Preserving Vegetables

by K Quinn

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Kitchen waste is a problem. And it's nice to find a way to combat it and make sure every bit of what you buy goes to good use.

Having moved recently and still recovering from that whole episode, I found myself becoming very lax in the frugal grocery shopping and meal preparation department. And it showed.

I had once prided myself on keeping our small family limited to a $60 a week grocery bill in an expensive part of the country. I was not always able to benefit from the amazing deals often seen across the Internet coupon sites. This was even with a bit of a gourmet styled weekly meal plan.

Already very comfortable with meal planning and having a stocked pantry, we were also plagued with food allergies. Even though it meant a bit in the savings department since we are making many foods from scratch, we also suffered because some items were not readily available at a discount. The allergy free version never goes on sale and costs much more to begin with because it is lacking in the allergens (and usually other preservatives and chemicals).

It meant back to the drawing board, or rather dusting off old tricks and putting them to good use again. One of those items was blanching. Always buying many more carrots, celery and onions than I can use in a week, I started blanching a few years ago to preserve those vegetables until I needed them rather than have them go bad in the refrigerator crisper.

Although a tiny bit of flavor is lost in the freezing of vegetables, it is a small price to pay for the ease on the pocket book and meal preparation. Just pulling out a pre-measured bag of already chopped onions ready to go from the freezer does wonders for your mood after a long hard day at work.

So are you ready to give it a try? The items I regularly blanch are carrots and celery. Put a pot of water on the stove. I usually use a soup pot. Clean and chop your vegetables. Bring the pot of water to a boil. I don't measure I usually just fill my soup pot.

When water starts to boil, I put about a cup full of veggies at a time in the water for three minutes. I then take them out and dry them on paper towels. Once cool, I either lay them flat on a cookie sheet to freeze in the freezer and then bag or bag straight after they cool.

Make sure you label and date your bags. Use these frozen veggies in soups, stews, and gravies. The shelf life is about 10 to 12 months.

Married for 11 years, K Quinn is currently a stay-at-home mom who enjoys playing the piano, baking bread, and playing with her little peanut. She worked formerly in medical information sciences for 10 years and has a tendency to dabble in researching bits of history, which she promptly forgets when she moves on to the next era. For more tips on homemaking and housekeeping, visit Homemaking Organized. And for a bit about how women kept home in time's past drop by Vintage Homemaking.

Take the Next Step:

  • If not doing so already, use blanching to combat kitchen waste and make sure every bit of what you buy goes to good use.
  • Subscribe to our weekly Surviving Tough Times newsletter. Each issue of this free html newsletter features tips and articles to help you stretch your dollars and survive in this challenging economy.

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