As the season progresses I continue to preserve whatever is piling up in my kitchen on that given day. I find that daily sessions keep me from accumulating an overwhelming pile of over ripe produce. If I have more than I can handle I send some over to my daughter. this week my daughter received a 5 gallon bucket of green beans and a dishpan of broccoli and a large head of cabbage. Just sharing the wealth. With three children to feed she is talking about buying another freezer : )
The okra is finally starting to produce enough to freeze. It seemed to languish there in the cooler than average temperatures for awhile blooming but just not setting fruit. The tomatoes are also being slow to ripen for the same reason.
On this day the produce of choice was yellow squash, zucchini and okra. First thing I did was slice and blanch both using which ever blanching method you prefer. You can immerse in water, steam or run through the microwave. As for me I ran mine through the microwave for 3 minutes in glass baking dishes then cooled. I like doing okra this way, no water no slime! I sliced my vegetables on my mandolin slicer to get a uniform thickness to all.
Once my vegetables were cool then they were immersed in an egg and milk combination.
Then I use one of my favorite utensils that I picked up from Bass Pro. ( Ladies it can pay to tag along because some of those sporting goods places have the neatest kitchen tools)
This is a bowl made for breading fish but it works for veggies too. You simply place your breading on the bottom of the bowl.
Now place your fish or in this case veggies on the rack. Put the lid on and invert a couple times. As you rotate it coats your food. I just find this so much easier than a plastic bag.
I season my cornmeal and flour breading with just a little seasoning salt and a touch of cajun seasoning.
This year I tried something different that I had heard about on the comments section of this blog and I greased two baking sheets with just a little olive oil and then placed my breaded veggies in a 350 degree oven and baked for about 20 minutes. I have to tell you I loved it. It set the coating and dried it out a touch. It cooked my already blanched veggies even more thus shortening the time I will have to bake them in the end. By hardening that shell these should freeze better lessening the amount of breading that comes off during the handling, freezing and final baking phases.
Once baked 20 minutes I simply take them out of the oven and let the hot sheets cool.
Then I just popped the cool baking sheets in the freezer. This morning I will take out and vacuum seal in bags. During the winter these will be taken out and browned in the oven. My family rarely eats fried vegetables but love chicken, fish and vegetables such as these all oven fried. I am going to experiment with some fried green tomatoes this way as well.
I love this method and thank you my loyal readers for all that you share back with me!
Another thing about this is that you know between the blanching and the 20 minutes in the oven that the food is blanched well underneath all that breading.
I have also started whittling away at that mountain of cabbage in my laundry room. I am making freezer slaw daily and freezing. I mix a batch and freeze. Then remove the slaw from the containers and freezing in vacuum bags and then refilling the containers and freezing again. Once I have all the freezer slaw I want then we will move on to kraut.
The dehydrator has also been running daily with loads of green onions and basil. I may not have to buy basil until well...... never!
On this Saturday morning I am going to catch up on some much needed housework and make zucchini pineapple and more freezer slaw. I can't wait until Sunday and a day off. I don't have to cook all weekend because we have been invited to a fish fry tonight and a back yard barbecue tomorrow. With plenty of leftovers in the fridge for lunch and frozen muffins and pancakes in the freezer for breakfast everyone is on their own this weekend.
What are your plans for the weekend?
Blessings from The Holler
The Canned Quilter