freeze will help you use up the frozen produce. Instead of just blanch and freeze the veggies by themselves, cook then into a meal and freeze them in individual serving portions. I find this particular helpful to send them off with college kids.
Here's a couple of my favorite recipes for freezing, both are a little involved in their preparation, nonetheless easy enough to make once you get the routine down.
Tag: Zucchini, eggplant, potato
(1) Moussaka: This is my adaption of a Greek dish that uses eggplant, zucchini and potatoes. At the end of August, my eggplants and potatoes are coming on strong and I still have a lot of zucchinis, so this is a perfect time to enjoy moussaka and put some away for later.
Ingredients, for one 9x13 pan use:
2 medium sized potato, 1 large Opus Eggplant, 2 medium sized Speedy Silver Zucchini;
1 pint jar of home canned tomato Sauce (see link)+2 T. dried onion flakes+3 cloves of
2 C. pizza cheese+1/2 C Parmesan cheese;
Olive oil for cooking
3 C. Béchamel sauce (white sauce-see link): butter, flour, milk or half&half, fresh grated nutmeg,
1 whole egg, fresh or dried oregano, salt and pepper to taste)
1. Slice potatoes, eggplant and zucchini into 1/4 slices, and cook in a frying pan with with olive on the bottom until veggies are soft, add some salt to facilitate the process.
2. Pour some tomato sauce in the bottom of the pan, line the pan with a layer of potatoes, and
then zucchinis and eggplant slices, pour more tomato sauce on top, top with another layer of potatoes. Pour the reminding tomato sauce on top. Cover with cheese, cover with the Béchamel sauce. Bake at a preheated oven at 350F for 35-40 minutes. Take it out of the oven, let cool before serving. For freezing: Wait until the dish is completely cooled, cut it up in serving size. Pack them in freezer bags, then in cardboard boxes.
Methods for making Béchamel sauce: stir equal amount of butter and flour in a frying pan over medium heat, cook until well incorporated and flour start to turn yellow. Add liquid (milk and/or half&half, add salt and pepper to taste, add grated nutmeg, add fresh or dried oregano). Cook until sauce is thickened. Let it cool a bit, stir in one whole egg.
I discovered this dish quite by accident, now it is one of my favorites that I have to make every year. It is like a Italian sweet and sour dish to me. And of course, this is my adaptation of it. Check out the link below for recipe.