Preserved foods, in the same pot with fresh

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Last year, we went kind of nuts preserving food. In fact, nuts are about the only thing we didn’t preserve. Going into the winter, we had something like 33 quarts of tomatoes, lots of pints of jam, some canned beets, many pickles and salsas, and a year’s supply of garlic. We had more spaghetti squash than we ever could have used (there are still half a dozen hanging around), too much frozen pesto, and some frozen raspberries that I completely forgot about until last week. We froze cabbage soup and we dried hot peppers.

It’s a good feeling to be well stocked, and I love having so many ready-to-go gifts on hand. In the best cases, we had enough to give some away and still make it to that point in the following year when the same food will come back in season.

Which brings me to the present moment, when we’re still eating our way through last summer’s stash even as spring foods reappear. It’s made for some odd meals of late, with combinations of ingredients that are not found together in any season. Example: frozen corn and edamame in the same salad with fresh asparagus. Or: canned tomatoes as a base for a kind of unofficial gumbo that also included fresh carrots (and local sausage, which is happily a year-round treat).

Seasons collide!

And now we’ve re-entered the preserving season, in a nice gentle way, by freezing strawberries from the last three weeks of the farmer’s market. I enjoy the way all these foods knit the year together, and how seasonal eating gives us so many signposts for the passage of time.

Anyone else have food hanging around from last summer? (Or have a killer spaghetti squash recipe?)

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