Friday, October 23, 2009

Freezer Corn

How do you freeze corn - do you make a special concoction for creamed frozen corn, or just blanch it and freeze it?

A little background: We (including my brother-in-law and his family) grow corn by the acre (seven acres to be more specific, this year). When the corn is in season, we have some outlets and we sell it locally (at my house). Over the last few years, I have found my favorite sweet corn to use - the later ones that are the sweetest make the best frozen corn.

I also found some time to freeze some twenty dozen this year.

Here is my basic corn freezing recipe:

Remove husks and silks from corn - though, don't be too particular about getting all the silks.
Blanch corn for 4 minutes. (meaning cook in boiling water)
Remove from hot water and place in (a sink of ) cold water. Cool briefly.
Use your favorite knife to cut the corn from the cob. Scoop into a freezer safe bag. Fill bag, leaving some room for expansion in the freezer. Squish the air out of the bag. Place in freezer.

Thaw and cook. Add butter, salt, and pepper to taste.

I hope that all made sense to you. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Real Concord Grape Juice

Do you know about the health benefits of concord grapes? I know they are supposed to be good for your heart health, but I need to learn more, I suppose. I just know they are really good for you...

Well, this year, I had the "opportunity" to get some concord grapes through our fruit stand. They were pricey, but I didn't have anyone else to buy them, so I took an afternoon and made grape juice. It would have been fine if I didn't have to go through each bunch looking for moldy ones. (Note - I got to them as fast as I could - three days was just too long.)

I ended up doing (and sorting) 50 pounds worth of grapes. Boy, did they smell good - and look good, mostly.

After sorting and washing them, I threw them into my trusty juicer/steamer. The house radiated the smell of sweet grape juice.

And into the bottles for a quick water bath of 10 minutes. I ended up with about 12 quarts of actual juice.

Lessons learned: If you get grapes, do them the day you get them. Concord Grapes make amazing juice. Free grapes are best. Buying Concord grapes make really expensive juice.
Buying real 100% grape juice from the store seems way more worth it - no matter the cost. But I will hoard and enjoy every last drop of the juice that I made.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Bottled Peaches 2009

Aren't these BEAUTIFUL!?! I just wanted to show off some of the peaches I bottled this year.

If I remember correctly, these are a peach variety called Flame Crest. They are tasty and pretty - all in one. And they canned up nicely, too. I was impressed with this variety.

I also did a variety called Diamond Princess this year. It was a new variety to me, but it was a decent canner.

Would you like to know the hardest part about canning this year? I barely found time to do it between running a fruit stand and a household. Note for next year: Hire someone to run the fruit stand for a few days during the week.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Frozen Peaches

Over the next few weeks, I am going to catch up with all the canning and things that I've been up to. I know it is probably a little late for you to do it this season, but I am hoping you can get some good ideas for next year. So, watch for lots of new posts.

Now, I have a few thoughts on frozen peaches. Typically, I have had bad experiences with them. I have done the frozen peach slices - individually frozen on a tray then all placed in a bag and I have even tried one suggestion of washing the fuzz off of the peach with hot water and putting the peaches - whole - into a bag - skins and all. Then to eat them, you just thaw them under hot water and eat them. That was supposed to turn out just like a fresh peach. Not so - at least not in my freezer. I ended up throwing most of those out to the cows - most of my frozen peach experiments turn to mush.

This year, I had a new suggestion given to me from a friend that I was excited to try and I did it! So far, I haven't tried the end results, but I have very high hopes for this recipe and actually using it. Ready?

2 quarts sliced (or cut up) peaches
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon fruit fresh

Mix sugar and fruit fresh together and stir into sliced up peaces. Stir and allow to sit for a minute before you stir again. Make sure sugar mix is completely dissolved. Pour mixture into freezer bags. Label your bags. Freeze.

Thaw to use as a pie filling, ice cream topping, smoothie ingredient, or more - I'm sure the options are endless. Only limited to your creativity.
So, here is the mixture - in the stirring, sugar dissolving process.

I put it into quart bags. Make sure to leave room for expansion during freezing.
And frozen - in my freezer. Isn't it pretty? I can't wait to try it!

I know - it makes you want some frozen peaches, huh? =)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Apple Juice

I went to a demonstration this week on "All Things Apples" - in particular, the guy showed us how he makes apple juice. I'd never seen his method before, so I thought I'd share his way, and my way.

His way: He used a cider press. He took raw, whole, washed apples and threw them into his press. He said freshly picked apples gave more juice. He showed us how to run the press - squeezing juice out the bottom of the press. It was all very interesting. Then he dumped the juice into a large pot and boiled it. He scooped the foam off of it - said it didn't taste good at all - and then put it into bottles that he had been heating (boiling) and put a lid and a ring on the jar. He said that pasturized it and then he put it on a table to seal.

My method: Wash, quarter and trim apples for worms, blossoms and dirt (stems), throw into a steamer/juicer and cook the apples down. Juice comes out the bottom of the juicer. Pour juice into heated bottles and top with a lid and ring. Water bath 10 minutes in a water bath canner.

The best apple juice I have tasted comes from a mixture of apple varieties - not just one variety, so don't be afraid to "mix it up." This is also true (usually) for applesauce. (Although, I really like the Summer Red applesauce I made this year all by itself.)

Also, check out this post from last year: Apple Juice, Show and Tell


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