pickling cucumbers

How to eat locally year round

Updated: November 9, 2016 - 1:51 pm

The seasons are changing and the crisp feeling of fall is in the air. It’s the time for bonfires, changing leaves, and pumpkins!

It is a beautiful time of the year, but fall also signifies the coming of winter. If maintaining your local food mantra is challenging during the winter, there are many things you can do now to preserve the harvest.

One of the oldest and simplest ways to preserve an abundance of produce for the winter is blanching. Blanching is done by boiling veggies for short periods of time and submerging them in ice water to stop the cooking. This process kills enzymes that degrade the food, therefore retaining its quality.

Once blanched, produce can be frozen for up to six months without any nutritional loss. One thing to keep in mind when blanching is that not all veggies are created equal. Root crops like carrots and beets will take longer to blanch, while more delicate greens such as kale or Swiss chard might take less than a minute.

This process can be especially quick if you tack it onto your dinner preparations one night. Spend an extra 10 minutes in your kitchen and preserve those veggies for the cold months to come. I guarantee it will be worth it when making hearty soups, hot dishes and stir fries this winter.

Blanching

Materials needed

Large pot boiling water Knife
Cutting board
Slotted spoon
Large bowl ice water Paper towel
Freezer bags

Directions

Bring water to a boil.

Cut veggies into smaller pieces and add them to the boiling water for 1-5 minutes.

Quickly transfer veggies from boiling water to an ice water bath for rapid cooling.

Dry veggies with towel, package in freezer bags, and label with date.

Another wonderful way to preserve veggies for long-term storage is pickling. Against popular belief, pickling doesn’t always require an extensive canning process. Canning is a wonderful tool but is a bit intimidating for those who have yet to master it. A quick pickle can be done in mason jars and stored in the fridge for up to 6 months. Most importantly, it is quick and easy! Add pickled veggies to any winter dish to add flavor and nutritional variety.

Pickling

Materials needed

Vinegar
Sea Salt Water
Cane sugar
Various spices
Mason jars

Directions

Boil 4 c. vinegar, 2 c. water, 2 tbsp salt, and 1 tbsp sugar for 2 minutes.

Cut veggies into smaller pieces and add to a large mason jar.

Add your preferred combination of spices to the jar with veggies your choice of spices (turmeric, bay leaves, basil, thyme, dill, or mustard powder).

Pour the hot brine into the jar until veggies are submerged.

Close and store in fridge for at least 24 hours and your veggies will be ready to be eaten in a week and will last for 6 months.


Mill City Farmers Market

The market, located in between the Mill City Museum and the Guthrie Theater, is your destination for fresh, local food and winter doesn’t have to signify the end!

Mill City Farmers Market continues outdoors on Saturdays 9 a.m.–1 p.m. through Oct. 29.

We move inside the Mill City Museum for Winter Markets as follows:

Thanksgiving Harvest Markets – Nov. 12 & 19

Holiday Markets – Dec. 3, 10, & 17

Jan. 14 & 28

Feb. 11

March 11 & 25