Summer 2010 Revisited – for dinner

I had a rough day today.  I needed a little pick me up for dinner.  While I was pretty tempted by the Girl Scout cookies in the freezer I managed to forage in the vegetable bin instead.  So dinner tonight was a bunch of the vegetables that I either grew or bought at the farmers’ market last summer and saved with my Food Saver.  So this is sort of a dinner report and sort of a product review.

The other thing to discuss tonight is the best way that I’ve found to resurrect various frozen vegetables.  Tonight’s menu was squash and onions, sauteed string beans with garlic, white corn and purple hull peas with rice.  YUM!  For the squash and the beans I put the frozen block of vegetables on a plate and defrosted them about 90% of the way in the microwave.  Drain off the water before you put them in the skillet or they’ll be boiled more than sauteed and will end up mushy.  With the squash you may need to squeeze them just a little to get some extra water out.  Heat a little olive oil in 2 heavy skillets, one for the beans and one for the squash.  Add the vegetables and saute until they get a little brown color on them.  It will take about 15 minutes for the squash and onions and about 5-7 minutes for the garlic beans.

The corn is the easiest.  Put the frozen block of corn in a small pot with a little water and a little butter.  Let it cook, gently breaking up the corn with a wooden spoon, until it’s heated through.  Done.

Treat the purple hull peas like you would black-eyed peas.  I froze them shelled and raw.  I cooked them yesterday with a little country ham.  Just put the frozen peas in a pot and add enough water to cover them.    Bring them to a boil and then let them simmer until they’re just soft.  Drain them and add them to hot cooked rice.

Salt and pepper everything to taste.  This all turned out great.  The fresh taste of June produce in early April.  Can’t beat that.  I promise that these vegetables saved from last summer still beat any shipped from Mexico or Honduras squash or corn you can find in the store today.

My first foray into vacuum sealing you may recall was the Fresh Saver.  That’s the vacuum sealing system really meant for foods that you want to seal, unseal and re-seal for refrigerator storage.  I didn’t realize that it wasn’t intended for freezer use so I used it for that anyway.  I was a little concerned because there was a little ice around the beans and the squash.  Fortunately no freezer burn.  Turns out the Fresh Saver worked great for sealing some vegetables.  It was a little less successful for the peas.  I put up 3 bags of purple hull peas.  One of them sealed beautifully and two of them not so much.  It worked out okay.  No freezer burn on the peas, but I’d probably be less lucky with meat.

All in all I’ll give two thumbs up to the Fresh Saver even for long-term freezer storage.  My guess is that it’s 100% successful when used for refrigerator storage as designed.  I’ll give it a 87% when you use it for unintended purposes.  In the end I did get a big Food Saver system so that this summer I can store things properly.

So, dinner tonight was a nice reminder of last summer’s gardening.  And it’s awfully nice to look over and see this year’s seedlings well on their way.  Yay!

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